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Exchange Tsiru Ala in Puerto Jimenez

Monthly Impact Stories

Learn how V Social creates a positive impact month by month

April 2024 (Mexico)

Unlocking the Full Potential of Tourism at the Mucuyche Women's Collective

After seven years of dedicated effort, the women of Mucuyche now welcome regular traveler groups each month. Alejandra, the project coordinator, skillfully manages operations to ensure positive outcomes for both the host women and travelers. Transitioning from occasional to frequent visits requires significant planning and organizational skills, but Alejandra and the collective have met these challenges head-on, gaining confidence and expertise.

Through our partnership with the Dutch organization ResiRest, we connected our gastronomic community with a UK tour operator. Their travelers seek genuine local experiences, creating a win-win situation for the women's collective. This collaboration allows the project to fully utilize the capacity and knowledge built over the years.

March 2024

Support for young female leadership

Lizbeth at ITB - financed by V Social

The transition to a generation of young leaders is crucial for the longevity of a rural community. Creating spaces and opportunities for young people to strive is a clear focus for Yunguilla for this reason. In March 2024, Lizbeth, a young leader, aged 24, participated in the international tourism fair in Berlin, representing her community and gaining confidence in closing contracts with international tour operators to guarantee a constant visitor flow and income for her community.

V Social has financed the flight tickets from Ecuador to Germany and back for Lizbeth in order to guarantee her participation at the fair.

February 2024

Inaugural Galápagos Coffee School: Paving the Way for Youth Empowerment in the Archipelago

Ranti coffee school

Given the remoteness of the Galápagos Islands from mainland Ecuador, specialized education comes at a high cost. The Galápagos Coffee School, operated by the organization Ranti, addresses this challenge by offering specialized training in coffee production tailored to the unique Galápagos coffee. With specialized technology, academic expertise, and hands-on experience, Ranti trains aspiring professionals in every aspect of coffee production, from seed to cup, creating new job opportunities that were previously unavailable in the islands.

Ranti has become a local and provincial reference point, operating as a hybrid enterprise with private and collective ownership. Its members market their coffee through Ranti at fair prices and actively engage in coffee-related events and activities. While the majority of their clientele comprises foreigners, there is a growing number of local customers.

Ranti first coffee training financed by V Social

V Social is the first international organization to collaborate with Ranti, aiming to enhance the entire coffee production process from cultivation with local farmers to serving tourists. This inaugural school is fully funded by VSF, reflecting our belief in the significance of Ranti's program in empowering the younger generation with skills and opportunities beyond traditional tourism employment.

January 2024

Inspiration for Isla Venado's Sustainable Transformation (Costa Rica)

Exchange Isla Venado - Osa peninsula

We strongly believe in peer-to-peer learning, which is why we organized a study trip for our new Community Based Project partner in Costa Rica: Isla Venado. Just as last year, V Social kicked off his activities with an exchange program to The Osa peninsula in Costa Rica, known for sustainable practices in many areas. By facilitating the sharing of insights and lessons learned from local experienced entrepreneurs at the Osa Peninsula, the exchange aims to empower the invited islanders to collectively envision and construct robust infrastructure that will not only cater to the immediate surge in tourism but also lay the foundation for sustained growth and prosperity in the future. This holistic approach ensures that the impact of the project extends far beyond the initial influx of visitors, contributing to the long-term sustainability and development of Isla Venado.

About Isla Venado

Exchange Isla Venado - Osa peninsula

The unique transformative project on Isla Venado, Costa Rica, is set to revolutionize the local fishermen, their landscape, and community dynamics. As the islanders prepare for an increase in tourism, a wave of entrepreneurial spirit is sweeping across the region, evident in the significant rise in annual visitors—from around 30 people to approximately 7000 per year. However, the true significance lies in the project's commitment to thriving and effecting positive change for the families and their lives.

The cooperative stands as a crucial advocate for a diverse spectrum of community members, including women, artists, craftsmen, fishermen, entrepreneurs, guides, and youngsters, effectively representing their collective needs. Through the cooperative's efforts, its members are positioned to receive the majority of benefits arising from tourism, with strong support from local agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations championing their cause. This collaborative endeavor has a direct impact on the lives of 50 families, ensuring that the positive outcomes of tourism development are equitably distributed among the community's various sectors, thereby fostering a more inclusive and sustainable model of growth.

November 2023 (all Latin America)

V - Conecta: Bridging Communities for Collective Well-Being

V-Conecta 23 Maniyales Group Picture

The first in person encounter of the supported Community Based Tourism Organizations had a profound impact, instilling empowerment and pride in the work of the organizations and their social contributions. The encounter set up a powerful network, putting the beneficiary’s voices at the heart of the foundation's narrative. Synergies between the organizations were identified for direct collaborations and mutual support, with potential exchange trips on the horizon. Common themes, including indigenous communities and tourism, women in leadership, youth empowerment, peace and reconciliation through tourism, and conservation in tourism, emerged, prompting a collective decision to join forces.

visit Ecorrieles during V -Conecta

This meeting experience included a workshop marathon and two visits to local CBT organizations—Esopetera y Pirza & Ecorrieles. These visits provided invaluable insights into the learning journeys of communities committed to sustainable tourism practices that prioritize the well-being of their people. The cohesion among our invited group was immediate, and together, we enriched our understanding through the collective expertise of the international Community-Based Tourism community.

Our collaboration culminated in a significant two-day event, "Palabrendo: el turismo indigena y comunitario en America Latina," crafted in partnership with Travolution, generously sponsored by Chec, Colombia's largest hydroelectric energy provider, and hosted by the indigenous “Resguardos” of the region. This event served as a platform for robust discussions, knowledge exchange, and the exploration of innovative approaches to indigenous and community-based tourism in Latin America.

While the extent of our achievements will become evident in the coming year, there is no doubt that we concluded the meeting with a renewed sense of energy and positivity. Our collective commitment to doing our best and contributing to the growth of CBT was palpable, setting the stage for a promising and impactful future.

V-Conecta Maritza speaking

V Social opened a call, extending invitations to CBT organizations within our network. Subsequently, we successfully brought together a diverse cohort of 16 organizations spanning Latin America for our inaugural in-person meeting in Manizales, Colombia. We not only covered their travel, accommodation, and food & beverage expenses but also collaborated with the organization Travolution to curate a comprehensive week of guided workshops and open forums, fostering the exchange of insights, challenges, and collaborative strategies for the future of CBT.

October 2023 (Costa Rica)

Training marathon to support the Bri Bri Community in Costa Rica

Agroecology workshop in Talamanca

Our coordinator Ifi calls it a training marathon, which we are thrilled that we were able to accomplish it. Our coordinator Ifi traveled from the Pacific to the Atlantic to reach our beloved community in Talamanca, Costa Rica, and to meet wonderful people.

Our focus was on capacity building and training, and we were well aware of what the community needed, as they were the ones who had requested these four different workshops. Introducing these four distinct workshops on the basics of administration and accountability, basic English proficiency, and agroecology, triggered a transformative wave of change within the community. This equipped its residents with vital life skills for their projects, bridged communication barriers, promoted sustainable agriculture, and catalyzed self-reliance.

We are fully aware that this multifaceted approach has empowered the community to manage local projects, interact with tourists, achieve bountiful harvests, and ultimately thrive as a self-sustaining and prosperous village. These workshops served as the catalyst and we look forward to continuing this collaboration in the years to come with great joy and motivation, knowing that it has truly made a positive impact on the community members. We developed three of the four training modules and hired an agroecology expert who could effectively connect with the region. We created all the necessary materials, activities, and practices to impart the knowledge we knew they were lacking.

We support Communities in four different Central American countries.

Exchange Tsiru Ala in Puerto Jimenez

August 2023 (Colombia)

V Social Sportathon for Casa de La Paz

V SocialSportathon for Casa de La Paz in Peru 2023

The organization's crucial goal is to buy their current clubhouse, Casa de la Paz, as losing it would force them to find a new location in gentrified Bogotá, which is challenging. Casa de la Paz is a vital hub for the peace movement in Colombia, bringing together various organizations in a strategic location.

We successfully raised 2500 EUR, a fraction of the 15,000 EUR needed for the clubhouse purchase. Despite the modest amount, the campaign had a significant impact, drawing 85 people to a charity bike ride, walk or run in 10 different countries, showcasing community support and motivating the association to pursue their ambitious goal. They established a dedicated bank account, improved transparency, and received guidance on fundraising communication. Throughout six weeks, V Social promoted among their network of friends and partners the idea of the fundraising event Sportathon 2023. We planned and implemented the fundraising event and coordinated with participants in all ten different countries their activities and fundraising communication.

July 2023 (Peru)

Preserving the Culinary Legacy of Tierra de Yaqchas Women in the Sacred Valley

Tierra de Yaqchas visit

The leadership of indigenous women within the Tierra de Yaqchas Project has significantly bolstered the development of their culinary-focused tourism products, aiming to revive ancestral memories and local traditions. Thanks to the great support of our donors, V Social was able to procure kitchen equipment for the nine projects offering gastronomic experiences. Additionally, this support was complemented by specialized training in traditional and ancestral cuisine, emphasizing the use of local and organic ingredients, with consideration for vegetarian, vegan, and celiac menus. More than 80 women have benefited from these provisions, along with a group of pottery artisans. Each initiative is closely aligned with the communities' specific needs and integrated into the broader tourist offerings of the Sacred Valley. This community had been grappling with a persistent crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic and ongoing social unrest in Peru, which restricted access for tourists to this remarkable destination. With these investments and the subsequent reopening of tourism, we are actively contributing to the revitalization of this project.

June 2023 (Guatemala)

Workshop with Indigenous women to recognize them as guardians of cultural values

Eida giving her workshop at Manos de Fe

V Social organized a workshop called ¨Who am I¨ as part of a visit to the women-led project, Manos de Fe. The workshop aimed to recognize Indigenous women as the protectors and guardians of cultural values and the guarantors of the permanence of their people. It was led by Eide Fletes, a facilitator of workshops for women living on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. She and our coordinator shared two full days with the group, learning more about the project and their immediate needs for items such as tables, chairs, and cutlery, which will be used with future groups.

We have just started to support this community-based tourism project, though they have been around for about seven years. The group's main objective is to protect the practice of traditional weaving. An issue facing the community is that of Chinese companies selling textiles for a cheaper price. This group of brave women began their venture to bring awareness to the consumer. Through the projects, travelers learn the value and importance of traditional weaving, and can buy directly from community groups from Guatemala.

At the moment, we are learning more about the project, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, so that we can have a positive impact on the development of the project in the near future.

May 2023 (Mexico)

New ecofilters donated to improve the quality of drinking water for five families and numerous travelers

ecofilters arrived to muycuché

V Social has donated three ecofilters to the houses where food is prepared, with the objective of reducing plastic use, fostering a better economy, and making our travelers more conscious of the value of clean water.

The filters support the Muyuche women's project, as well as the visitors that come to their homes to eat. The filters benefit directly an average of five people per family, as well as numerous visitors indirectly.

April 2023 (Argentina)

V Social helped Isla Maciel finalize an agreement, securing 1,000 additional visitors

Isla Maciel

One of VSF's main objectives is to gain support from agencies for community projects they strengthen. One such successful project is Isla Maciel, which has received 680 passengers in a four-month Patagonia season, a significant achievement for a young initiative. Most passengers are from Viventura and other agencies with whom VSF has formed alliances.

The negotiation process between Isla Maciel and tour operators involves technical aspects, training, and fair trade considerations. VSF has been giving advice to Isla Maciel so that they can make informed decisions while negotiating contracts. With V Social's assistance, Isla Maciel finalized an agreement with G Adventures, which they expect will bring 1,000 more visitors.

This project's growth is a key focus for VSF, with a goal of doubling their monthly income through new partnerships. As the first organization to support this project, VSF's involvement has already resulted in benefits to 25 neighbors and a group of 13 young people actively participating in 70 tours.

March 2023 (Cuba)

Reducing the gender gap in rural areas of Cuba

Participants workshop gender equality

V Social enabled more than 15 people from diverse backgrounds—including doctors, environmentalists, public personnel, biologists, farmers, and local entrepreneurs—to learn from a specialist, Cynthia Castro, about reducing the gender gap in Latin America. Despite some initial difficulties, V Social was able to conduct a virtual workshop.

Cynthia is passionate about human rights, a dreamer and a social entrepreneur. She opened a discussion on the vital role everyone plays in achieving gender equality and improving relationships in Cuba. Men shared their experiences with the difficult societal expectations of being a "real man."

Participants acknowledged that gender inequality is a global issue, and one that will take a long time to fix. This workshop was one effort to think of solutions to unlearning social rules and creating a world of freedom.

The project in Cuba will be released shortly. Sign up to our newsletter to be informed immediately.

Exchange Tsiru Ala in Puerto Jimenez

February 2023 (Colombia)

Volunteer Gerwin encourages learning English so that Ecotours La Boquilla can grow

volunteer Gerwin at Ecotours La Boquilla

Gerwin, a German V Social volunteer, is supporting the La Boquilla project in Colombia. Previously, he traveled with Viventura where he visited V Social projects in different countries. After he retired in 2021, he decided to dedicate his time to helping out with social projects. His role involved handling administrative matters and leading an English course for tour guides.

Ronnie Monsalve, the leader of Ecotours La Boquilla, expressed his gratitude for volunteers like Gerwin. With his help, the administration of the project improved, and the guides were able to offer their services to more people. Approximately 4,000 tourists visit per year, and 90% of them do not speak Spanish. Learning English is a fundamental objective for the project, as it means they do not have to outsource translators, and therefore can continue to grow.

There were two study groups, one open to the whole community and one exclusively for members of Ecotours La Boquilla, almost all local guides. In total, more than 20 students were able to learn from Gerwin in the six months that he volunteered with the project. The exchange of cultures and bonds of trust that were established meant that the learning was mutual.

V Social was instrumental in connecting Gerwin with the project and supporting Ecotours La Boquilla by financing some activities and equipment to make sure the project was a success.

January 2023 (Costa Rica)

Exchange allows Tsiru Alá to improve their chocolate products

Exchange Tsiru Ala in Puerto Jimenez

V Social organized an exchange program for Fulvia and Lukas, members of the Tsiru Alá community in southern Costa Rica. They were invited to visit Puerto Jimenez to learn from local producers and share their knowledge. The program included visits to four different projects and a national park to learn more about regional tourism. V Social contributed approximately 670 euros to make this exchange possible.

The impact of the program was significant, as valuable information, ideas, and concepts were shared between the participants. They learned about medicinal plants and their uses in Costa Rican traditions. The exchange is expected to lead to improvements in the traveler's experience in Tsiru Alá, such as including more attractive and fun activities. Fulvia, in particular, gained new insights, such as a recipe for caramelized chocolate nips to enhance her offerings. She also took away ideas to improve the presentation and quality of her products.

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