Help a Colombian NGO begin a canoeing culture at Lake Tota!

For: ZINE CANOAS and its socio-environmental objectives.
Boyacá, Colombia
Help a Colombian NGO begin a canoeing culture at Lake Tota! (ZINE CANOAS and its socio-environmental objectives.)
of $6,000 goal
0% Complete
Raised by 1 donor

The Story

Fundación Montecito is a socio-environmental non-profit organization based in Sogamoso, Colombia. Our mission is to create positive change for the environment, particularly the surrounding mountain and Andean wetlands. Our vision is to implement sustainable practices through care and valuation of our environment using integral and positive transformation.

  • More than just canoes

With project Zine Canoas, our non-profit aims to manufacture wooden artisan canoes (and related boat types) to promote a non-motorized navigation culture to Lake Tota (new to this lake), hand-in-hand with developing wetland culture & sustainable tourism, for all of which we believe this project has huge potential. The name Zine in the indigenous Muisca language signifies raft and brings a cultural recognition to our ancestors.

Although canoeing may seem like a familiar recreational activity, it is a rather new practice for us. With only three major lakes in Colombia (amongst more than a thousand minor lake-type wetlands), visitors of Lake Tota would benefit from the introduction of canoes into our wetland culture. This project aims to not only preserve our environment, but introduce elements of other cultures and make it our own through local, historical context.

  • Overview

Our commitment to improving the wellbeing of Lake Tota begun in 2010. A link to our actions since, can be seen at @lago-de-tota (more about Lake Tota at @overview). This high-Andean lake is the largest in Colombia, and it is located in a páramo environment – a very unique and fragile type of ecosystem worldwide in which Colombia, as one of the six countries where páramos exist, is fortunate to have nearly half of them (more at @paramos).

Lake Tota was recently recognized as the #3 best Green Destination of the Americas. For us, this is a huge step towards sustainability, but there is still substantial work to be done. With Zine Canoas we want to bring a concrete example of sustainability to benefit the lake itself, and its local communities.

  • Our Project

With our own research & efforts, we built up the first pilot handicraft canoe during five months of careful artisan work. It was completed on February 24th, 2018 and the canoe was named 'Cucarachero' after the Apolinar's wren, a valuable endemic bird species in this ecosystem. That first canoe linked to this iconic bird was highlighted during the renowned ITB Berlin tourism fair held March 2018 in Germany, where Lake Tota received the #3-best award.

With your support, we would build four (4) new artisan canoes to stimulate a variety of practices with locals and visitors and create a sufficient interest and momentum towards sustainability. The location would be visible at @xieti.hostel and would promote the construction of a canoe manufacture workshop on the shores of Lake Tota. We have created a progress record of the Zine Canoas project on the Facebook @zine.canoas page.

  • Handicraft and environmentally friendly, not industrial nor imported

Based on our research, we understand that canoes for sale in countries where they are commonly manufactured may vary in average from anywhere in between USD $1,000 to $9.000 per unit. It would cost even more to have it shipped to Colombia. We believe that creating our own artisan wooden canoes locally would bring the cost down.

In our case, it is important to highlight that our project is related to wooden handcrafted canoes made locally. Not mass-produced. Here are the benefits:

· It stimulates local craftsmanship and recognition of cultural roots and handmade products.
· It has a significantly lower environmental footprint (in comparison to other materials, to industrial manufacture, or imported products).
· It brings more clear opportunities for participatory processes to local communities, both educational and financial. 

This approach clearly supports sustainability and provides a friendly example to environmental care and social responsibility.

  • Why anyone should care about this project?

By supporting our project, you will be help develop a sustainable navigation culture hand-in-hand with wetland culture & tourism at Lake Tota... @read.more

  • Fundraising Breakdown

We worked out a full budget of USD $1,500 to manufacture each of the four wooden artisan canoes for our fundraiser. Every canoe needs the following:

· Materials (wood, resins, fiberglass cloth, painting, and various): USD $350
· Artisan craftmanship labor (two professional artisans, estimated time of 2-3 weeks per canoe): USD $700
· Rentals (workshop, public services, equipment): USD $350
· Administration, office & transports: USD $100

Total: USD $1,500 per canoe x 4 canoes = USD $6,000

In addition, our NGO provides an in-kind support based on volunteering and equivalent to an estimated 25%, which helps to cover other costs not included in that breakdown such as integrated management, marketing, website support, logistics, and networking.

  • Why four canoes?

You may ask why four and not a different number of canoes for the purpose. We have decided that number based on two perspectives. Our current workshop has limitations that only allows us to build solely one canoe at a time, but we envision our manufacturing capacity of two canoes per month (max 1.5mo). Also, we believe that four canoes (in addition to our 1st model already built) represent a minimum good manageable number to go out and navigate them with small groups of people interested in learning and testing the product.

  • When do we expect to have those 4 canoes built up?

If we are able to fundraise it promptly by the end of June 2018, we will afterwards manufacture them continuously in an estimated period of maximum three months (September). Otherwise, we will adjust our manufacture timeline to our funding possibilities, with an extended limit to move on according to fundraising by the end of Dec, 2018. It may change depending on the circumstances faced during the process.

  • Learn more about

To learn more about us, the project and its context, please follow: @learn.more


Thank you for your support!


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on April 11, 2018


Posted on April 11, 2018

Why anyone should care about this project?

Please check a brief text we prepared to expand on this subject - here.

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