Community Ecotourism Project

$1,200 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 8 people in 20 months
Tobias Roberts
on behalf of Jessica Lee Roberts Hickey
We propose to help reduce the migration of young people from El Salvador due to a lack of economic opportunities through creating a community eco-tourism cooperative that reclaims tourism as a social commons and collective good.

The Need
On a weekly basis, several young people from the mountains of northern Chalatenango migrate either to the United States, Canada, or San Salvador in search of work. The lack of economic opportunities in the area due to relatively small plots of family farm land and an unequal distribution of the benefits that the tourism industry generates in the region is driving hundreds of young people out of their communities.

What Gave Rise to the Need?
Like many places in Central America, young people from the mountains of Chalatenango, El Salvador migrate every day to the United States. It is well known that the lack of economic opportunities is one of the greatest catalysts driving the migration of Central American youth. The irony of the phenomenon of migration in this area, however, is that it the tourism industry is a major generator of wealth.

Every weekend, tourists (mostly nationals) bring thousands of dollars to the communities in the northern area of Chalatenango. Sadly, most of this money is left in the hands of wealthy people living in San Salvador who have come to invest in the tourism business. The hotels, restaurants, and even tours to the beautiful areas of the mountains are owned and operated by people completely separated from the mostly peasant and agrarian reality of the region. The young people from the region are thus left with nothing more than a few poorly paid jobs that are well below the national minimum wage.

Tourism, then, instead of being an element that generates decent economic opportunities for the young people of the area, has become an opportunity for profit for people who are not part of the local community.

Our Proposed Solution
Our proposal is to turn tourism into a community good (commons) rather than an individual profit opportunity. We feel that if everyone in the community participates in the construction and preservation of the conditions that allow for tourism, then we all have the right to participate in the economic and social benefits it brings.

As a group of youth from the highlands of Chalatenango, El Salvador, we want to build a community eco-tourism cooperative that works together to help young people attain a dignified income that will replace migration to the cities and to the United States.

Through the building of ecological cabins, the promotion of alternative tourist routes and attractions, and a publicity campaign aimed at the tourist interested in ecological and community led tourist alternatives, we feel that young families from our community will be able to generate enough economic returns to help reduce the migration of young people from our community.

Primary Objective

Slow the migration of youth from La Laguna through building a community tourism proposal that generates a decent income for young families in the area.

Specifically, we hope to build 7 ecological cabins with capacity to accommodate 21 tourists and diversify the current tourist options through creating 7 tourist “packages” or attractions including:

--An Astronomical Observatory
--Hike to a local waterfall
--Hiking guides to Cerro El Pital and Peña Cayaguanca
--Restaurant / Coffee Shop
--Local Flower Cultivation
--Agro-tourism with tours of the peach and vegetable farms
--Multi-purpose conference room/convention center to accommodate large groups

For Your Donations
For every $100 dollars donated to our project, you are entitled to two free nights of lodging with our community ecotourism collective. We hope to have at least five cabins serviceable by the end of 2017.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more information!
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Here are a few pictures of some of the cob cabins we have built. Imagine spending a night in one of these cabins amidst the beautiful cloud forests of El Salvador
Cob home in El Salvador
The mountains of El Salvador
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Here are a few pictures of the progress on the building of the first cabins. We recently held a natural building workshop to start work on three of the cabins.
One of the cob cabins for our collective
The foundation of another cabin
Natural Building Workshop in March
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$1,200 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 8 people in 20 months
Created March 16, 2017
Tobias Roberts
on behalf of Jessica Lee Roberts Hickey
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19 months ago
Anne Awabdi
19 months ago

We love El Salvador and the work that you are doing.

Lucio Gaspar
20 months ago

Buena Suerte amigo.

Heather Ellis
20 months ago

Go for it! Great cause, and wonderfully well thought out. :) Much luck to you! Love, Heather and family

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