El Dorado Successes: Updates from the Field
The megadiverse ProAves El Dorado Reserve is located in the incredible Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta which is considered “Most Irreplaceable Site on Earth” by the journal Science. Women for Conservation supports the reserve by engaging local communities in workshops and campaigns which mutually benefit biodiversity protection as well as the health, education, and economic outcomes of local communities. This field update from July 2022 gives insight to some of our recent programming in these local communities, which centers around our three pillars of providing access to family planning resources, sustainable livelihood training, and environmental education.
Sustainable Livelihoods: Female Nature Guide Trainings
A total of 17 women from our local W4C groups in Minca and Vista Nieves attended nature guide training sessions on July 22nd & 23rd. The workshops are part of an ongoing program to empower women-led guiding businesses in the ecotourism destinations of Minca and the ProAves El Dorado Reserve.
Children’s Conservation Education Highlights
At our partner school in Vista Nieves, Women For Conservation provided 46 school children with experiential environmental education. Fourth and Fifth Graders learned about local wildlife and created model birds to bring home to their families, while 8th and 9th graders went on a birdwatching field trip and learned about wildlife identification. The classes took place on July 15th and 20th, and are part of our ongoing project to engage youth in high-biodiversity areas to become the next generation of conservationists and ecotourism guides.
Family Planning Success
Our latest family planning success took place on July 21st in Zona Bananera. Women for Conservation in partnership with Profamilia empowered five women with tubal ligation surgeries. These procedures allow women to take control of their bodies and prevent unwanted pregnancies while simultaneously lessening burdens on overstrained natural resources.
Meet our El Dorado W4C Project Coordinator: Kelly Johana Julio Donado
Kelly, a mother of 4 beautiful children, joined Women for Conservation’s team in Colombia in 2017 after meeting Sara Inés Lara at a local women’s group meeting. Sara invited her to join our team after seeing her drive, dedication, and love for community organizing. While Kelly was not granted the opportunity to to finish primary school for economic reasons, she came from a compassionate family and is incredibly driven by her passion to serve her community. Kelly has spearheaded our family planning campaigns in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta since 2019, as well as our campaigns in Zona Bananera and Taganga, which began in 2021. Kelly oversees coordination with Women for Conservation’s Sierra Nevada community group, and has collaboratively organized workshops on bird identification, english classes, cooking and hygiene certification, and artisanal craft making. Additionally, she teaches workshops in the local Vista Nieves school on the subjects of bird identification, waste management, and lessons on nature conservation. Sara describes Kelly as having “a magnetism which attracts prosperity, charm, and smiles to all around her”. We are honored to have Kelly as part of our team, and look forward to continuing working hand in hand with her as we realize our dreams empowering local communities to protect and conserve one of the most biodiverse mountains in the world.