“Changed Hand”, changing lives
Content submitted by – Lili
Submited Date : 28/06/2018
Josefina Klinger, in the Utría National Park, Colombia

My name is Josefina Klinger Zúñiga, and this is my story… I am a part of Mano Cambiado. We work together to develop tourism to build appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the ways of seeing and living life in the Nuquí community. We like to say: “‘Mano Cambiado’ is a dream of the soul that we make real everyday”. Our vision of sustainable development in the territory has created opportunity for our whole community. Ecotourism has won us our autonomy – the local economy is diversified, we maintain and make responsible use of our natural and cultural resources, we promote shared benefits investments, we control the environmental and social impacts, and we design strategies to strengthen cultural identity. We create partnerships with communities, developing productive projects and improving the quality of life. We have had the opportunity to perform and carry out projects in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, the National Unity of National Parks, the Red Colombia Verde and the Fund for Environmental Action and Childhood. We have also been fortunate to attract the interest and financial support from international agencies and governments, such as USAID. A few that we are most excited about are the work with the Ministry of Commerce, Industryand Tourism, through the Vice Ministry of Tourism, which has provided infrastructure in areas of influence of Changed Hand. They have seen the potential for eco and natural tourism in the region; the work with the National Parks of Colombia which are a key ally in the process of environmental conservation and social work developed for the National Park Utría and with ProColombia, which has provided us strategies to promote tourism in Nuquí-Pacific. Our work is recognised as doing good for both our community and our environment. On the premise that “it is not possible to create sustainable tourism in areas with unsatisfied basic needs”, Changed Hand has led a peer relationship with state institutions, inviting them to be active in their role to equip the destination for the welfare of the community and the tourist experience. This relationship has been based on maintaining the values and principles of open and direct communication, and giving results based on the agreed commitments. One of our greatest achievements was in 2008 when we were granted the tourism administration of the Utría National Park, publicly recognizing our dedication and our relationship with public authorities, communities and local service providers. We know we must prepare the next generation of leaders to inherit this model. This is why Changed Hand directs its resources to support children and youth, through bands, dance, photography, painting and the peaceful Migration Festival, an event that involves young people in the operation of the Utría Park and encourages them to visit the park and enhance their relationship with nature. As I said earlier, and I am committed in my heart, Changed Hand is a dream of the soul that we make real every day. I cannot imagine where we would be without it.