Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2022. 6:27 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT) today revealed it had been invited to select an example of local community-based entrepreneurship and sustainable conservation models in southern Belize as part of the Royal Visit.
Unfortunately, it all went awry when a group of villagers staged a protest claiming they had not been consulted.
Lost in the back and forth, the organization says, was an opportunity for the farm’s owners and village women’s groups “to engage and market their unique products and stories. Ya’axché firmly believed that engagement with the Maquin family and the women’s groups during the royal visit would have garnered global attention to the family’s artisanal chocolate-making story and their culture while bringing a perfect marketing opportunity to the farmer, community, Toledo District, and Belize.”
The organization says it followed the protocols and arrangements of the organizers of the visit and was not responsible or authorized to invite anyone.
Despite the debacle, YCT says it plans to continue its work with beneficiaries that are willing to be a part of Ya’axché’s mission and vision, inclusive of farmers, small business entrepreneurs, women’s groups, and other community-based organized groups that choose to partner with Ya’axché.
Partnership support includes institutional and technical capacity building that fosters community engagement, creating opportunities for the promotion of their livelihoods whether it be in subsistence farming, cacao and chocolate making, beekeeping and honey production, or cultural and eco-farm tours.
Ya’axché remains open to working with all communities in southern Belize and especially the communities of the Maya Golden Landscape and looks forward to continued collaborations that support sustainable conservation and livelihood improvements for the people of Belize.”
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