Future Leaders: Building Capacity for a Sustainable Galapagos

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Future Leaders: Building Capacity for a Sustainable Galapagos


Future Leaders — Building Capacity for a Sustainable Galapagos


Fundación Scalesia, Helmsley Charitable Trust


Early implementation as of January 2018



Galapagos is the best-preserved tropical archipelago in the world, but its rich biodiversity is at risk if current social and economic trends and practices continue. Long-term protection of the islands will be possible only when Galapagos residents become champions for conservation and possess the knowledge, skills, values, and desire to pursue lifestyles and livelihoods that are consistent with protecting the fragile Galapagos environment. Education is an essential avenue towards this end. Innovative educational opportunities, with a strong focus on leadership, the environment and civic responsibility can help ensure a cadre of Galapagos youths who are engaged in and grow to lead exceptional stewardship of the environment.

The Future Leaders Program

Galapagos Conservancy is supporting the efforts of the Galapagos-based Fundación Scalesia to implement the Future Leaders Program, which is designed to help promising high school students to develop a better understanding of their potential role in society and to develop the skills and attitudes they need to shape the future of the special place they live. The program will harness the potential of formal education, Galapagos’ exceptional NGO and academic network, the businesses that depend on Galapagos sustainability, and the government institutions committed to building a sustainable Galapagos society, to provide structured mentoring and leadership training for promising high school students in Galapagos.

During each of the four-years of the pilot phase, the Future Leaders Program will recruit 10 students entering 10 de Básica (the equivalent of 9th grade in the US school system) from different schools in Santa Cruz, who will commit to either three or four years of the program (year four is an optional outdoor education component). Participants will be identified through a selection process that involves an application, teacher and peer recommendations and interviews.

The Future Leaders Program consists of the following components:

1. An initial audiovisual project through which participants reflect on the fact that in Galapagos human settlements are located within one of the world’s most important national parks. Through this project, students integrate their ideas about lessons learned (and that need to be learned) in Galapagos, based on interviews and field visits, into an audiovisual product that will be shared with peers, Galapagos community members and audiences beyond Galapagos. This project serves as a foundation for the participants’ subsequent involvement in the program.

2. Youth leadership workshops and seminars. Each year, all Future Leaders will participate in between five and eight workshops focused on leadership and ethics. These events will stress that leadership is not the duty of the few — rather it is a responsibility of all of us. The events will also provide participants opportunities to plan individual and team initiatives related to the community and environment.

3. Community Service. Future Leaders will participate in a wide range of community service activities lasting from a day to several weeks in duration. These activities will help participants develop an appreciation for the satisfaction to be gained by sharing their time, skills and knowledge with different segments of Galapagos society. They will also help Future Leaders to develop project planning and evaluation skills and to increase their ability to understand community needs and align responses accordingly.

4. Internships. Future leaders will participate in internships with locally-based NGOs (e.g. Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Island Conservation, Charles Darwin Foundation, WildAid, Ecology Project International, businesses (e.g. tour operators, hotels, sustainable farms) and government agencies (e.g. Galapagos National Park Directorate, the Governing Council of Galapagos, the Biosecurity Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and municipal governments). The internships will provide first-hand exposure to professional work environments and will help Future Leaders to increase their ability to understand local realities through observation and involvement in real-life projects.

5. Outdoor Education. These activities will develop a wide range of skills (decision making, conflict resolution, teamwork) through carefully-designed camping expeditions that will take participants outside of their comfort zone, exposing them to challenging, real-life situations that will build self-confidence and leadership abilities. These experiences will be provided by organizations such as Ecology Project International and Agentes de Cambio.

Upon completion of the pilot phase, we will seek agreements with universities in Latin America and the US to provide special admissions and scholarship consideration to those who successfully complete the Future Leaders Program.

Current Priorities

  • Equipment (cameras, computers) to be used by program participants
  • Funding for workshop and seminar coordinators/specialists
  • Funding for the Outdoor Education component of the program
  • Local transportation and communication

For more information, please send us an email.

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