Introduction & utilization of donation
In March 2023, our fruitful partnership with Ecogenia was prolonged with a new grant destined to cover its organizational and development costs for 2023. This is Ecogenia’s second year of program delivery and existence as a legally operational organization and the second year that we provide our support as we align with its mission to mobilize youth through civic service to accelerate sustainable impact for Greece.
Ecogenia is the first nonprofit of its kind in Greece to be offering a paid service term for youth (18-30) that enables them to lead local sustainable development projects and deliver tangible impact, all while receiving professional development and training. In just one year of being operational, Ecogenia successfully executed two pilot programs, Dorida & Chania, which engaged 17 cohorts and an estimated 500 community members. It was also recognized on the European stage, having been selected as the national winners of the European Charlemagne Youth Prize.
Trail Building & Eco-Tourism pilot took place between May and July 2022, serving two villages of Dorida region, Alpochori and Zoriano. 7 cohorts spent 10 weeks revitalizing a network of trails to connect the two villages and working alongside the local community to develop an ecotourism strategy for the region.
Ecogenia prioritized its pilot programming with an ecotourism project because of its significance for Greece’s economy and environment. The tourism industry makes up 20% of the workforce, particularly for its target age group, and accounts for 18% of the country’s GDP. The region of northern Dorida – a mountainous prefecture made of18 villages – emerged as a viable location with potential for scaling. The area is rich in biodiversity and strategically important because of the Mornos dam that provides the water to the Attiki region.
After-School Enrichment pilot was implemented in Chania in the period of September-November 2022, engaging 520 children. The program adopted the train the trainer model, whereby Ecogenia’s education experts trained the 10 cohort members on curriculum delivery. The cohorts then led an after-school enrichment program in addition to facilitating workshops with other partner organizations and in public school classrooms.
As a best practice, this model creates a stronger ripple effect and enables longer-lasting program impact. Equipping cohort members with new skills and exposing them to a diversity of trajectories and opportunities is a core part of Ecogenia’s intended impact. How they then apply this knowledge is at the heart of the program.
In 2023, Ecogenia has planned the iteration of the two aforementioned programs, while a Disaster Preparedness/Relief & Ecotourism Hybrid Program is getting ready to follow.