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Equator Initiative Case Study - Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve

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Kapawi Ecolodge is a highly successful community-based ecotourism initiative in the southeastern Ecuadorian Amazon that is wholly operated by local Achuar communities through the Complejo Ecoturistico Kapawi Sociedad Anonima, a limited company that employs 32 staff at the reserve and in two urban offices. Founded by a private tour operator in 1995, the enterprise was transferred in 2008 to a regional association of the Achuar Nation of Ecuador that comprises approximately 1,200 local Achuar residents.
The initiative has successfully combined traditional and modern governance systems to ensure an accountable and efficient enterprise that channels benefits directly to its member communities. As well as the 32 staff directly employed by the initiative, local handicrafts and food producers have benefitted from the tourism trade, while quarterly payments from the enterprise are reinvested in community development projects and contribute to a communal emergency fund. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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