Communities in Network - Strengthening for Decision

Communities in Network - Strengthening for Decision

Project Summary
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Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

 As tourism grows within communities, poor inhabitants of these communities are often separated from the benefits from this growth. Once interjected, the economic interests from outside these communities make it very difficult for locals to compete in the newly developing local economy. These locals lack the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in the tourism industry in any meaningful way.   And while volunteer from outside the community can add small and somewhat immediate support, their impact is small.


The idea of Communities in Network is focused on addressing this problem through the development of networks of support within the community and then between similar communities and so on upward to the regional level.


In this way local communities unite to focus on their common needs/interests while informing tour operators and travelers about their needs and local work, and strengthening their voice in the public area.  One example of the benefits of such a network would broad access to best practices and capacity building content. The sharing of such types of information would help community members be competitive with larger non community tourism operators by giving them some of the key types of training and information they need to engage tourists successfully.  Finally, not only could such a network help community based tourism operators be more competitive but it is possible that when linked all together through the networks, these local entities could outperform larger entities because of the diversity and specificity of the information that could be gathered and shared. 

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R. Araujo Figueiredo, 119/Sala 801

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Are you a traveler or a travel company?

Tell us your idea. What makes your idea innovative?

The innovation comes from the concept of building local networks of knowledge, involving tourism issues and local needs, empowering and strengthening communities and also, transferring these resources to tour operators and visitors, in order to make the tourism more helpful and fair for these communities.

What is the likely impact of your idea?

This idea will have direct impacts on the communities, bringing information, knowledge and also, visibility of their work and necessities. The impacts will be also felt between the larger non community tour operators, since they will find resources, through these networks, to build tours with more helpful activities with the local persons, and with a much larger impact. In this way, even the tourists will feel the benefits as their tour experiences will be finely tuned to the realities of local culture and more authentic as a result of the influence of the community member influence in the tourism experience. Volunteers will be positively affected by being able to participate themselves in the activities of the smaller community based tourism operators working in different communities while contributing to the knowledge base of the Network.

What would it take to launch or spread your idea?

The first step would be establish and organize the logistics of the local, municipal and regional networks before addressing the actual issues. This process would involve inhabitants, schools, local businesses and local organizations. The network building process would need planning support and operational expenses, as well as, some orientation for the network management, marketing and funding. The development of the network would nurture each community as a single unit through this incubation stage toward the development of its own capacity. We believe that the development of this first prototype community network could be undertaken for about USD 50,000. We also believe that each new community network after this could be done more cheaply by replicating the existing systems, methodology and skilled human resources from the first network.
The overall network could be made sustainable by leveraging the resources of each existing network once the chain has started. Donations of professional services, human resources, cash, and volunteer hours, would all help the network be sustainable. Tour operators and tourists could also be encouraged to support either directly or simply via surcharges to the services they purchase. In this way, the Network would be employing a Fair Trade Tourism model
Ultimately, these networks will be the best source of information for travelers or tour operators on how to best way to help the local community and delivery the most authentic tourist experiences.

Describe yourself as a social innovator.

We are an environmental organization, with experience in regional ecotourism projects, wildlife research, conservation projects and volunteering program. We hire and capacitate local persons, also making possible the local children participation on the project issues. Currently, we are working in the planning of the re-urbanization of the Peri Lake, where most of the local community lives. We can see that the impact of many projects could be much larger if the community were organized to discuss their needs and how the projects would be best implemented.