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Vision, Mission, Focus




Impact Summary


Educational Services


Permaculture Design Certificate


Community Seed Bank


Nutritional School Gardens


Commitment to Local Employment


Volunteering Program


The Center

23 Our Growth 25 Financial Figures 26 Our Donors 27


OUR VISION AND MISSION VISION Our mission is for people and communities to thrive in biodiversity and live harmoniously with their environment in a culture of abundance.

MISSION Using ancestral knowledge and permaculture principles, IMAP improves community and individual well-being by increasing food sovereignty, improving ecological sanitation and conserving biodiversity.

FOCUS Food Sovereignty Ecological Sanitation Native Seeds Local Ecosystems

Foreword For the Mayan people, the right to life is not limited to a human being’s life - it also applies to other people, animals, plants and the cosmos. The earth’s gifts are abundant, her protection wide-reaching. Over the last few hundred centuries, the Mayan people have acquired a certain kind of attunement with the earth. From childhood we learn that it really is alive, pulsing, responsive in a thousand ways to the actions of humankind. As soon as I discovered permaculture, I knew that it provided exactly what I was looking for: practical solutions. I believe that the major problems of countries entrenched in harsh conditions – flooding due to climate change, lack of food security, etc. – can be overcome with simple, inexpensive solutions. The key is to listen to what local people did before the advent of modern agriculture, and to see how new techniques can complement traditional ways without sweeping them aside. IMAP’s key role is to blend traditional knowledge and modern permaculture techniques. Our work is dedicated to reaching 4 main goals: increasing food sovereignty, improving ecological sanitation, promoting the use of native seeds and ensuring conservation of local ecosystems. Through hands-on practices, we seek to cultivate an abundant future for Guatemala and beyond. As long as the seeds and the knowledge that protect them are still alive and thriving, there is hope to make that future a reality. Ronaldo Lec, Coordinator of IMAP Ronaldo (Rony) Lec has dedicated his life to the preservation of Indigenous culture in the Mesoamerican region. Rony became a Permaculture Design specialist and earned a diploma from Bill Mollison, father of the permaculture movement. Concerned by the serious environmental, social and cultural problems affecting Guatemala, Rony co-founded the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura, or IMAP) in 2000 in order to promote permaculture techniques, local biodiversity conservation, production of organic food, and a seed bank that strives to reconstruct the Mayan seed heritage. He is a Maya Kakchiquel from San Lucas Tolimán - a town that was impacted severely during the Guatemalan civil war. He is a world-renowned leader in the permaculture field and his life-long work teaching principles that integrate traditional knowledge with ecological conservation have won him both local and 2 global recognition.

Impact Summary 2014 Guided

28 tours and facilitated 22 workshops

Provided scholarships to Certified


15 people on Permaculture Design participants

Distributed Built

27 local farmers

105 lbs of seeds to rural communities

26 nutritional school gardens

3,500 children received native and nutritional seeds Created local employment opportunities for Worked with 3

43 people

59 volunteers 3



Tours IMAP provides tours to local and international visitors alike. The tours are provided in English, Spanish or Kakchiquel by one of our local facilitators or long-term volunteers, and range between 2-4 hours depending on the needs of our visitors. Through a tour of IMAP, visitors experience permaculture in action. Key features of the center include bioconstruction, appropriate technologies, waste and water management systems, organic vegetable gardens, native bee hives, ancestral Mayan calendars and a Seed Bank featuring native and heritage seeds. We also offer tours of our partner organization, Ijat’z, where we cover water and sediment management, vermiculture, forest seed beds, organic coffee production and experiences in the Fair Trade market. In addition, IMAP offers beekeeping enthusiasts the chance to visit Genaro, a small-scale local beekeeper. The tour will engage, educate and enchant you with a first-hand look at native honeybees in their hives, guided by Genaro on his own land.

In 2014, IMAP guided 28 tours to 348 visitors and generated $4,180.00 from these services. 5

Group Trips

Group Trips are a direct, hands-on way for people from all over the world to have an authentic experience of rural Guatemala and contribute to the well-being of the Mayan people. Through our Community Service Projects, visitors get the chance to build meaningful relationships with local people and make a lasting difference in their lives, while learning about the local ecology and culture. Typical projects include: Creating school gardens Building a composting toilet Implementing natural water filters

Visitors also get the opportunity to: Learn about Mayan calendars, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture Discover Guatemala’s historical and political context Hike through a primary forest and see orchids and birds in their natural habitat Visit spring-fed rivers running through a lush mix of fish ponds and terraces of watercress, banana, ginger and turmeric, all designed and managed by a local community.

In 2014, IMAP offered group trips to students and intercultural exchange groups.


Workshops For more than 10 years, IMAP has offered workshops and courses in a variety of topics including: family gardens, community seeds banks, permaculture, ancestral knowledge, apiculture, bioconstruction, grey water management, and much more! These workshops are designed for small, local farmers and are usually facilitated in Spanish or Kakchiquel. In 2014, we structured our workshops as “diplomados”, 3-4 module courses hosted once a month and targeting participants looking to receive a diploma upon course completion. 3 different “diplomados” were offered in 2014: Family Gardens, Community Seed Banks and Introduction to Permaculture. For our international visitors or local groups looking for one-time courses at IMAP, we offered stand-alone workshops - available in English upon request. In 2014, we offered 22 stand-alone workshops in a variety of themes including: water filtration, home gardens, and cooking with native plants.

Rony Lec, lead facilitator and co-founder of IMAP teaching the Mayan Calendar during an Introduction to Permaculture workshop.


In 2014, IMAP facilitated 22 workshops and 3 "diplomados" to 333 participants and generated $25,723.00 from these services.

Farmer Scholarships As part of our commitment to serving small, local farmers we have allocated funds to a farmer scholarship account that allows us to sponsor approximately 2 farmers a month. In order to apply for a scholarship, the farmer must go through a short but thorough application process that helps us assess their background, interest and financial need. Farmers that are selected receive either a half or a full scholarship which covers our educational services, lunch, accommodation (for multi-day courses), and course materials.

“I’d never heard of permaculture, but my father said in the old days he used some of the same techniques I learned in the workshops. Through IMAP I learned how to work with seeds, how to produce more food. The workshops gave my family the push we needed.” - Juan Chojpen, smallholder farmer Cerro de Oro, Guatemala

In 2014, IMAP provided scholarships to 27 local farmers for our Family Gardens, Community Seed Banks and Intro to Permaculture "diplomados", tours and stand-alone workshops. 8



Permaculture Design Certificate IMAP is the principal certifying body for Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) in Mesoamerica. Our PDC courses take place in beautiful Lake Atitlรกn, Guatemala and are co-taught by Rony Lec (founder of IMAP) and Shad Qudsi (founder of Atitlรกn Organics). The courses are typically taught three times a year, once in Spanish and twice in English and last approximately 2 weeks.

In 2014, we offered a PDC course in English and certified 15 people in Permaculture Design generating $8,550.00

Shad Qudsi, founder of Atitlรกn Organics teaching about permaculture and animal husbandry during the 2014 PDC.


PDC Defined Permaculture is derived from the concept of permanent culture / agriculture and is a design method that integrates appropriate technologies and observations of nature as a guide for achieving self-sustaining communities. Permaculture seeks not only to protect the environment, but also to use all its wealth in a way that supports both present and future generations. The Permaculture Design Certificate, often referred to as the PDC, was developed by Bill Mollison as a tool for teaching the principles and foundations of permaculture design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format in order to ensure that the integrity of the certification process is respected. Our certificate allows participants the right to use the word “permaculture” in a professional setting, and it indicates that they have successfully completed the course. The PDC is also a pre-requisite for further training in permaculture. Participants who attend our PDC course and complete the final design project receive a Permaculture Design Certificate. 11

“This course was incredibly inspiring. Rony carries invaluable permaculture knowledge and wisdom, and his way of weaving Mayan ancestral knowledge into our permaculture education was nothing short of beautiful.” -Aaron Boyd, 2014 PDC participant



Community Seed Bank Climate change, new pests, water scarcity, the rise in single-harvest hybrid seeds brought in from external sources – all of these factors threaten the local biodiversity and the food security of the Mayan people. Simultaneously, the knowledge associated with planting, cultivating, harvesting and saving seeds is in severe danger of being lost. One of IMAP’s key roles is to respond to the rising threat to irreplaceable heirloom species and varieties. Native seeds are more resistant to extreme weather conditions, pests and disease, they have higher nutritional value than market produce and, unlike many other seeds, they can be used from harvest to harvest. Farmers and NGO representatives come to our Seed Bank to buy, sell or trade their seeds, and every year IMAP donates thousands of seeds to vulnerable families and schools around Lake Atitlan. Our Community Seed Bank has a tremendous impact on the local level, namely by: Improving nutrition by promoting densely nutritious seeds Increasing availability of native seeds Improving local seed genetic diversity Maintaining Mayan seed heritage and legacy. Seed banks and seed sources need to be available for farmers at the local level in order to have any sort of impact. Now more than ever, promoting native seeds and establishing community seed banks are urgent concerns in Guatemala. 13

Patrik Murcia, Seed Bank Coordinator


$13,315 of 33 varieties of native and heritage seeds


$657 of 23 varieties of native and heritage seeds

"2014 was a good year for IMAP’s Seed Bank. We were able to generate enough funds from seed sales to cover the Seed Bank’s basic operations, and our client base diversified; new NGOs and farmers from throughout Guatemala came to IMAP specifically to buy seeds. We donated 242 packages of seeds to 26 schools around Lake Atitlan, and we trained new farmers to save and reuse their seeds. I take great pride in the work that I do at the Seed Bank. It’s important work, and although IMAP has been around for 15 years I feel we’ve only just begun to reach new heights." Patrik Mucia Seed Bank Coordinator, IMAP 14



Nutritional School Gardens IMAP is part of an NGO alliance around the lake called Red K’at whose mission is to promote nutritional gardens in primary schools throughout Sololá as part of the government's “Healthy Schools” mandate. By training teachers and educators, IMAP and the rest of the Red K’at alliance members were able to develop an effective building and management methodology for gardens within the school curriculum.

In 2014, IMAP built 26 nutritious school gardens and trained 20 teachers so that 3,500 students could have access to nutritional foods and seeds.




Commitment to Local Employment From its inception, IMAP has been committed to creating employment opportunities for the communities of Pachitulul, Cerro de oro, San Lucas Tolimán and Quixayá. Every core staff member, every cook that we hire, every seed producer that we buy from is local. We also support local establishments and transportation for our international visitor groups, thus supporting the local economy of the communities surrounding our center. IMAP is also committed to paying fair wages. Before working with IMAP, a facilitator would make an average of $300 a month (the national minimum wage). Since working with IMAP, a facilitator will make an average of $450 a month, which is a 50% pay increase!

In 2014, IMAP created local employment opportunities for 43 people contributing over $40,000 in local income. "I am very grateful to be able to work at IMAP. Finding work in this area is very difficult, especially since I’ve never been to school. At IMAP I cook for groups that come and visit, local food such as pepian and paches, so that they can discover what we eat. I’ve been cooking here for 10 years and through IMAP I’ve met wonderful people from all over the world. I wish they could stay longer!" - Andrea Cojtin, Cook




Volunteering Program IMAP’s work would not be possible without the support of our volunteers. Volunteers help us with a range of agricultural, administrative, and operational tasks.

In 2014, IMAP worked with 59 volunteers from over 20 countries!




The Center Part of what makes people fall in love with IMAP are its facilities. Located on the shore of Lake Atitlån, IMAP has such a calming and natural energy that you feel re-grounded as soon as you arrive. Anyone who has visited IMAP understands what we mean. It’s that deep breath you take when you get there, the way your shoulders slouch in relaxation, the instant smile that appears on your face as you enter this biodiversity paradise. Much love goes into the way we design our gardens and accommodations so that visitors feel re-connected to the Earth as soon as they arrive and much after they leave. We also mind our environmental footprint and ask visitors to reduce and classify their trash, use our composting toilets, and limit their water and energy consumption while at IMAP.

In 2014, we made several improvements to our facilities including: New artistic murals (courtesy of our volunteers!) Relocated our plant nursery Planted two new terrace gardens Built another room for accommodations Created a food bank to reduce trash 22



"IMAP never fails to amaze me. The fact that its impact grows every year speaks volumes about our team and our dedication to creating even more guardians of biodiversity.

Our Growth 59 46 22 13

43 26


696 633



Seeds Sold


School Gardens








Seeds Donated




In 2014, IMAP built gardens in 26 schools, in comparison to 3 schools in 2013. We hosted 28% more volunteers than the year before, and welcomed 11% more visitors for tours of the center. Compared to 2013, our Seed Bank’s total seed sales and donations increased by $4,685. As a small NGO, we are continually learning how to improve our services and act on the valuable feedback that our visitors provide. As a result, we redesigned our website, expanded our marketing tools and created a unique group trip package that focuses on community service. IMAP is a catalyzing force. It’s more than an educational center. It’s inextricably linked with its surroundings - the community, the land, the neighbouring lake. It’s a meeting ground between past, present and future, a space for conserving ancient knowledge while learning and thinking about the path ahead. IMAP’s potential for impact is tremendous - and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface." - Myriam Legault Outreach Coordinator, IMAP

Financial Figures In 2014 we generated $6,257 from our workshops, $1,166.63 from tours, and $1,353 from our Permaculture Design Certification course. Our Seed Bank made a profit of $8,125 from selling a wide variety of seeds, and we brought in $8,125 from our volunteer program. In addition, we boosted our income by $288 through merchandise sales, and our donors, both private and institutional, supported us with a total of $16,138. Our goal for 2015 is to become even more financially self-sustainable by increasing our focus on group trips and tours.


Workshops - $25,722.50

Workshops - $19,464.89

Tours - $4,179.03

Tours - $3,012.40

PDC - $8,549.87

PDC - $7,196.65

Seeds - $13,314.25

Seeds - $5,189.37

Volunteers - $1,871.33

Volunteers - $3,466.17

Merchandise - $288.00

Merchandise - $0.00

Donors - $16,137.46

Salaries - $22,623.33


Other - $13,428.46


Our Donors


Partnerships Organizations ADEMI Atitlan Organics Caritas Quiche Carleton College CEFCA CONAP Cruz Roja CSR Cuerpo de Paz Estudiantes Rafael Landivar Groundswell Ministerio de Agricultura Ministerio de Educación Moscamed Pura Vida RED K’AT Redsag Rejuvencer Rompiendo El Silencio Seres

SERJUS Transformational Connections Trees, Water and People Universidad San Carlos Where There Be Dragons Yoga Farm

Schools Aldea Pasajquin Aldea Patanatic AMSCLAE Balam Abaj Nahualá Canton Chitulul Canton Chitulul, SAP Cantón Chuixajuar Cantón Xiprián Caserio Pacaman Caserío Xeaba I Caserío Xeabaji Centro de Estudios Avanzado Centro Educativo Santo Chekumuk Chuacruz Domingo

DIDEDUC, Sololá Escuela CECOTZ Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Comerciales Carlota Raphael de Díaz Escuela Pachitulul Escuela Pavarotti Guillermo Bate IMBC San Marcos Jaibalito Joel Calderón Jornada Matutina Jucanya, Panajachel Los Planes Los Tablones Paraíso del Lago Paraje Nuevo Progreso Pujujilito Cosepción San Marcos Sector Canoas Altas Xiprinas



Caserío Pachitulul, San Lucas Tolimán, Sololá, Guatemala Tel: +502.4549.0578 Email: Website:

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IMAP - Annual Report 2014  

IMAP - Annual Report 2014  

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