Great Wilderness parrtmers with “Interchanging Communities (Intercambio Comunitario)”, a project created in 2011 by Rocio Fernandez while she was conducting an internship on Great Wilderness’ behalf at Fonmsoeam, a community-based federation of cocoa farmers located in the Esmeraldas province of Ecuador. IC’s major mission is to organize and bring together young people, Ecuadorian and international, to be leaders and volunteers, form interlinked youth groups, and take charge of doing community development projects around the world.
IC is an unbelievable way to ingnite community projects and create leaders from a mixture of local Ecuadorian youth. Rocio’s initiative brought together the ideas stories and inspirations from a mixture of youth from six little villages (pueblitos) in the province of Esmeraldas, Great Britain, Oregon, New Yoirk, Maine, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
IC’s activities are usually geared toward harboring relationships within local groups and initiating small, sustainable projects in the community. For example, this past Minga, a group of Ecuadorian and foreigner youths from IC worked together for three whole days aiding artisans from Estero Community in the construction of a community hostal. The group not only found, cut, carried and built the only town’s trash can out of bamboo, but also braided and weaved friendships bracelets. Additionally, they painted a colorful welcome sign for this poor but very beautiful beach side community.
The majority of he funding derived from:
1. The selling of Organic Cacao (chocolate) from cocoa farmers located in the rainforest.
2. Zumba fundraisers back in the US
3. Multiple private donations
To promote youth leadership and volunteerism in communities InterCambio Comunitario fuels intercommunity relations amongst youth groups. The program is led by Ecuadorian and foreign youth who are dedicated to volunteering in a joint effort to better their community, country, and people. It forms a basis for organizing and preparing youth who seek to be leaders and volunteers in their own communities, assists in coordinating exchanges amongst peoples throughout Ecuador and abroad, and encourages a sustainable form of homestay-style community tourism.
Volunteer groups of 4+ interested in participating in the InterCambio Comunitario program for a few days or weeks should email us for more information (no Spanish fluency is required). Internships of at 2+ months, for fluent individuals, are also available.
Please consider supporting our efforts.