Project C: Birdwatching as a Community Conservation Strategy

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01. Organisation’s Official Name (Please enter your own name if self-employed)



02. Name & Official position/role at this Organisation

Eivar Sambony, President and Legal representative of the organization. My role is to guide compliance with organizational objectives and coordinate the different communities that are part of this group.

Email: osomashiramo [at] gmail [dot] com

03. Company Registration Number / TAX ID / VAT Registration / Year of Incorporation

NIT: 900154763-7
Organisation established in July 2007

04. Website 

05. Project Title (up to 5 words)

Birdwatching as a Community Conservation Strategy

06. Project Short Summary (up to 40 words)

Strengthen community awareness of wild birds and their potential as an economic alternative through bird watching, achieving an equitable distribution of economic benefits by generating real alternatives to local deforestation.

07. Project Description (up to 400 words)

Southern Huila is a biodiverse region, located within the Tropical Andes Hot Spot and the Andean Biosphere Reserve Belt). However, currently the forests are being heavily affected by the planting of crops such as coffee and passion fruit, which uses 400 wild posts.

The region still has forests with endemic and endangered species, particularly birds, which has brought bird-watching tourism businesses that explore our territory to create bird identification materials to promote themselves to foreign tourists. The information they discover is not shared with the community, whose members are only hired to guide the companies to strategic birdwatching sites. The operation has already begun to bring some tourists, but the local community is excluded from the resulting economic benefits, aside from minor participation as scouts or very low-priced food vendors.

The Mashiramo Corporation consists of four community groups involving 60 rural households, whose purpose is to conserve biodiversity and improve local living conditions, upon identifying: first, the opportunity presented by birdwatching as a realistic option to improve community income; second, the unjust and inequitable distribution of economic benefits and knowledge; third, the loss of forests and bird habitats, has collectively decided to enter in this contest a proposal which aims to: strengthen local knowledge related to wild birds and the potential of bird watching as an alternative economic opportunity, to achieve community empowerment and equitable distribution of benefits and promote a real alternative to local deforestation.

The expected results are:

1) Training and strengthening 30 members of the organization on which birds are in the region and how to use their presence sustainably through birdwatching.

2) Provision of materials and equipment to develop this activity, including binoculars, field guides and training materials.

3) Check list of the birds found in our region's strategic sites.

4) Three community training workshops on the subject for organization members with two field trips to strategic locations to observe and develop checklists.

5) A bird identification list illustrated with photos of various birds to broadcast over the internet. 

07b. Clarifications:

(a) Is the Mashiramo 'Corporation' a for-profit or a non-profit company?

Mashiramo Corporation is a social organization non-profit which aims to promote biodiversity conservation, ecotourism and community based social welfare. 

Mashiramo has three objectives:

1) Generate economic welfare of local communities through community-based rural ecotourism.

2) Keep the endangered biodiversity through research and monitoring their sustainable use.

3) generation of personal welfare to self care for mental and physical health of partners.

(b) Who are the shareholders?

Peasant farmers from 4 municipalities in the Colombian Massif, located in the countryside in areas near national parks and areas of tropical forests.

(c) What is the precise legal relation of Mashiramo Corporation with the travel agency 'Eco-Adventure in the Massif'?

The Corporation for Monitoring Biodiversity Mashiramo Del Sur, a social organization is nonprofit. The Travel Agent belongs to the Corporation Mashiramo and is duly registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Colombia Tourism (National Tourism Registry # 15 853). Travel Agency belongs to the same community organization, the number of NIT Travel Ecoaventura is the same as the Corporation Mashiramo the difference is that travel agency also has a national registration number given by the tourism ministry trade and tourism industry in Colombia.


(d) what has been the activity of the Mashiramo corporation since 2007?

Mashiramo Corporation since 2007 has developed organizational actions to strengthen technical education partnership in tourism, conservation of biodiversity, environmental management of farms in project management, in community strengthening social organization, food sovereignty recycling, developing business ideas such as crafts.

(e) what has been the activity of 'Eco-adventure in the Massif' since 2009? What tourism 'products' have you developed?

Ecoventura in the Massif as tourism company Mashiramo Corporation has developed activities to promote community-based ecotourism marketing and sale of tourist packages. The developed products are brand Colombian Massif passion for nature in which the travel packages are: 1) The route of the Spirits, 2) The route del Oso Andino, 3) Hiking Tapir, 4) Voyage to the Bottom of the Earth Delos Guacharos Cave, 5) The route of the Founders, 6) Dawn in the Andes 7) Knowledge Pathways.


(f) You state: "However, currently the forests are being heavily affected by the planting of crops such as coffee and passion fruit, which uses 400 wild posts. "Please explain who is using 400 wild posts, and what these wild posts are?

Cuttings are taken from wild trees such as oak or cedar, the stakes are used by many farmers in the region that are not participating in conservation processes.

(g) Among the expected results, there is no reference to tourism.

The project results will directly strengthen the ecotourism program for the organization as we provide equipment to develop the activity and even allows us to access expertise in the topic.

(h) Who will conduct the training?

The trainer is an expert on birds, of national service learning, Joaquín Sánchez who has written books and guides on the birds of our region.

(i) What will the training involve?

Training topics:
1) Use of binoculars.
2) Techniques for bird watching.
3) Bird conservation
4) technical guidance
5) bird watching bird watching as a business
6) development of bird field guides

(j) Where will the training be conducted? Please provide a photo of the proposed facilities.

It will be held in September and October.


(k) How many people will be trained in the "three community training workshops"

30 people will be directly trained, then they will train others.

(l) What is the total population of the communities (villages) involved?

There are 60 families, each family has an average of five people, a total of 300 people.

(m) How many tourists currently visit these villages, and what do they do while there?

The number of tourists during the Holy Week of April 2010 was 147,671 - no specific statistics for people in other times.

08. Total Project Budget. Budget should include all costs including materials, fees and wages.

In Local Currency: COP 4,780,145

In Euros:  EUR 1,990 

Any Important Notes: -

09. Project Budget Breakdown in as much detail as possible.


Number of Items

Item Description

Item Cost
per unit in local currency

Total Item
Cost in local currency

Total Item Cost in

exchange rate used:   EUR 1 = COP 2,402.89







Field guides and manuals for bird management










Workshops with 2 field trips





PayPal / Bank Transfer Charges





COP 4,780,145

EUROS 1,990

9b. Budget Clarifications:

(a) Please provide the titles of the field guides and manuals. Would you purchase 30 of the same, or 30 different?

"Field Guide to Birds of the biological corridor Purace Cave Guacharos" Publishers Joaquin Sanchez and Gloria Acosta. 30 field guides were bought, to give one to each participant.

(b) Please state desired specifications for camera, and possible model.

Panasonic Lumix Fz 18 or 35 Fz

(c) Please present in a more detailed form the cost of the item "workshops with 2 field trips"

Each workshop is worth 500,000 pesos pesos that are to feed 200 000 100 000 100 000 pesos for transportation materials and 100,000 pesos for dollars to pay the accommodation provides volunteer work capacitador.

10. Exact physical location of the project:


Office Address: Carrera 5 No. 5-25.
Municipalities: Pitalito, Huila: Veredas El Pensil and El Carmen
Acevedo, Huila: Vereda Villafatima
Department: Huila
Ecoregion: Macizo Colombiano
Country: Colombia

Map: Precise Longitude & Latitude and / or link to location using Google Maps.


<iframe width="600" height="300" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src=";hl=en&amp;t=h&amp;msa=0&amp;msid=110759961594711404007.00048db627dabe6e3ea93&amp;ll=1.782931,-76.197739&amp;spn=0.205894,0.411301&amp;z=11&amp;output=embed"></iframe>

10b. Location Clarification:

(a) Is there, or has there recently been fighting in this area? Is it safe for tourists to visit?

Currently the security policy of the Colombian state has brought peace to many areas. The number of tourists has increasd every year. There was no conflict in recent times in our area, it is safe for tourists.

(b) Does this project involve 4 different villages?

If developed in four different sites Pitalito San Agustin Acevedo.

11. Pictures - Up to five relevant pictures illustrating the site of the project and what it is all about.


12. Is this project, or parts of this project already under way?

Before initiating this project, we learned through third parties of the birdwatching activity and we have participated in the explorations some external business and guides have done, but without knowing the results of their investigations and without knowing the true economic potential and conservation of bird watching. This project is the first step we are taking in an autonomous and sovereign manner to begin a true alternative for sustainable use of biodiversity through birdwatching and to strengthen our community.

13. Project Completion Schedule with dates

Start date: 1 September 2010
Completion date: 30 November 2010

14. Who or what will mostly benefit from your project? (up to 200 words)

The project directly benefits 30 rural members of the corporation, plus Mashiramo. Indirectly it will benefit the 60 families of the organization's members (280 more people).

15. Do you have experience with similar projects in the past? (up to 200 words)

Yes, a year ago Corporation Mashiramo created a travel agency called Eco-adventure in the Massif, recognized by the National Register of Tourism (RNT No. 15 853). Through Eco-adventrure in the Massif, research and workshops have been carried out to develop other tourism products. In addition, a few organization members have participated in research on birds and done conservation expeditions related to other subjects.

16. Have you consulted the local community and/or their elected representatives about their real needs and feelings about this project? Please clarify and provide evidence if you can. (up to 200 words) 

Mashiramo Corporation is made up of community farmers and residents of the region. A specific meeting was held to define the project to submit to Ecoclub, and this topic on birds was selected and supported by a report signed by the executive board.

16b. Clarification:

(a) Have you consulted the elected representatives of the four (?) communities? If so, please

- provide evidence that your project proposal enjoys their backing.
- provide the report signed by the executive board of Mashiramo Corporation

The following is the report signed by the board and community leaders' on the draft



17. Have you examined all legal, tax and technical aspects of this project? Please clarify and provide evidence if you can. (up to 200 words) 

The project does not require special permits or legal guarantee by any state institution, as it is not going to sacrifice the birds nor will it take live or dead specimens, but only discover their locations and identify them with photographs. No outings or workshops will be held within national parks or protected reserves that require special permission. All fieldwork will be done in forests and natural areas, asking permission of local community owners and neighbors, with the hope to help protect and preserve these areas through this project.

In terms of taxes, all purchases or expenditures will be made with invoices according to the tax law of IVA. A local expert will be hired for the workshops, and his/her technical experience will be evaluated via resumes and a selection process.

18. Are there any other unknown or uncertain parameters about this project?  Does it depend on any external factors? (up to 100 words)

This particular project is precise and addresses a specific need. It does not dependent on any external factor or other funding or support except from

19. Who will actually implement this project? (organisation employees, local volunteers, tourist volunteers, local workers, others?) (up to 100 words)

Rural community members of the organization.

20. If your project is not chosen, will you still go ahead with its implementation? (up to 50 words)

 Yes, if the project is not chosen, Mashiramo Corporation will keep looking for support to be able to develop it.

Please enter your full name below and the date to indicate acceptance of the above terms:


Date:  July 29, 2010