CSF Alumni Gather in Lima
Course graduates Marco Bustamente (2014), Sara Mateo (2013), Sofia Vargas (2015), Maria Pia Diaz (2015), and Dora Samaneigo (2014) enjoying the alumni gathering in Lima. Photo credit: Niki Gribi
CSF course alumni work all over the world and we love to reconnect with them whenever and wherever we can. During our recent five-day training course for USAID in Lima, Peru, we hosted a gathering of some of the over 200 Peruvian alumni from our international Economic Tools for Conservation course that is held in northern California each year. We caught up with them about life and work, and learned that for many of them, their course experience has had a lasting impact on their lives and careers.
Alejandra Muñoz attended the course in 2016 and is currently working for the Sustainable Forestry Management department of GIZ-Peru. “After the course I started to use economic valuation to include the value of ecosystem services in public and private investment projects in Peru.”
Dora Samaniego, who attended the course in 2014, was working for Conservation International (CI) at the time. “The course gave me the tools to understand the value of our resources. I also learned to be open about new methodologies and approaches to environmental issues.”
Daniela Pogliani is the Executive Director of Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) and attended our 2017 international course. “Attending the CSF course opened up a new world of connections with professionals from all over the globe. Not only was I exposed to economic theory, I was also challenged in my beliefs and forced to think outside the box. The course has given me a new perspective, I now look at economics as a fundamental part of any conservation decision making process.”
Sofía Vargas is a freelance consultant working on conservation strategies and environmental policy, and attended our 2015 course. She is currently conducting an analysis for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) about how environmental and land use criteria are considered in planning and public investment. Part of her analysis includes giving recommendations to improve both systems. “I think the course had a lot of impact on my work. When I took the course I was focused on a payment for environmental services (PES) mechanisms in the Amazon. The course gave me a much bigger understanding of the PES tool - especially in how to set the payment and what it really meant - how we were trying to remunerate a positive externality of the indigenous people's conservation work. I think that really helped to improve what we were doing there but in general, the course gave me a new perspective on my work. I was skeptical, but now I value the role of economics in environmental conservation, how economic tools can give you arguments for preserving habitats, and how it can help to solve market failures.”
Cristian Vallejos (former CSF staff), José Carlos Rubio (CSF), Gabriel Quijandría (CSF) and Lucia Ruiz (WWF-Perú) exchanging stories over a drink. Photo credit: Niki Gribi