Empowering Changemakers

Alternative sustainable livelihoods in the Amazon

Project summary

OneAction is contributing to the development of sustainable livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Amazon to foster the autonomy of local communities and to provide them with alternatives to deforestation.

Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2017   1 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2013   1 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2014   1 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2014   2 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2014   3 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2016   1 Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   2016   2


Empowerment, Environment, Sustainable livelihoods

Project duration

2013 - 2020


Direct: 18 women in Cajabamba II
Indirect: 60 members of the community


Funds earmarked to the project since 2013: CHF 13,561
Costs of the taro culture: CHF 5'000


In the region of Pastaza in the Ecuadorian Amazon, increasing deforestation for timber trade has become an urgent environmental concern. Aware of the reduction of forested areas in their region, community leaders of Cajabamba II have voiced their wish to develop, for the locals, sustainable economic alternatives that respect natural resources and encourage community participation and solidarity.


Our partner

Since 2012, OneAction is working in partnership with Vitalideas, an Ecuadorian organization whose actions are focused on natural resources conservation and rural community development. Their projects include reforestation and the development of socially and environmentally responsible tourism to sustainably support the economy of rural communities.

The project

Since 2013, OneAction, Vitalideas and community members are developing alternative livelihoods to deforestation in Cajabamba II. These initiatives contribute to preserving natural resources and to gathering community members around various initiatives. First of all, OneAction built a community shack next to an eco-lodge to support ecotourism activities. Today, the cabin serves both as a reception centre for ecotourists and as a restaurant offering traditional Amazonian meals made by locals. In addition, visitors are given the opportunity to plant an indigenous tree to contribute to reforestation efforts. 

More recently, a group of women from the community has expressed the wish to set up a common plantation in order to benefit from alternative economic means and to enhance community cohesion. To respond to this request, OneAction and Vitalideas have been focusing on the opportunities that can arise from local organic cultures. In 2015, we supported the launch of a plantation of taro (colocasia esculenta), a tuber frequently used in Amazonian cuisine. The women have already harvested and sold the first batches and productivity is expected to increase.

Expected results

  • A community shack was built in 2014 and is currently used as a welcome centre for community members and tourists;
  • Two groups of women are cultivating 2 hectares of land and have already harvested more than 32 tons of taro (91.7% of the usual yield of taro in the Amazon);
  • Harvests are generating revenues, of which a part has been dedicated to the continuity and expansion of the project, and another part has been shared among the women of the group;
  • Ties between the participants and the community as a whole have been reinforced.


  • Self-sufficient project that gives the opportunity to women to cultivate taro in the coming years, generating new significant revenues for the community;
  • The community shack is currently entirely managed by the community, and the products sold in the restaurant mainly come from the village's organic crops;
  • OneAction is looking into other initiatives pursuing similar objectives in favour of the Amazonian people to replicate sustainable livelihoods.

Projects   alternative sustainable livelihoods in the amazon   testimonial

« OneAction has been of great support to launch our project. This initiative has provided us with the opportunity to create a unified group and has given us the strength to continue our efforts. »


Rosa Guambuguete, community group leader

Some facts and figures about the project


  • 1 community shack built for a community of approximately 60 people;
  • 2 hectares of taro planted in 2016;
  • More than 15 women directly involved in the plantation;
  • For the first harvest, 32.2 tons of taro have been harvested (representing 91.7% of the usual yield for taro in the Amazon);
  • More than CHF 2,500 of revenues have been shared among the women, and more than CHF 1,500 were dedicated to the project's development and continuity.