By Cynthia Mills
East End for Ecuador (EEforE) is a foundation representing over a million Ecuadorian expats living primarily in the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey. Originally founded to provide aid to the victims of the 2016 coastal earthquake, EEforE, has attracted contributions from throughout the eastern and midwestern U.S. Its success encouraged them to develop long-term investments in Ecuador, particularly in the fields of conservation and early education.
This year, EEforE is awarded grants to two Cuenca projects.
Juan Muñoz Campoverde, representing the EEforE board of directors was in Cuenca recently to present a grant of $5,000 to Molly R. Roske, excecutive director of the Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT), to support the foundation’s continuing work to preserve high-elevation environmentally endangered land in Sangay National Park, northeast of Cuenca.
FCT’s effort is in response to the national recognition that programs need to be in place to support the vitally important efforts to mitigate disasters resulting from landslides and floods, the result of excessive grazing and lax enforcement of existing laws.
Cattle grazing along streams and on slopes has long been an issue in the southern Andes. Foraging damage by cattle can lead to permanent loss of grasses and shrubs essential for the preservation of an ecosystem. However, cattle-raising is also a large part of Ecuador’s economy and a leading occupation for many campesinos.
Roske explained that FCT’s projects are designed to educate landowners about how to manage their herds to prevent damage while increasing opportunities for greater financial security and growth through diversified land-management programs.
“The mission of FCT is to contribute toward the conservation of Ecuador’s exceptional biological diversity and hydrological resources,” explained Stuart White, FCT founder. “We concentrate our efforts in the Nudo del Azuay, a mountain range in the southern tier of Sangay National Park. The central pillar of FCT’s approach is a support of local communities and landowners in conservation of the Nudo del Azuay’s 96,000 hectares of montane evergreen forest and páramo grassland.”
For additional information about FCT please visit www.cordilleratropical.org
CuencaHighLife will report on FCT and other notable non-profit organizations periodically. Please contact Cynthia Mills, (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you work for or know of an organization that deserves recognition.