Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?:
The Olanchito-MACO project in is itself a replication in some ways – the impetus for the project began when community leaders saw the success of EcoLogic’s Communities Organizing for Watersheds project (begun in 2003) by members of AJAASPIB – a group of communities to the east of Olanchito, at the borders of the national park. The members of AJAASPIB have organized to manage and conserve their water resources and successfully set up a PES system. The primary tenets of the project – education, cooperation, conservation – are designed to raise the profile of water management and conservation in communities whose livelihood are heavily dependent on their sources of watershed. Every watershed and its dependent communities are different, and the structure of any community organization initiative and PES system will be different depending on the population and climatic hazards in each area. However, the principles upon which the Olanchito-MACO approach is based are equally applicable regardless of the climate or culture. Ultimately, EcoLogic hopes the Olanchito-MACO project will demonstrate that well-organized communities can not only serve as effective stewards of financial and natural resources to establish, maintain, and enhance potable water access, but that they can also be counted on as experts, helping fill a gap of technical capacity in the region and allowing for locally-driven and governed development. As such, it will hold promise as a replicable model to be applied in other water-insecure, rural communities. The effort to conserve the Uchapa-Pimienta watershed will serve as a model for policy and practice in Honduras. In Honduras, there is great opportunity to have a positive effect on a dynamic policy environment. Honduran law currently prioritizes the roles, rights, and responsibilities of municipalities above all other institutional actors with respect to water. In terms of land conservation and forestry, several national ministries overlap in jurisdiction and authority, and much is being worked out in the aftermath of political upheaval in 2009. Further, this landscape is a fantastic opportunity for EcoLogic to experiment and learn in the context of its new strategic plan. Results from this effort should include the launch of several catalytic local projects by coalitions of partners across the Pico Bonito region. With the aim of making the project a model for future learning and replication, EcoLogic, AJAASSPIB, Olanchito, and partners will work to communicate results of the project to the widest possible audience, aiming at local, national, regional, and international audiences. Locally, we will place primary emphasis on activities related to the alliances that grow out of our work. We will also distribute pamphlets and posters in municipalities, technical offices, and community centers. Nationally, we will ensure that partners and co-funders are well informed about the progress and final results of the project. EcoLogic’s communication strategy, and its soon-to-be launched new website, conveys the importance of community stewardship in addressing environmental challenges at local and global levels. EcoLogic will also publicize the results of this project across its growing network of partner institutions. Further, through environmental education campaigns and learning exchanges with EcoLogic partners and others in Honduras, we will reach a large number of Hondurans. In Olanchito, we will utilize local television and radio spots. We expect to widely share our technical analysis of the Uchapa-Pimienta Subwatershed and reports on our progress and learning. Beyond Olanchito, we expect to conduct forum-style meetings and events and follow –ups to events such as our recent Payment for Ecosystem Services School. EcoLogic also expects to attend national, regional, and international conferences in follow up to Rio+20 in 2012,21 ideally with funding to bring AJAASSPIB leaders and community members as well as representatives from Olanchito and any backbone support organization such as a watershed council that may be set up.