Announcing… Our 2023 Community Partnerships in Oaxaca

Our commitment to a more socially and environmentally sustainable Oaxaca

Announcing… Our 2023 Community Partnerships in Oaxaca

Occasions such as Earth Day are great for a concentrated moment of awareness—a moment to recollect both intentions and commitments. And it’s so important that this awareness can turn into long lasting action beyond just a day in time.

And so, at the end of every April, it’s become our tradition to announce our commitments via annual partnerships for social and environmental sustainability. In collaboration with the Voice for Nature Foundation, we are delighted to announce a renewal of the following partnerships in Oaxaca.

Isla Urbana: Rainwater Harvesting

(More on Isla Urbana here)

We will fund the installation of an additional 4 rainwater harvesting systems in the remote Mazateca region, where extreme water scarcity is a feature of daily life. Additionally, Isla Urbana has identified an urgent need for rainwater harvesting in the San Nicolás Yaxé community located in the Valles Centrales, just an hour south of Oaxaca City. They are facing dire water shortages due to development of greenhouses in nearby towns using up much of the water in the aquifer, struggling to have enough water both in homes and schools. This year, we will support the provision of 4 new rainwater harvesting systems, that will not only provide a clean water source for all family needs, including clean drinking water, but will also reduce the amount of water that needs to be extracted from the aquifer, helping the wider community beyond the families immediately benefiting from these new systems.

SiKanda: Women in Entrepreneurship Program

(More on SiKanda here)

We’re also honored to extend our partnership for a third year with SiKanda. This important non-profit in Oaxaca promotes sustainable development within marginalized communities, with a key focus area being gender equity. They take a holistic approach in their guidance, especially with women entrepreneurs, understanding that successful entrepreneurship combines business acumen and access to capital with appropriate support for mental wellbeing. We’ve always been so inspired by their approach and methods.

This year, we’ll provide seed capital support, this year for 15 women entrepreneurs. Additionally, one of the businesses who came through the 2022 program – the Leobaa Collective – will receive additional support for scaling their business, including funding, investment coaching, and business strategy consultation. An inspiring initiative, The Leobaa Collective have come together to work on creating a women-led Center for Holistic Traditional Medicine, which incorporates their natural self-care products and will offer a variety of holistic therapy sessions in dedicated treatment rooms for the local community.

Reflecting on impact over the years

When we embarked upon these partnerships in 2021, our sights were set on making tangible, lasting impact at a human scale. Thank you to the amazing teams at our partner organizations who helped us turn goals into reality.

Dispatches from Isla Urbana’s 2022 install trips. Photos courtesy our friends at Isla Urbana.

Isla Urbana

  • 2021: Installed 4 rainwater harvesting systems in remote, geographically marginalized communities in the Mazateca region, where women and girls walk over 2 hours a day to collect water from sources where the water is often contaminated.
  • 2022: Installed a further 4 rainwater harvesting systems in the remote Oaxacan communities in the Mazateca region, along with an additional 4 arsenic-free water supply systems in Guerrero. The total rainwater harvesting potential for all systems combined is 794,950 liters per year.

SiKanda: Women in Entrepreneurship Program

  • 2021: Provided seed capital to 15 women-led businesses and piloted a 5-day intensive business training program
  • 2022:
    • Provided “Make Your Business Grow” workshop training for 28 women in the Zaachila community in Oaxaca
    • Provided basic business tech training to 22 women entrepreneurs
    • Delivered seed support for 22 female-led businesses, who received among other items tools for their beauty parlors; fabrics and threads for sewing businesses; pots, chairs, and furniture to produce corn-based products; cooking instruments, furniture, wooden counters, and product displays for an upcoming new healing space

Maestro Noel Martinez Artisan Residency & Mentorship Center

  • 2021: Provided free tool kits for craft students and workers receiving training at the artisan center
  • 2022: A new Communal artisan workshop built to provide additional space for education and access to key tools for young indigenous student artisans, honoring the life and legacy of the late Maestro Noel Martinez whose vision led to the creation of this program.

From the outset at The Lost Explorer, sustainability has been at the heart of everything we do—and not just environmental sustainability, it’s social sustainability, too. These partnerships, made possible in collaboration with Voice for Nature, are our commitment to that vision. It’s an honor to have such tremendously dedicated partners to work with year after year, and we’re moved not just by what’s been achieved, but also by what’s to come.

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