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Champamia Ecotourism Association

Quibdó - Chocó

Description of Social Entrepreneurship

We are an association that carries out community tourism in Quibdó, Chocó, to provide an economic alternative to the riverside communities of the Atrato River. We work with Afro-descendant and indigenous communities to make their culture, customs and the biotic and landscape richness of our region visible. We offer tours to the ecotourism trail of Beté, the community of Munguidó, the swamp of Jotaudó and the indigenous community of La Baudata. In these tours we offer: guidance, hiking, observation of native species of flora and fauna, local cuisine, craft workshops, among others.

What led you to create your Social Entrepreneurship?

The CHAMPA MIA ECOTOURISTIC AND CULTURAL ASSOCIATION arises when a group of motorists displaced from different riverside communities due to violence and armed conflict, come together to provide the public river transport service to passengers. As time went by, we realized the great tourist potential of the region.

Additionally, we saw the potential of great ethnic diversity, which together with cultural customs make Chocó an especially magical place framed by ancestrality. This is why we decided to bet on community tourism; to strengthen, empower and improve the quality of life of our communities through ecotourism, cultural and experiential tourism.

How does your Social Entrepreneurship impact your community?

Our work improves the quality of life of 5 riverside communities. We generate income complementary to their daily economic activities to defend and revalue local cultural and natural resources. For us, it is very important that communities be part of the planning and management of tourist packages so that they have a great and sustainable impact.

In addition, we involve communities to reduce negative impacts such as the deterioration of the natural and cultural resources they possess. We encourage intercultural meetings with tourists through traditional dance, craft workshops and tours of the natural areas. We strengthen communities by providing them with the tools to establish efficient mechanisms of organization and self-management to preserve their natural and cultural heritage, customs and ways of life of their own.

What do you dream of happening with your Social Entrepreneurship?

At this time we have made a strategic alliance with a community tourism company formed by ex-combatants of the Colombian armed conflict, called “Aguas de Paz”, with the aim of working together for the benefit of our riverside communities. We will be the first alliance in the department of Chocó, where the victims and ex-combatants join, who for 50 years terrorized and displaced a large part of the Chocoana population, but who managed to reintegrate into society and today, they bet on the peace of the country through safe and responsible tourism.

Together we want to boost tourism in the Atrato River, the third most navigable tributary in the country and one of the means of transport in the region. In 2016, the Constitutional Court of Colombia recognized the Atrato River, its basin and tributaries, as an entity subject to rights to protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration by the State and ethnic communities in the area.