Supporting the environment protection of the Andes mountain and the education of young local guides
SUPPORTING THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION OF THE ANDES MOUNTAIN AND THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG LOCAL GUIDES
Project Status: 2013-2018
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
As a social enterprise, Project Cordillera (PC) aims to connect people and places to power a better world and to this end, it provides high quality, sustainable expeditions that support the people, economies and environments of the Cordilleras de los Andes. The tour agency funds the Guias Locales (Local Guides) Programme, an education initiative working with young people to develop critical life skills, knowledge and enhanced employability. The programme provides teenagers in remote areas of the Cordillera Blanca with a 10-week educational course, delivering important practical and theoretical tools that are otherwise not possible. The Guias Locales Programme also includes substantial curricular on issues of environmental and ecological importance. These issues range from local matter regarding water supply, agriculture and waste disposal, to global issues of climate change, interconnectivity and mountain protection.
HOW DOES IT CONTRIBUTE TO MOUNTAIN PROTECTION
Project Cordillera funded already 12 young people through the programme, as well as supporting innovative reforestation programmes (as part of its aim to become a carbon neutral company). A new standard for ethical decision making in the expeditions sector was established. In 2015, PC facilitates a programme of interdisciplinary research concerning attitudes to the environment, climate change and agriculture. In collaboration with the University of Cambridge it enables “learning expeditions” that directly support mountain environments in the Andes. Furthermore, Project Cordillera undertakes comprehensive monitoring and evaluation designed to better understand the effectiveness of our work and the efforts made by our partners.
Over the past two years, Project Cordillera’s adventures have already helped to educate a generation of mountain guardians, who live in the mountains and who will become strong advocates for their sustainable use and protection. The ethical expeditions and adventure travels create value, assure safety, impact positively throughout supply-chains, and that celebrate exploration as a force for good.
COLLABORATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND AUTHORITIES
We work with local communities and registered non-governmental organisations supporting them with information sharing, best practice and monitoring and evaluation. Project Cordillera conducts “open-ended interviews” with key members of the communities with which it works, The agency’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programme is conducted through collaborative and participatory approach. It meets also regularly with national park representatives where its expeditions take place, as well as with guiding certifiers.
GOING FURTHER THAN “BUSINESS AS USUAL”
- exceptionally high standards and selection of only the highest quality guides, operators and social initiatives. High mountain expeditions should always consider risk and its mitigation
- a business model which aims to deliver on PC’s social, economic and environmental commitment. As part of this, comprehensive work to measure and assess all impacts, and the impacts of customers, partners and initiatives is undertaken
- collaborative work to raise standards across all our partnerships and as part of the movement for greater mountain protection. It includes an anti-corruption and bribery policy, supporting waste management, contracted rights for staff, porters and pack animals, or funding of reforestation programmes
Project Cordillera ‘s long term goal is to bring the cost of sustainable, safe and exciting mountain travel down, in order to make mountain travel more accessible, to deliver quality to greater numbers of adventurers and to facilitate even greater positive impacts on the places and people visited.
Volunteering can be done in two ways. Firstly, we work with our local and regional partners to provide skilled and highly motivated volunteers to work on a number of their programmes, especially the Guias Locales Programme (mentioned above) that delivers outdoor education to mountainous youths. Often these volunteers are undertaking a cultural or “learning” expedition of their own, of which volunteering and community support forms a part. At other times, we simply help with international recruitment from a pool of talented individuals. Project Cordillera also offers thorough pre-departure and on-arrival guidance and support.
Secondly, we run our own “catalyst programme” enabling skilled graduates the opportunity to work with us in an “internship” capacity. Catalysts receive a structured professional programme designed to help take their careers to the next stage. The programme includes a professional mentoring initiative, support entering the not-for-profit, social enterprise and adventure travel sectors, associated expenses, and meaningful, relevant work.
Read the complete description of this project.