EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Misión Gaia’s education program is comprised of theoretical and practical specific training courses which support local communities and raise awareness about the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. These courses empower the commu

nity to participate in sustainability issues which are developed with students, environmental groups, locals and visitors.

For designing and planning these educational activities, Misión Gaia implements a method as follows: 
                                                                             
- Assess the community in order to identify and understand key needs and particular problems regarding sustainability.

- Evaluate the availability of economical, physical, human, natural and social resources.

- Use these resources in order to develop training sessions to support the local community in satisfying specific needs and overcoming problems. 

Topics addressed within these sessions cover economic, social and environmental themes such as permaculture, ecological agriculture, bio-construction, wildlife and habitat conservation, waste management, and strengthening local productive activities.


HABITAT CONSERVATION AND ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAM 

ANIMAL HEALTH AND REPRODUCTION CONTROL PROJECT


Under this project Misión Gaia develops periodic disease control, spay and neuter campaigns for cats and dogs in two small locations: Taganga and Minca. Misión Gaia works on public health parameters, promotes conservation of local wildlife, reduces the presence of disease in the communities and raise their awareness on the responsible care of animals.

Many dogs and cats are living in poor conditions and have medical conditions which need addressing, not only stray animals but also pets from the local community whose owners don´t take care of them properly. The government does not run birth control or welfare programs for these animals. Since May 2011, five neuter and spay campaigns have been organized with support of local organizations and small businesses. Through these, 184 dogs and cats have received surgery and 385 have been given de-worming treatments.

This project proposes to host a total of four events of this kind in both locations every year. During these, we plan to spay and neuter dogs in need from the community, and to control and reduce animal diseases in the urban / rural area of Taganga and Minca. We are developing at least six environmental educational campaigns in the community, focused on responsible care, pet welfare and preservation of local species. 


Through this project we intend to give continuity to the educational animal health campaigns by sharing information obtained during the neuter and spay sessions. We also aim to print 500 units of an illustrated educational booklet for children with which we aim to reach more than 1800 children in our educative campaigns.

This is an important animal health issue but also a serious human health issue because dogs and cats are always in public spaces such as the beach, where locals and tourists spend their time. Furthermore, these animals, as natural predators of mammals, birds and reptiles, have a negative effect on the ecosystem. In the same way, pets are introduced species that pass disease to other carnivores and mammals in general. Misión Gaia has organized these events in order to address this important health and conservation issue.

Help reduce the number of suffering animals in the streets!!! Support this program by being a volunteer or giving  a donation to make spay and neuter campaigns 
happen in the Colombian Caribbean. 

 SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROJECT

This program is currently in progress; we are evaluating the actual situation of tourism in  Minca and its surroundings. We are assessing resources available and existing needs, that have been identified from working in the community.  Tourism has negative effects in different levels: economical, social - cultural and environmental.  With the goal to reduce tourism negative consequences, we are working beside the community with participation and support of experienced international organizations and local business to develop two projects  that include:

- Community empowerment for local and sustainable tourism management Project. 

- Training of local people for guiding in alternative tourism Project.




SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROGRAM

Environmental Education project (Minca, 2011)Since late 2010, this program has involved  travelers in specific activities of cooperation and education with rural communities. This program aims to encourage social and sustainable tourism in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region. It offers participants the opportunity to Explore, Learn, and Grow, while living and learning with local communities. We develop community projects in a mutually beneficial way, cooperating to create positive socio-cultural and environmental changes in the region. 

Through this program, some needs found in the community are fulfilled whilst giving visitors an unforgettable cultural exchange experience. This program links vulnerable communities, victims of violence and farmers with cooperative travelers or students in destinations of biological and cultura
l importance. Visitors can explore a new community and place, learn about the local culture and natural environment, participate fully in the daily activities of the community and engage with local sustainable development. 

Specifically, the program allows visitors to engage with the following activities:
  • Teaching: Teaching art, dance, theater, English or sports to children in local communities in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Read more...
  • Education for sustainability in rural communities: Strengthening local environmental groups, promoting the conservation of biodiversity, and developing activities that generate environmental awareness. Read more...
  • Permaculture and ecological agriculture: Participating in organic agriculture activities and bio-construction in local projects. Read more...
  • Habitat protection and animal welfare: Supporting Animal welfare projects while participating in Spay, Neuter and de-worming campaigns for local dogs and cats.  Read more...
  • Marine Conservation: Supporting local marine conservation efforts in the Tayrona National Park and its surroundings.  Read more...

Additionally, volunteers can design a custom solidarity adventure travel itinerary, combining the exploration of the Sierra Nevada with adventure, sports and activities. Read more...


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