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P.O. BOX 49268, AUSTIN, TX 78765 (512) 420-0101
CHAIR John Doggett TREASURER Toby Tiktinsky SECRETARY Burghard Petersen BOARD MEMBERS Hazel Barbour - Francisco Boza - Anthony Dasari - Charlotte Streck EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Niyanta Spelman

November 29, 2012 Re: Partnership between Conservacin y Desarrollo and Rainforest Partnership through the artisan and handicrafts project in Sani Isla To whom it may concern: I am writing this letter to recommend Conservacin y Desarrollo (CyD) in my capacity as executive director of Rainforest Partnership (RP), a partner organization to Conservacin y Desarrollo. Our organizations first formed a partnership in April 2008, and together, we initiated a project in the indigenous community of Sani Isla in March 2010, working with the community for over a year in jointly developing this project through 2009. In fact, the community of Sani Isla voted to partner with our two organizations to work with the women in Sani Isla, first time these women were going to engage in an economic activity by using their skills in making traditional handicrafts. Sani Isla is located in northeast Ecuador at the borders of two protected Amazon rainforest areas, Parque Yasuni and Nature Reserve Cuyabeno.

"Artisan Studio" - Sani Isla, Ecuador - A place for the women to gather and work, built summer 2010

Founded in 1992, CyD is an independent, nonprofit organization, headquartered in Quito, Ecuador. The organization collaborates with government agencies and the private sector with a mission to promote sustainable development and the rational use of natural resources, and to raise public consciousness about resource management. Founded in 2007, RP is an Austin, Texas based organization that works with rainforest communities in helping them make an income that allows them to protect their forests. The partnership between our respective organizations was created in an effort to take advantage of our overlapping missions and goals and more importantly, for us at RP, it met our core values of being bottom-up, results driven and collaborative.

Women of the Sani Isla artisan group in the artisan house with RP Executive Director, Niyanta Spelman, February 2012

For the past three years, CyD and RP have worked together to create a completely new project working with these women who were not engaged in an organized economic activity but who wanted a sustainable means of income. The project focused on helping the women of the community identify forest resources that can be sustainably used to make artisan crafts; start a nursery; provide training in skill development, that include sourcing of raw materials from the forest, making of high quality goods, presenting and selling these goods; development of business skills, and understanding the supply chain; helped create a marketing plan; and most

November 29, 2012 Page 2 importantly, in summer 2010, funded something that was very important to the women: a building of a traditional Kichwa modeled studio in the community center to serve as the central gathering place for all activities for the women for this project: this is where the women gather to meet, make, demonstrate and sell products to tourists from the nearby community owned ecolodge as part of a cultural tour. The women have been actively selling handicrafts products and now receive guests at least twice a week and are earning an income and have a functioning organizational and management system.

Some of the handicraft products the women have made and displayed for sale Feb 2012

The collaboration and success of this project has been an important partnership between our two organizations and the community of Sani Isla. We, at RP, have been most impressed with CyDs approach, and their understanding that helping people who live in the rainforest grow their economy in harmony with their forest is one of the best ways of achieving long-term forest protection.

Women making chambira fiber, Feb 2012

Our goal for this partnership has been to use the Sani Isla womens artisan project as a successful model to replicate it in other communities. We look forward to working with CyD for a long time. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or require further information. Sincerely,

Niyanta Spelman Executive Director