In its second year, the award saw an increase in the number of entries and the team of WYSE Volunteer & Travel was delighted to see a fantastic range of projects from senders and/or receivers all over the world. We thank all who participated. Judging proofed a difficult task for the jury to select just one winner and those that scored highly were able to clearly demonstrate their impact, management and plans for long term sustainability.
The judging panel would like to highly commend “Vulnerability to Trafficking: Research and Action Development to Protect Migrant Children Workers”, submitted by Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with Prayas Centre for Research and Action, as this innovative project worked to reduce child trafficking in the Udaipur region of India, in partnership with the local communities.
The award for 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Project was presented to Hacienda Tranquila by Ecole Travel Ecuador.
Madeline Townsend, chairing the jury, said “The project demonstrated high levels of participation on a well managed project with clear measurable and achievable targets. The project particularly impressed with its 10yr environmental plan and the work it has already achieved in remediating the effects of invasive species in the globally important ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands.”
Ecole Travel Ecuador explains: The programme started in 2005, located in the small farming community of La Soledad on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos. The programme is called Hacienda Tranquila due to its aim to bring a piece of ecological and social tranquility to the Islands as it is the only programme on the Galapagos Islands that aims to work simultaneously to combat community, environment and social issues. It was created after seeing the need in Galapagos to strengthen the environment and community simultaneously as any environmental project that does not instigate changes, education and benefits for the local residents is unlikely to succeed. It saw the necessity to restore native flora to the highlands of the island whilst helping the community alongside an inclusion project for disabled children and those from low-income backgrounds. The Galapagos Islands is a unique place, however it faces environmental problems in the form of aggressive, invasive plant species that destroy the local habitat. Introduced and harmful plants such as blackberry and guava represent a real threat to the native and endemic flora and fauna of the Galapagos. The invasive plants change the biological diversity of the area by competing and killing off native plants and displacing native animal species. The idea is to reforest these areas whilst also educating and motivating the local community to recover their own lands and so collaborate in the protection of the endemic flora in danger of extinction and consequently protect the Galapagos.
The WYSE Volunteer & Travel 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Project Award showcases volunteer projects that stand out through key characteristics such as sustainability and responsibility in this growing industry segment. Across the world, many volunteer and travel projects are making a huge difference in a number of sectors, such as the environment, humanitarian, social and education areas. The WYSE Volunteer & Travel Award aims to raise the profile of the best volunteering projects and programmes, and showcase ‘best practice’ examples.