Machu Picchu Leave No Waste Campaign
During a site inspection of the ISV optional excursion to Machu Picchu along the magnificent Salkantay Inca Trail, our staff noticed an incredible amount of trash just off the trail that was left behind by tourists. We met with our guiding company, Ecotrek Peru, and created a plan for responsible tourism signs to be placed along the trail, and for Ecotrek Peru to meet with other companies and guides with a call to action for improving hiking ethics and behavior. ISV paid $400 USD to make the signs which were placed along the trail by an ISV group. We sincerely hope that by inspiring hikers, and with support from the local guiding companies, the area can become pristine and given the respect it deserves.
ISV staff are constantly thinking outside the box for new things we can do to operate our programs more responsibly. On one of our community development volunteer projects in Costa Rica, we noticed that the on-site transport for our volunteers was producing a large amount of black smoke. The idea for the use of biofuels was born. ISV donated over $15,000 to make the idea a reality. The initiative has since been awarded the entrepreneurial science prize at the University of Costa Rica. Read more about the idea, the fundamentals behind biofuel and what’s happening next with the project here: http://www.isvolunteers.org/files/isv-wins-award-for-biodiesel.pdf
Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Tourism plays a crucial role in building awareness of their importance, and protecting the reef while enjoying it. On a site inspection in Fiji, ISV staff noticed that the local standards were very poor and very little guidance was given to snorkelers about how to minimize their impact on the environment while enjoying their activity. ISV staff were inspired to create a simple Responsible Snorkeling info sheet which is explained to our participants and given to our accommodations and snorkeling activity provider. Since then, this sheet has been provided to all our host countries that do snorkeling and our accommodations in Fiji and other operators have asked for some more copies! Read more about this issue here: http://www.isvolunteers.org/blog/isv-raising-awareness-coral-reefs/
Organic, Fair Trade Coffee
ISV Costa Rica has supported a number of coffee farming communities through our volunteer programs for many years. A number of years ago, we noticed that many volunteers were buying coffee as gifts prior to returning home; mostly the mass-produced brands available at the airport. An idea was generated to offer coffee produced by the communities we were supporting and in doing so, contribute to fair trade, organic and great tasting coffee! To further assist the coffee farmers, ISV agreed to help with the purchase of additional roasting and packaging machinery, and to promote the coffee to volunteers. ISV participants have bought over one ton of organic fair trade coffee! The producers have gained greater autonomy and are earning a fair price for their coffee. Read more about this topic and how ISV is helping with women's empowerment initiatives in Costa Rica in the coffee industry here: http://www.isvolunteers.org/blog/women-empowered-coffee-costa-rica
Fiji Books Initiative
As part of the Fiji Optional Excursion, ISV volunteers visited a Fijian village and helped with community clean-up activities. They later visited the local school and enjoy some time with the school children. When we asked at the school how we could benefit the children, we received a request for children’s books in English. In response, ISV employees in Australia and New Zealand. as well as, ISV volunteers contributed hundreds of books for donation. Read more about this past initiative here: http://www.isvolunteers.org/blog/isv-participants-bring-big-changes-to-island-schools/