In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of the tourism industry has substantially impacted many communities — the Galapagos Islands being one of them. Given that almost 80% of the population of the Galapagos is involved in tourism, the economic impacts of the pandemic will be detrimental to the community for years to come.
In response, the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies is using much of its recently received donations from GiveUNC 2020 to partner with local organizations in the Galapagos to launch a community outreach and engagement program to aid the people and institutions within the Galapagos Islands. The goal of this program, known locally as REACCT, is to support innovative proposals from individuals who have demonstrated loss of livelihood due to the health crisis and who impact the community in highly positive and sustainable ways.
“The program reaffirms our long-term commitment to the people of the Galapagos,” said Steve Walsh, director of the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies and co-director of the partnering Galapagos Science Center (GSC).
“Hundreds of families completely lost their livelihoods due to the collapse of tourism in Galapagos,” said Carlos Mena, Universidad San Francisco de Quito director of Galapagos research and co-director GSC. “We want to see how families are able to implement new ideas and projects to sustain their families that are consistent with the conservation of the ecosystems of Galapagos.”