Ilex guayusa is a holly tree native to the upper Amazonian regions of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. For centuries, the leaves of this tree have been wild harvested by indigenous people to create a tea that is rich in caffeine. Due to a growing market for guayusa, the tree is being planted at commercial scale for the first time. Fundación Runa partners with Runa LLC and Runatarpuna S.A. to conduct participatory research with local communities and farmers associations to investigate best practices for production. Read more.
The Colonso forest is managed by Ecuador's Ministry of Environment. It encompasses 10,000 hectares (22,000 acres) of Amazonian rainforest and includes the Colonso, Tena, Shitie, and Inchillaqui river basins. While this forest is designated as a protected area by the Ecuadorian government, illegal logging persists leading to significant forest degradation. We have partnered with the PROFAFOR and the Fundación Bosques para la Conservacion to work with local communities to build a strategic buffer zone around the conservation area in order to relieve the stress of illegal logging. Read more.
We have partnered with ACDI/VOCA and USAID to provide scholarships to promising indigenous leaders from Napo. The scholarship covers the first year of an MBA program in Ecuador. After a year, the recipients receive a certificate degree and have the possibility to continue with their studies. Each recipient will work with Fundación Runa part time during their studies. Our scholarship fund provides a stipend for living expenses to each recipient.
Farmers Association Development
We work with the Napo Runa Artisan Association of guayusa producers to create a strong democratic organization. We are facilitating Fair Trade certification for the association. Fair Trade certification will give the farmers association a guaranteed fair price for their products, as well access to additional social premium funds. Read more.