A visit t0 Colombia: local stories

A visit t0 Colombia: local stories

News item
31 May 2023

Our colleagues Marcel Spaas and Linda Lap visited Los Riscales, an area on the Pacific coast of Colombia. The forests there are very important for biodiversity and the ecosystem. Our project contributes to the conservation of forests and economic progress, which has many benefits for the health of the local population. The purpose of the trip was not only to discuss the current status and next steps of the project with the collaboration partners ICCO Colombia and Fondo Acción. Special attention was paid to the personal stories and experiences with the project of the local community. And we would like to share that.

First meeting: Abonamas Women

The first introduction to the local population took place on the second day. Linda and Marcel spoke to a woman who is part of Abonamas Women. A group engaged in the production of organic fertilizers. They collect organic waste from various households. The woman told them how she makes fertilizers from the waste, for both her own use and for sale. Thanks to the fertilizers, plants can grow faster, which prevents deforestation and stimulates a diverse ecosystem.

HANZ_RIPPE
HANZ_RIPPE

The people in waste processing were also visited. The community recycling networks work to reduce pollution. They make river trips to all communities to collect waste. They make river trips to all communities to collect waste. In addition, residents hold monthly cleaning days on beaches, seas and mangroves. Such a closely connected system helps reduce pollution and increase biomass.

Looking at the sea

Linda and Marcel also spoke to local fishermen. Fishing is the most important economic sector in the area and is part of the cultural identity. Traditional fishing is trying to gain ground from industrial fishing that puts pressure on the ecosystem with harmful fishing gear. That is why hundreds of residents get to work themselves every day. They respect the life cycle of fish, protect the marine ecosystem and give new meaning to their work. This good fishing contributes to the preservation of the environment. In addition, Indigenous communities monitor marine biodiversity using skills learned from biologists and forest rangers. The condition of the flora, fauna and ecosystems indicates the health of the area. It is therefore important that this is closely monitored. The health of nature goes hand in hand with the health of the population.

HANZ_RIPPE

Linda and Marcel also spotted whales. There is a growing awareness among local communities that tourism must be sustainable and ecological. Tourism is an important source of income and depends on the state of nature. The Council of Riscales founded La Cumbancha in 2015. This is a kind of community travel agency that promotes responsible tourism.

A visit to the woods
Meetings were also organized with leaders from different communities to discuss the status and progress of the projects. During the visit to Mangroves, repopulation and reforestation were central. Forests play an important role in the life of the region. Since trees are a carbon sink, they help reduce climate changes and promote health.

“I was so happy to see the impact of the forest projects, especially because these projects can have so many other benefits that the population is very grateful for.”

To school
Furthermore, a local school was visited. Educational and information campaigns and workshops are carried out at various schools in Nuquí. These create environmental awareness and encourage commitment among students. A teacher and some students were interviewed. They said the children learn about the importance of environmental conservation and ways they can care for the planet.

All meetings with different people were very valuable. The stories provide a personal picture of the projects. They live from nature and therefore want to take good care of it. The colleagues took home the feeling of how beautiful the earth is and that we should take care of it.