References and Recognition

Over the years, CCFC has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. Here are a few examples.

CCFC’s educational programs are authorized annually by the Guatemala Ministry of Education MINEDUC. CCFC also partners with the Guatemalan ministries of: Agriculture (MAGA), Forests (INEB), and Protected Areas (CONAP). CCFC is a founding member of the Alta Verapaz Environmental Education Network.

Two academic papers have been published specifically about the WALC program, one in the Journal of Environmental Education and the other in the International Journal of Educational Development. Having detailed and positive descriptions of the WALC program in academic literature gives the program credibility and good standing. The theses of two graduate students have been based on the work of CCFC and specifically WALC and WALC’s agroforestry component, both from Cornell University, one PhD and one master’s degree.

Lilly Briggs, currently a post-doctoral student at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, focused on

CCFC’s WALC program for her PhD field research. Lilly carefully studied the WALC program and how it impacts the lives of the participants. In her dissertation on the WALC program Lilly writes:

“WALC’s unique pedagogical strategies and curricular streams – which include agroecology-nutrition, the life project, conservation biology, and environmental stewardship – help young female Q’eqchi’ Maya participants develop new knowledge and skills as well as build their confidence and self-esteem. The research further suggests that simultaneously enhancing the knowledge/skills and confidence/self-esteem of the young women helps them gain an increased motivation and capacity to undertake positive environmental and social action. With respect to environmental action, participants described how they implement and/or share agroecology and environmental stewardship related knowledge and practices learned in the program with others in their families and villages. …. By participating in the program, many young Q’eqchi’ women said they also gain increased motivation to stay in school, which is particularly important in a context where women experience gender inequality and the societal pressure to leave school at an early age in order to marry and start families. By staying in school longer, they can delay their marriage and childbearing years, which not only contributes to breaking the cycle of female dependence and poverty but also helps curb population growth rates and lessen environmental pressures on the Alta Verapaz highlands, a biologically-diverse region holding ecological significance in the global context. Thus, WALC is not only positively impacting participants, but their families, their communities, and their environment as well.” (Briggs, L.P., 2016. Sense of Place and Environmental Stewardship Among Young Q’eqchi’ Maya Women of Guatemala, Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, ch 5)

Gemara Gifford, International Director of Trees, Water & People, recommends CCFC’s agroforestry program.

“As the world’s natural habitats continue to be converted for human use, integrating biodiversity conservation within the activities that support sustainable development is vital, yet increasingly challenging in regions where high levels of poverty and biodiversity converge. Conservation of tropical forests, therefore, depends upon effectively managing agroecosystems to support rural livelihoods, food security, and wildlife. A land use approach that integrates diverse agroecosystems with natural habitats is one strategy to achieve multiple human and environmental targets, but its success depends upon identification of agricultural practices that are biodiversity friendly.” (Gifford, Gemara. 2016. Agroecosystems for Communities and Conservation: Linking bird conservation and sustainable livelihoods in the Highlands of Guatemala. Master’s Thesis. Cornell University.)

CCFC’s WALC program was referenced in a major study on the conservation of the Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). The study makes the following recommendation about the WALC Program.

The NGO Community Cloud Forest Conservation currently implements a three-week, on-site education program for young indigenous women…. This program focuses on sustainable agriculture, leadership, family planning, and other aspects of sustainable livelihoods that have a direct impact on the future land use of this focal area. We recommend supporting the participation of 150 women per year. Support should be sought to expand this successful program to other areas of Guatemala as well. (Bennett, R.E., A. Rothman, K.V. Rosenberg, F. Rodriguez. 2016. Golden-winged Warbler non- breeding season conservation plan. In Roth, A.M., R.W. Rohrbaugh, T. Will, and D.A. Buehler, editors. Golden-winged Warbler Status Review and Conservation Plan. )

Amanda Rodewald, Garvin Professor of Ornithology and Director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Faculty Fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future,

recommends CCFC’s Kids & Birds and WALC programs in this video clip made in collaboration with Dining For Women. (click here)

CCFC partner Solidaridad has published a video about the WALC program. (soon to be released)

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology with the support of the National Geographic Society has published a video about CCFC’s Kids & Birds program. (soon to be released) Links to these videos will be posted here as soon as they are available.

Solidaridad International sponsored CCFC coordinators Elvira Ac Macz and Vilma Leticia Toc Maas

to represent the WALC program as a model of women’s empowerment at World Cacao and Chocolate Conference and the international meeting of Women In Cacao and Chocolate (WINCC) roundtables on women’s roles in the cultivation and production of Cacao and Chocolate, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 2016 and Berlin, Berlin, Germany 2018. They highlighted WALC´s approach to introducing gender and social inclusion with sustainable farming techniques, including the integration of cocoa and value-added products, to the young women who participate in the training program as a way to maintain the cloud forest ecosystem and provide a potential income stream that doesn’t destroy the cloud forest in Alta Verapaz in Guatemala.