A community of custodians
Content submitted by – Lili
Submited Date : 28/06/2018
Giovanny Rivadeneira at the Napo Wildlife Center located in the Yasuni National Park, Ecuador

My name is Geovanny Rivadeneira and this is my story… I am the representative and coordinator of the tourism operation at the Napo Wildlife Center. We began organizing our community in the seventies. Before, we lived all over the place. To create a community, well, you need a source of livelihood. In 1998 – with our own ideas and our own resources and our own design – we constructed the Napo Wildlife Center. The whole community volunteered. Even the grandparents. The grandparents didn´t work directly on the project, but they passed their experiences and knowledge onto us. And they have received a blessing for being part of the community. All of the young people are working in the service of the community operations. All of the children receive food from it. It doesn´t cost a cent for any member of this community. It is very mature, the community, the organization. They have a source of work, you can see that the quality of life has improved and our children are in university, thanks to that group of people that in 1998 saw the opportunity in tourism to help this community. The Napo Wildlife centre is run completely by the local community. We have accommodation, food and guides. We have a set of rules; we have to conserve our roots. Where we are from and who we are. And the rules are very clear, first our language and our food. Of course we can learn the western cultural aspects, especially in education and technology, but we are always focused first in our roots. The success is, well, we think that if there is a good organization, everyone can promote sustainable projects. It doesn´t have to be in tourism, it just has to diversify the region. It could be in the cultivation of plants, bird conservation, or growth of the local fish population. And of course if you have a beautiful place, a lagoon, a waterfall or a good forest and you protect the fauna, yes you can promote the inclusion of the community. All of the communities can take part in community tourism. The zones that are very rich in petroleum in our territory, we decided that is territory they cannot enter. This way the community can promote local tourism without having a detrimental impact on the rainforest. The Napo Wildlife Center is located in the Yasuni National Park and I invite you to visit the beautiful and diverse country of Ecuador.