Empowering Changemakers

Holistic education in Quito

Project summary

OneAction is collaborating with INEPE to increase the outreach of its internationally recognized holistic education model and generate new sources of income allowing the Institute to move away from its dependency on donors. In parallel to the development of the Insitute's organic garden and musical programme, OneAction is optimizing its online teacher-training programme with the aim of providing quality training to teachers and parents and spreading the Institute's holistic education model. 

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Education, Empowerment, Environment

Project duration

2012 - 2021


Direct : 640 students from 0 to 18 years old; 2,280 teachers and parents trained annually.
Indirect : more than 30,000 students annually; around 2,000 community members; around 100 INEPE collaborators.


Funds earmarked since 2012: CHF 604,785
E-learning development costs: CHF 737,850
Funds still needed: CHF 476,949


Considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with more than 22% of its population living under the poverty line, Ecuador is facing several challenges that limit the opportunities available to its population. Weaknesses in the quality of education, a conventional teaching approach that lacks a comprehensive response to individual needs and socio-economic challenges, job instability for certified teachers, domestic violence and teenage pregnancies, are among the key issues linked to education in Ecuador.


Our partner

The Institute of Research, Education and Public Promotion of Ecuador (INEPE) is a thirty year old non-profit community institute located on the heights of Quito. It manages a school with 640 students from 0 to 18 years old, most of whom come from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The Institute's internationally recognized holistic education model focuses on the intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic and creative development of its students. These students are actively involved in the learning process and they benefit from a wide variety of activities ranging from sustainable agriculture and reforestation, to tai chi, music, meditation and yoga, in addition to conventional subjects. Through these initiatives, INEPE ensures that students become responsible citizens, are given the tools to move out of poverty, increase their self-esteem, care about their health, are active in the protection of the natural environment and become powerful agents of change for themselves, for their families and their communities. In parallel, the Institute also manages the neighbouring urban park, runs an organic garden that provides food for the students, and trains teachers and community leaders.

The project

Since 2012, OneAction is collaborating with INEPE on two main axes : the expansion of INEPE's organic garden and the development of its virtual teacher-training programme

With the aim of increasing INEPE's local and organic food production and multiplying its sustainable agriculture workshops, OneAction has contributed to the construction of an agricultural shack and several greenhouses, and has adapted the irrigation system to cover the garden's needs. More recently, OneAction also participated in the development of terraces dedicated to the production of Andean crops (quinoa and amaranth, among others) contributing to enriching the students' diets. We are also planning on increasing the supply of natural fertilizers to make them available for local farmers and to generate sustainable funds for the school.

In parallel, OneAction is working towards the optimization of INEPE's e-learning platform with the objective of offering quality training to teachers and parents, as well as spreading the Institute's holistic education model. The project lasts 5 years during which we plan to create 39 courses that will be added to the 9 existing courses in order to cover the majority of the Institute's curriculum. This initiative includes the design of course curriculums and its supporting tools, the creation of songs and videos for each course, and the training and monitoring of the platform's participants. The virtual programme is hosted by the National Polytechnic School of Quito, which provides a recognized certificate to the participants. 

OneAction is also supporting INEPE in the improvement of its infrastructure in order to better the conditions within the school. To do so, we have funded the refectory's renovation and built new rooms intented for music classes.

Expected results

  • The garden covers minimum 50% of the Institute's food needs, and is used for sustainable agriculture workshops;
  • The e-learning platform offers 48 courses;
  • Gradually, 500 to 2,500 teachers and parents are trained annually on the platform;
  • Teachers in a precarious situation receive a certificate confering them with an advantage on the job market;
  • The quality of education is improved and holistic education is spread throughout the country;
  • Interpersonal relationships are reinforced thanks to the development of communication skills and dialogue.


  • The organic garden is self-sufficient;
  • The platform's running costs are covered after the implementation of the 12 first courses;
  • A significant part of INEPE's running costs is covered once all the courses have been integrated to the platform;
  • OneAction disengages progressively after conducting an impact evaluation to uncover best practices and eventually replicate the model elsewhere.

Projects   holistic education in quito   testimonial

"INEPE encourages human development; not only the development of material goods, but also the development of human consciousness to find alternatives to climate change and poverty".


Patricio Raza, local project supervisor

Some facts and figures about the project


INEPE's organic garden

  • 2 greenhouses built and extended (1,120m² available);
  • 1 agricultural shack set up;
  • 1 water reservoir of 100m³ built;
  • 9 terrasses with Andean cultures cultivated.

Virtual training platform

  • In 2016, the e-learning platform offered 9 courses;
  • Since 2012, the platform registered a total of more than 1,300 participants;
  • Between 2017 and 2021, 39 courses will be created;
  • Progressively 500 to 2,500 teachers and parents will be trained annually;
  • In 2016, 4 students of the Graduate Institute conducted a baseline study on the project;
  • In 2021, the platform will offer 48 courses and will generate revenues of more than CHF 150,000 covering around 12% of INEPE's budget.

Infrastructure development

  • 1 refectory renovated and rebuilt (building of 235m²);
  • 9 classes built for the music programme;
  • 9 toilets installed.

Smart actions by kids for kids

  • In 2014, 120 Swiss students participated in a letter exchange programme with 120 INEPE students.