Our main motivation and goal is to educate the communities in the field of environmental protection and the protection of our natural resources. That is why we have developed training programs for children and young people in the region so that they can learn about and engage in projects which support their community and the environment that surrounds them. Our Education Coordinator Edward García told us about the projects that are currently part of this program.
The project Pro Eco Pelaos was launched as a part of the educational program, and takes place in our facilities of the Azuero Eco Foundation in Pedasí. A group of approx. 22 children of different ages, from 3 years up to 15 years, participate in the project.
We offer the children and young people a space where through different dynamic, fun and recreational activities they can learn about science, environmental education, values and new technologies with the aim to turn them into information replicators. Volunteers in the area are also involved in the project and share their knowledge with them in an easy and fun way.
Apart from the Pro Eco Pelaos project, we have also launched a School Initiative in an effort to disseminate the importance of reforestation in Azuero, which targets the communities that are close to or part of the Azuero ecological corridor. We work with 8 schools in the communities of Nuario, la Miel, Bayano, Colán, Bajo Corral, Vallerriquito, Los Asientos and Oria arriba, where we are showing the students the importance of reforestation for the sustainability and health of the soil and the entire ecosystem.
The initiative consists of a series of activities and sequential games divided over the course of three years. Per year, we visit each school twice and provide them with 2 kits, which contain teaching materials, and games and activities about environmental education and the proper use of resources. Parents, community members, volunteers, and peace corps volunteers are included in these activities, and the teachers are very supportive of the initiative and implement the activities during the rest of the year.
In cooperation with the Professional and Technical Institute of Azuero (Instituto Profesional y Tecnico De Azuero, IPTA) in Tonosí and in Las Minas, we have created agro-environmental groups, where the young students of the institutes take an active part and leadership role in environmental projects focused on improving their respective institutes and communities. The groups are formally constituted as a community-based organizations according to the statutes and criteria of the Ministry of Environment, and are supported by the teachers and school principals. The main reasons why these groups are created is to empower young people and give them active participation within their communities, to raise funds for the organization, and provide them with a framework to work together with the basin committees of the river Tonosí and the river Parita.
They have been given workshops with the objective to train them to become integral environmental leaders, reinforcing their knowledge in technology, e.g. the use of drones to gather geographic information and to work hand in hand with the basin committees.
Edward also told us that he has participated in the organization of the Day of Good Actions (Día de las buenas acciones). This is a day of global activism where many people come together to carry out volunteer activities, and many supported the Azuero Eco Foundation and the ongoing improvements to the greenhouse. He was also organizing activities on Earth Day (El día de las tierras) e.g. in the Pablo Arturo Barrios refuge, among others.
After an extraordinary year in the foundation, Edward says goodbye to continue his academic training, studying a master’s degree in the capital city. Ee wish him the best in this new path and thank him for his dedication to the Azuero Eco Foundation.