EVENT DATE: Mar 15, 2013
This project is to assist a very new community forest reserve managed by a local community-led forest organization with the interim assistance of an international NGO. The reserve is home to flying fox, five lemur species, and 353 plant species, including ten found nowhere else in the world. In spite of its rich biodiversity and close proximity to a popular beach destination, the reserve receives only a few dozen tourists each year. Whereas the long term protection of the forest and sustainability of the reserve will rely on income generated through ecotourism.
The goal of this Peace Corps project is to make the reserve more appealing to visitors by improving its hospitality capacity as well as the quality of trails and signage. To accomplish this goal, the PCV will provide two trainings; one in trail maintenance and signage creation for a group of guides, and a second in hospitality for a women's group of cooks. The hospitality training will consist of teaching the women how to greet guests, care for the bungalow (sweep, clean sheets, offer bar of soap and towel, etc.), and check up on guests while they are staying at the park. In addition, trail structures (bridges and boardwalks) and a bungalow will be built on site. The outcome of this project will be a team of staff with increased skills in trail maintenance and hospitality, the increased value of the community reserve as an ecotourism site, and the creation of a new source of income. All of this will contribute to the long term sustainability of the reserve and protection of the forest.