February 2, 2024

Greetings from Friends of Ecuador 2024

Dear Friends of Ecuador Members,

It’s been a minute since we produced a new newsletter. We, Ecuador, and the world have been through a globe-altering pandemic. Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated from posts all around the world and only recently returned to countries in March of 2022.

As many of you know, Ecuador experienced severe impacts of COVID in 2020, and it has more recently been beset by violence because of the rising presence of drug gangs. The new Ecuadorian president Noboa has his work cut out for him.

Amidst this, Peace Corps has returned to Ecuador and is sending volunteers back to posts. Friends of Ecuador continues to support projects in Ecuador. There are also some new short-term volunteer opportunities with Peace Corps Response in Ecuador that some of you may be interested in. They are in the climate and conservation space, one of them being in the Galápagos.

We are especially proud of our on-going partnership with Conciencia Amazónica and the various projects of RPCV David Goucher. Our newsletter features a story from him on their incredible work, and our newly rebuilt webpage features photos from some of their important conservation and sustainable agriculture work in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

We are also looking for a new treasurer (see the story in our newsletter) and get in touch if you are interested.

Josh Busby
President, Friends of Ecuador

Greetings from Friends of Ecuador 2024 Read More »

Conservation and Environmental Education in the Ecuadorian Amazon

This is a guest post from RPCV Dave Goucher, founder of Conciencia Amazónica.

In the province of Morona Santiago, more than 1000 species of birds have been observed and recorded on eBird (a database managed by Cornell University), representing more than half of the total species of birds in the entire country of Ecuador.  Throughout the last 50 years, on a global level, the observation of birds (known as “birding”) has become a tourism phenomenon, with the positive result of impulsing conservation of habitats to maintain and recuperate forests across the world.  In Ecuador, eco-tourism has been an important source of income specifically to the Galapagos Islands, but  over the last decade, adventurous tourists have made the most rural reaches of the Amazon their destinations to enjoy little explored areas.

CONCIENCIA AMAZÓNICA has made environmental education a primary goal of its foundation projects, using birding as an activity to captivate the younger generations.  Almost every child in any school in the province has a family member who owns a farm, primarily used for cattle production using non-sustainable, non-environmentally friendly ancestral practices.  While cattle production represents over half of the main source of income of the population, applying new methods and a new business model, model farms in San Juan Bosco are presented to demonstrate that an equilibrium between production and conservation is possible.  Visits to these farms include a detailed explanation of the processes undertaken to change pastures, improve beef genetics, as well as the “produce the best” business model, all while maintaining streams clean with natural reforestation, and the resulting re-establishment of flora and fauna.  A farm visit also entails observation of birds, insects, and any other creature encountered while walking the property, demonstrating first hand the abundance of biodiversity adjacent to cattle, as well as emphasizing the eco-tourism aspect of the farm, a sustainable and even profitable, alternative income generating activity.

Several videos have been produced based on resulting videos of wildlife cameras, completing the visit with the demonstration of an entire trophic chain reestablished in areas of conservation in just 10 years, including 2 natural corridors, reconnecting 2 previously isolated tracts of primary forest, to a much larger area of rainforest, allowing for repopulation of such animals as the South American Cougar (Puma concolor), the Mountain Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), the Collared Peccary (Dicotyles tajacu), and even the rare Northern Pudu (Pudu mephistophiles).

Thanks to Jack and James Agett (RPCV, Ecuador 1966), a new Nature Preserve, Agett-Geary Nature Preserve, has been purchased, currently encompassing 2 cattle farms, forming 300 hectares (750 acres).  The Nature Preserve will be legally declared a Private Reserve and Bird Sanctuary following an extensive biodiversity assessment across the vast property, which ranges in altitude 3800 ft to over 10,000 ft above sea-level; at these altitudes, we expect to observe the rare Spectacled Bear, the only bear species in South America.  This area will be transformed into a large scale, model project of conservation, area of continual scientific study, and an ecotourism destination in the rural Amazon region of Ecuador.

FRIENDS OF ECUADOR has been an essential collaborator with Conciencia Amazonica; since 2020 during the pandemic, funds were raised in the US to assist isolated Amazon communities with essential food supplies, as well as seeds for producing familiar gardens.  Since then, our collaborations have resulted in 6 figure annual donations for community projects, environmental education, scientific investigations, as well as the Agett-Geary Nature Preserve.  Our areas of work have expanded now into 6 of the 12 counties in the Morona Santiago Province.









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Peace Corps Response Positions in Ecuador

Some great Peace Corps Response opportunities. There are some openings in Ecuador in the environment & climate sector that some of you may be interested in.

Open PCR positions

The Galapagos Conservancy Foundation in Ecuador has requested the support of a Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) to serve as a Conservation and Research Advisor. The Galapagos Conservancy Foundation promotes and carries out activities for conserving the habitat of the Galapagos Islands, as the region has already been impacted by climate change. The Galapagos Conservancy Foundation seeks to apply science to guide the restoration of existing giant tortoise populations and land iguanas by working directly with park rangers in monitoring activities in the tortoises’ life areas and in the management of the breeding center in captivity and private farms. The Foundation is planning to invest a greater effort in the San Cristobal Island where there are ten different populations of tortoises, and where the greatest number of threats to these populations still persist.

ChildFund International USA in Ecuador has requested the support of a Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) to serve as a Climate Change and Environmental Education Specialist. ChildFund works with children and adolescents to grow up healthy and in a safe space free of violence through educational programming. ChildFund operates in rural areas including Carchi, Pichincha, Imbabura, Cotopaxi and Tungurahua. In partnership with a local social nonprofit, the Federation of Community Organizations from Imbabura (FOCI), ChildFund intends to implement an environmental education curriculum for children and youth to generate awareness of climate change impact and care of the environment.

GAMMA in Ecuador has requested the support of a Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) to serve as a Conservation and Sustainability Advisor. GAMMA is a non-profit organization that works on conservation projects, which includes research, training, awareness and direct action for the care of high elevation meadows in the Adean region. GAMMA seeks to develop income generation alternatives and sustainable conservation policies through comprehensive conservation plans. At the Center for Encounters with Nature and Social Therapy (CEN), GAMMA supports clean energy systems for electricity generation and water management as well as income generation through ecological tourism.

Peace Corps Response Positions in Ecuador Read More »

New Friends of Ecuador Treasurer Needed

Volunteer Service Position Description:

Works with: Other Friends of Ecuador Board Members
Reports to: Friends of Ecuador Board

Overview of Position:

  • Submit annual affiliation payment to the National Peace Corps Association for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers/Friends of Ecuador affiliate. Provide a summary of work completed for the year.
  • Work with Board members to review and approve new project applications from persons in Ecuador. Provide donations to the approved projects as needed which includes donations from Friends of Ecuador (FOE) and other donations made to FOE on behalf of a designated project.
  • Transfer donations via WISE (secure international banking) or Western Union. Set up accounts if they do not already exist. Monitor the charges incurred for each expenditure.
  • Monitor the monthly bank statement and the PayPal account on the FOE Facebook site. Rectify the budget on a monthly basis. Provide information to the rest of the Board on a quarterly basis.
  • Develop a spreadsheet that monitors income and expenditures for each of the approved projects.
  • Send one-time donations as needed, typically through Western Union.
  • Provide an annual report to the Board which includes a Financial Statement and the spreadsheet.
  • Request and review annual reports from each of the approved project directors.
  • File taxes. The type of filing depends on the amount of money received in the calendar year.


  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteer with experience in Ecuador.
  • Ability to communicate in Spanish as needed – typically projects have been translated.
  • Ability to establish and monitor a spreadsheet.
  • Ability to e-file taxes or learn how to e-file taxes on a yearly basis.

You will be trained on how to use WISE and Western Union. Your name will be transferred to these accounts. Your name will also be transferred to the bank account and statements will come directly to you. Your name will be supplied to the NPCA.

If you are interested, please email foe@friendsofecuador.org

New Friends of Ecuador Treasurer Needed Read More »

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