What is EMANA?,
A non-profit collaborative project focused on facilitating sustainable development in vulnerable communities through education and research.
Who are we?
EMANA was started in 2011 by Dr. Daniel Teodoro, who is from El Salvador. Daniel holds a PhD in Geography, having done research on the management of natural resources during climate change. Throughout the last 10 years, EMANA facilitated volunteering opportunities to people from many countries, like Brazil, USA, Netherlands, Spain, and Canada. What unites us is the desire to give back to the people of the world who are not as lucky as us. We recognize the challenges of our humanity, and we seek to make a small contribution.
Why in El Salvador?
Our work is El Salvador, for now. Our pilot projects are located in the coastal plains in the department of La Paz. The Tasajera Island, to be exact. Tasajera is part of the sand formations and islands in the Jaltepeque mangrove forests, at the delta of the Lempa River (El Salvador’s most relevant river).
The life in Tasajera is an excelent example of the work of sustainability. There, public policies related to the management of the mangrove forest and fisheries in that area directly affects the lives of the people that live there.
Read about our work methodology here.
How do we work?
The EMANA approach involves two types of projects:
Before any action can be taken, an assessment of the state of the environmental and social system in a vulnerable community. We acknowledge that sustainable development is the sum of complex social and environmental processes, and therefore we create projects with the goal of gaining a high understanding of the problems communities face.
Knowledge-creation is about using systematic methodologies to ensure a high standard of knowledge is produced. Examples include the analysis of (de-)forestation or natural environment through spatial analysis (e.g., aerial drone photography or ecological field data).
We also employ social network analysis (SNA) methodologies to study social cohesion and participation in the communities’ common governance.
In collaboration with local stakeholders, an action is designed with the goal of facilitating sustainable development to address a local need or priority.
Examples of this type of project include a summer school project (1.5 months), which provided classes to community members over a curriculum designed collaboratively with community members. Another example is the construction of aquaponic farming systems to alleviate financial loss due to the decline in fisheries.
Action-oriented projects can also be about supporting the expansion of the EMANA network. The focus can be on youth engagement with the goal of setting up new partnerships and collaborations in support of EMANA.