Ak’ Tenamit’s project site and many of the communities it serves are located in Río Dulce National Park. The park has been defined as a nationally protected area because of its biodiversity, and we have long promoted ways for local people to live in harmony with the environment.
Ak’ Tenamit has run campaigns in conjunction with the Guatemala’s parks department, CONAP, to discourage hunting and deforestation in the area. We also work with the JADE Project, whose mission is to protect wildlife and natural resources in Rio Dulce’s Sartsún region while promoting sustainable community growth.
Ak’ Tenamit’s education program produced a “Teacher's Guide for Environmental Education” that was approved by Guatemala's Ministry of Education and is being used in schools throughout Rio Dulce. It teaches students about the importance of the environment and the need to use natural resources wisely, which they then share with their parents and neighbors.
Our community tourism program also educates locals about the importance of preserving natural resources and the danger of deforestation, water contamination, over-fishing and over-hunting. We also introduce locals to environmentally friendly soaps and detergents to decrease water pollution.
Many families depend on agriculture as their primary source of income, and many farmers still practice slash-and-burn agriculture in the area. Ak’ Tenamit promotes income alternatives to decrease deforestation that results from cutting trees to plant food crops. We support communities’ efforts to develop tourism initiatives because these programs also encourage locals to care for their environment; they realize that doing so is important for attracting tourists and providing them the eco-tourism experience they are looking for. We also work with local handicraft cooperatives and teach them to create products made entirely of sustainable materials.
Read more about our climate change advocacy and mitigation work.