Empowering Hummingbird Environmental Tourguide Association as Co-Manager of the Five Blues Lake National Park
Empowering Hummingbird Environmental Tourguide Association as Co-Manager of the Five Blues Lake National Park
The overall initiative is to revive and restore Five Blues Lake National Park (FBLNP) guided by a management plan, to make it an alluring tourist destination that can contribute to local livelihoods and generate income to help maintain and protect the park. The primary initiative of the GEF SGP funding is to rehabilitate the basic access to and facilities within FBLNP in order to enhance its use, increase presence in the park, and reduce illegal activities, and promote the park to eco-tourists and researchers. Strong indicators of success shall be an increase in park visitors, increase in tourism to the local communities, and reduction in illegal activities occurring in the protected area.
Upgrading the access road by filling ruts, crowning the center, adding and packing gravel, and installing two culverts will open the park to ecotourists, coach tourists, guided tourist groups, faculty-led student groups, and Belizeans, including school and university groups. The road stops beside a large concrete floored and columned pavilion that requires a roof frame and steel sheet roofing. Once renovated the pavilion shall providing a large common area with maps, posters, and other information and paintings on the walls and columns, and with wooden picnic tables. It is shelter from the sun or rain, a place to have lunch, discuss the weather and trail conditions, give a lecture, hold a meeting, or other uses approved through HETA. Behind the pavilion shall be two fully enclosed concrete pit latrines (concrete components already in place). Entrances to the well-marked trail network, with foot bridges or stepping stones as needed, that encircles Five Blues Lake. Trails lead in several directions from the pavilion, one trail ending at a small designated camp ground. Clear signs along the trail and trail maps that can be acquired from HETA or downloaded from the website shall guide visitors to side trails and natural features, while reminding them to stay on the trail, respect the wildlife, hold onto trash, etc.
Successful promotion of FBLNP shall give an economical value, as well as ecological value, to the park and allow for the generation of visitor fees to help maintain the facilities and trails. This will contribute to local community livelihoods, provide alternative income generation potential for women, engage local youths in conservation and environmental education opportunities, involve elders in helping develop the history of FBLNP, contribute to the conservation of a rich moist tropical forest/watershed biodiversity, and serve as a principle node in the biological corridor network. Livelihood generation initiatives and access to professional development opportunities offered through programs, workshops, and research projects implemented within FBLNP can help empower women and youth.
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Project Snapshot

Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 12,900.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
A gender analysis must be undertaken by women leaders advised by consultants in women issues to identify the roles of men and women in each village, their participation in decision making, their access to environmental and economic resources, and the occurrence of any gender gaps or inequalities existing within the communities. Women shall also be challenged to identify and describe gender sensitive issues and how these shall be addressed through by project activities. Even if there are no women members of HETA currently, efforts shall be made to include women on the FBLNP planning and management committee with contacts to women’s groups in the buffer communities. Women are very active at community meetings and have a history of involvement in civic activities. Some women operate small businesses and St. Margaret’s Village women have participated in bed and breakfast businesses in the past. These women shall be consulted to identify what they feel are their status and levels of involvement in decision making and leadership within their respective communities. They shall be presented with a few concepts pertaining to the long-term development and management of the park and how it can benefit the communities, but they shall be challenged to define what they see as their individual and collective roles and opportunities to benefit from the park and the services they may choose to offer tourists. If they decide to offer meals, bed and breakfast, souvenirs, and other services to visitors, established women’s groups shall be challenged to develop standards acceptable to tourists and decide how these services shall be offered and advertised. All these initiatives shall be advertised through the park notice board (located at the pavilion), in articles, on talk show visits (with spokes women accompanying HETA members on these talk shows) and posted on the HETA website. Women shall also be encouraged to become certified tour guides. Women farmers (and there are several in the area) shall be encouraged to offer farm tours and to provide produce and other farm products to local restaurants serving visitors to the park.
Inovative Financial Mechanisms
During the trail construction, GPS tracking logs shall be maintained, key features recorded and described, and distances recorded. This information shall be used to construct a self-guided trail map. This brochure shall contain a brief history of the park and information on karst and tropical forest ecology. A map will be painted on the wall of the pavilion as a reference for visitors. The current wildlife list for the park will be updated and maintained as a separate brochure. Information about key species shall be included in this brochure and a web site will be given where visitors can report additional sightings (which shall be noted in the master list to be confirmed by future sightings). A series of morning talk show visits shall be conducted by members of HETA to talk about this community-based park and the features it offers as a way of inviting Belizeans to visit the park. A short article on FBLNP and its features, history, and new management status shall be submitted to local newspapers to inform the general public. A poster shall be developed that highlights key features of the park and gives brief information and a location map. These posters shall be distributed around Belize at notice boards in bus stations, restaurants and other establishments where tourists frequent. Lessons learned and other knowledge, including data, obtained during this project shall be captured in the mid project report and the end of project evaluation report. All data that may be obtained during this effort shall be in the appendices of the report. The final report, complete with photographs, tables, and other components, shall be submitted as a word document and a pdf to the GEF SGP, committee members, and interested community members.
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SGP Country office contact

Mr. Leonel Requena
(501) 822-2462


UNDP Belize,3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building Complex ,P.O. Box 53,South Ring Road,
Belmopan, Central America