Transformative Learning – Inspire

This was the final presentation of the ATWS in Scotland. It followed the title Inspire, and it was a breathtaking intervention with a lot of emotion and value. Truly inspiring!

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an Afghan women-led NGO she founded in 1995. Established to provide teacher training, education and health services to women and children, over 7 million have benefited from AIL’s programs to date. Sakena’s vision of a healthier Afghanistan evolved after watching her mother give birth to 15 children, only to have 5 children survive. Under Sakena’s leadership, AIL has established itself as a visionary organization which works at the grassroots level and empowers women and communities to bring education and health services to poor rural and urban girls and women, as well as other disenfranchised Afghans. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women in the 1990s. AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. AIL was first to open Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan. Dr. Yacoobi has received multiple recognition-of-service awards in Afghanistan.ATWS Scotland Inspire

Who she is:

Not much more can be said to this introduction. She was the first in her family to be able to go to university in the US, when she finished and wanted to go back to Afghanistan but the border was closed. When she finally was able to go back to her house, she created a learning center for women, which was illegal at the time.

She told some stories that she has to live through, this is an example:

One day while travelling as of any other day she got stopped by a line of armed men with riffles. When she saw the line of men in the middle of the road that she travelled every day, she was very afraid for her life and those on board the truck. The young men aged between 16-22 years wanted her to get out of the vehicle. The people inside requested for her to stay but she knew they were all in danger if she did not do what they said. Finally when she confronted the men they told her that they wanted education and they would stop her every day until she accepted, they knew that she had a school. She said she will try to look for a solution, even though the school was for women and that she had no means to take care of them. When she got to the school the phone rang and it was from the aid program, she explained what had happened to her that morning and they told her they would take care of them too. Finally next day when she was stooped she told them she would teach them to write and read but on the condition that they would come every day, clean and behave correctly. After 4months in the program they had learned to read and write and today they are their guides and protect her.

This is a true story and shows the feelings and how everybody wants to learn and be educated. They wanted to improve their life and change, education as a means of transformation and growth.

Another story was that of a young girl who wanted to go to school to read. She was told by her parents that the only way to go to school was if she woke up at 4 o’clock and did her labor before leaving every morning. For the first 4 months she did not speak a word but from the work she was doing by knitting she could pay his brother to do her work at home and take care of her 3 children. By the age of 22 she had become the leader of the local center with 300 women under her training, and people come and ask her for advice. She has become an important figure in her village and people come to her for advice. She is in the local council and is spreading the word to other areas.

This is an example of how empowerment of women thorough education can lead to development.

Finally she told us that her main aim is to make the world and the afghan women aware that they are individuals and that they can do anything they set to do. She is doing a great work in developing a women liberal right movement in Afghanistan and creating leader in that country. Empowering women in a very complicated country.

Best is to listen to her:

Do you think it´s an inspiring story?

After hearing this incredible story that I feel charged up with positive energy and feel to continue with our mission of achieving sustainable development in the region of la Vera through the promotion of responsible tourism.


Traditional & online Marketing: Blending the Best of Both Worlds

We had the pleasure to have Al Merschen Managing Partner from Myraid marketing. For more information about the speaker follow the link. (

Presentation for:

  • Tour operators and destination managers.
  • Target market (B-B or B-C) define
  • Create a business plan a marketing strategy (Physiographic, demographic, surroundings, who is my audience, among others.)

There is a problem with the way we address this sector, the terminology has to change:

  • Adventure Travel è no the same for US than for EU, and tourist and customers don’t even know what it is.
  • Ecotourism è Definition is ambiguous, need to be profitable and competitive if you want to have a stable business.
  • Environmentally friendly has to reduce price in order for the today customer to choose over other cheaper offer. Sustainability is seen as a competitive advantage if there is no price difference.
  • Sustainability has to be a competitive advantage when all the requirement of quality and cost has been addressed. Customer will choose sustainability when there is no difference in cost or quality.

Online Marketing

Theory that the web is dead: People surfing the net is decreasing but the number of people using and interacting in social media is growing.

Travel search:

  • Google increase by 6%
  • Yahoo is losing a bit
  • Bing is connecting with yahoo and is increasing 69% in travel searches

Online Usage trends:

  • 10% hotel application use smart phone.
  • 16% trip advisor positive comments
  • 13% of social media site search.

From a Deloitte study carried on May 2010.

Google maps is going to include prices of hotels (direct competition for bookings and reservations). Average number of visits before buying at travel sites is 22. When travel is over 1.000 $ customers don’t even look. Airport fare stops them from going to that destination.


  • We began with a funny story: A young person approached him at the airport and asked him that there was no internet available and wanted to be assured that giving his details to a person through the phone was safe. Should I give my details over the phone, he preferred to do it through PayPal or via web thought it was safer. This shows the change in the new generations.
  • Europe market grew 125%. During May 2010 is a 9.8 Thousand Million business.
  • 54% accessing travel services from smartphones.
  • Mobile technology is here to stay and is increasing.
  • Customer engagement, how do we do the conversions from social to real customers?
  • Apple i-travel connect hotel services, room reservation, temperature of your room, food and beverages of your taste, i-phone card as a room key and remote control.
  • Virtual technology is creating a big impact.
  • Google launch goggles pictures to search the web, take pictures from the telephone and google will tell me where I am.

Social networks.

  • 50% of the population under 30 years old
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest in the world.
  • 75% of housewife’s use social media.
  • 46% growth rate year over year.
  • 1/5 online users publish or have their own blog.

Older America:

  • Women between 45-55 years old most users and increasing
  • Decreasing the number of teenagers.
  • Facebook 500 million users (average is 137 friends)
  • Almost an hour a day
  • Fans page
    • Product spending, fans 28%more likely to spend and 68% more likely to recommend.
    • Tripadvisor and Facebook are linking
      • More exact information; ask the opinions of your friends.
      • Will have the possibility of only seeing your contact opinions.
      • Facebook Places
        • Where are you in the world. I.e. John is in Scotland.
        • Ability to pin point and target customer when they are close.
        • Brands incorporate check ins on fan page


  • Twitter: 100 Million users with 50 million tweets each day
  • Linked in: growing to 65 million users
  • Foursquare: 1 million. Geared form mobile, link to twitter and facebook, get discounts, tips, brands can offer deals, growing quick.
  • Youtweetface: Combien the three.
  • Flow town: platform that business use to connect with their customers everywhere in the social media. Connect all the social media, online data Know your customers.
  • Online video: Hulu, 2.600 TV shows (simpsons, 30 rock, lost glee)
    • Try to advertise in the national geographic channel in Hulu.
    • YuMe
      • Video network, preview viedeo, adverts. Combine video viewing by informing customers data. Ability to target to customers, have their taste.
      • YouTube: viral video, Evian Roller Babaies, 100 Million views, started online and then went as a TV commercial on the US.


The Reality

Online spending is growing. Companies spend around 12.6% of total advertising in 2009. ON campaigns as CTR Click Through Rate, good ROI? 0.1% one in thousand click on the add.

Travel industry is even worse 0.08% CTR from a flash add. CTR works by size and shape.

Case Studies:

Example was the Best Job in the World.

  • Done by Queensland Tourism (Australia) great barrier Reef.
  • 100 million listed to
  • Received 34.000 applications.
  • Increase in touris 0%
  • The majority didn’t know what destination was been promoted (mainly Australia)

Advertising Balance:

The credibility Continuum (What do tourist think of information from):

Advertising spending: Direct mail 98% read it, direct marketing advertising increasing.

Publications & Broadcasts

How to get the best out of your Ipad. Amazon even has 11 printed books on this issue, very strange for an application that substitutes the paper. (Best out of your Iphone).

Amazon has guide books which people still buy:

  • 624 books on Germany
  • 862 books on Scotland.

Power of Magazines

Increase in 11 % in the 12 years of Google. We surf the internet (43 seconds in our website and we are happy). We swim the magazine (43 minutes average time reading a magazine)

Broadcast TV Benefits:

  • Average US citizen 35 hours of TV watching a week
  • Kids 25 hours per week.
  • Adults 48 hours per week.

Broadcast can be truly memorable and is when it’s most effective. The problem is the cost associated but it’s still the way to get an impact on more potential customers.

I.e. Ocean Spray adverts have created a set of commercials which have been very effective in the US making consumer link cranberry juice with Ocean Spray.

This is just one but there are many others.

Outdoor advertising

Can be very effective if done correctly, need to know your client and where to place them to have the most impact.

I.e. Goodwill created a campaign based only on billboards which gave them a return of 9$ per 1$ spent.


“It can be difficult to measure the success of any campaign asking for donations, especially cars because it is not a ‘see today donate tomorrow’ scenario. However, ‘billboards’ was consistently the number one response to ‘How did you hear about Goodwill titled goods?’. Along with that, if we take the amount we spend on billboards (almost exclusively how we advertise) we see that for every $1 we spend on billboards, we get back roughly $9 in revenue.  This has increased as we have kept a billboard program in place over several years.”

Without forgetting the 3D Billboards displays. Use transports as billboards, among others.


I. Miller campaign:

Virginia Tourism Corporation

I.e. Virginia tourism used a billboard campaign in the nearby state Washington DC to attract national tourism.

Another important note is that we had a 142% increase in unique visitors over April 2008. Virginia Beach saw a 45% increase in web visits from DC in April (over March).


We cannot forget the power of the radio and how the Iphones, Ipods have online radio, podcast, people record their programs and listen to them on their free time, when going to work or during lunch. Internet and local station are allways a good mean to get to potential customers.

Domino’s Pizza is to launch its first national radio campaign for seven years, to promote its Texas BBQ line. The sales increased by 9%!

Integrated Media

The key is not to put all the eggs in the same basket. We have to combine efforts and use the different channels and tools available. It’s a matter of combining efforts. The best campaigns always use a variety of means.

I.e. CNN Heroes was a US program that made people vote online but the winners were nominated on a TV show.

I.e. Donuts / Pepsi Max created a web contest for the top 6 videos, 3 from each brand. They were put on air during the super Bowl. If you wanted to know who won or if your advert was a winner you had to view them live.

I.e. Many online magazines have turned to printing issues.

Failure leads to Insights

This is one of the ideas that the US population is keener on. The trial and error, we have to experience in order to learn. We do not have to be afraid of failure as we can learn some very valuable lessons from it.

Try other means.

Marketing famous phrase:

I know half of my advertising works; the only thing is that I don’t know which half.”

Microsoft Tags: Online and traditional banners have to combine efforts. The idea is to merge social and traditional marketing.


  • What about the smaller players? (SME´s)

First we need to define precisely who your audience is and use specific publications as ITN (International Travel News), one full page 13,000 $.

Go directly to consumer or distribution channel, CRM Program, talk to them, and get to know what they are looking for. Work with local tourist boards, tell them our needs, look for help and aid programs, promote, and talk to writers, publishers, among others.

  • Editorial and Advertising Person

Non ethical, no payment. How, when, media is it worth the risk?

One page publication in Travel and Leisure for example: Editorial is 3 times more effective, valuable and reliable than advertising.

Tourist board can be very helpful. Free-lances is difficult and you don’t know when is going to come out as the need 50% of editorial but also 50% form the advertising before they can publish the article. Bloggers be careful and is not a very reliable source according to customers.

  1. “Best reason for Advertising is next year”
  2. Very important to always use the same image so the public know who we are.
  3. Target the audience, create a clear strategy and follow it.


Visual Story Telling – Producing & Publishing Quality Video on a Dime.

Speakers at this session in the Adventure Travel World Conference include;

  • Chris Noble – General Manager,
  • Davin Hutchins – Founder and CEO, NOMADSLAND.

More information about the speakers on this link: (

Quaity Video on a Dime.

  • Use video as a differentiator / inspire.
  • Story telling is key.
  • Use tweets, Facebook, press releases. (combine efforts)

HD Video is now under 1.000 Dollars. Editing distributing has become affordable.

Signature Videos:

  • 4 or 5 minutes
  • Multiple versions (for T.V., for Youtube, spot, event, etc.)
  • Story telling is key, emotional video, tell an experience, and make people feel part of.

Problem with current videos:

  • Week stories, week interviews, week characters.
  • Need to plan, look for the most suitable story, promote and boost the best features.
  • Amateurish video (no budget) bad quality can be understood if it’s done by our clients, with a certain camera.
  • Be authentic, genuine feeling; try to express an adventure a unique experience.
  • Video tell a story, emotion, interview staff, and look for a unique story.
  • Try to capture the attention in the beginning, tell a story and the impact on the ending!
  • Hotel – Pictures might be better, stationary.
  • PPP (People, Planet, Profit) – reduce carbon footprint, unique person, trip experience.
  • Soft selling, no not be commercially aggressive. Just mention is a great place and is brought to you by us!

Dragonfly Expeditions & Nomads Land, example of video, storytelling:

World Nomads also showed a video of a development project in Costa Rica, but it’s still not available as its part of a series of documentaries: I leave a link to their website where there are many example videos:

Planning: (type of travel stories)

  • Story of the new or good
  • Story of the people
  • Story took place in an ecosystem, environment, surrounding
  • Story of trekking, activity
  • Story of the founder, traveller’s information, staff.

What camera to buy:

  • Sony, hard drive, extra batteries, computer backup. (1.000 $).
  • Canon Camera with HD (1.000 $).
  • Revel T+I HD videos 19×20 full HD.
  • Different outlets, products – same video can be edited to be used in different events, platforms. The important is to record in high quality in order to be able to modify, use different segments, versions, for website, YouTube, sell your product or promote the destination, among others. (B-B, B-C, Episodes, etc.)

Camera characteristics:

  • Flipcams- take it with you in helmet (small for adventure stories, where a conventional camera is difficult, quality is not that good but viewer understand so it’s no problem, can even be given to tourist for capturing special moments.
  • Audio: use external audio (directional, etc. pump audio, license music)
  • Flash memory or hard drives (local Audio Band)
  • Lighting (very important, (information available at the ATTA´s Hub).
  • Battery life (charge and buy extra for whole day shooting).

Use strong characters

  • Use interviews (anchor interviews 30 minutes). Unite questions between the ones interviewed so that you can move from one to another character. Use personal, historical, mechanical, transitional, philosophical or whatever ideas that are the strong and differentiating characteristic of the company, destination.

Script writing

Transcribe everything; write what to do, create a paper cut, what you are going to do! One page is about two minutes of filming! Record short scenes never more than 10 seconds (the less time and more diverse the better).


  • Never more than 20 seconds (except interview)
  • Ideal is 4 to 5 seconds!
  • Tools
    • Windows – Adobe premiere, Sony vegas, movie maker.
    • Mac: Final cut studio, final cut express, Imovie.
    • Always good to have B-role: this is material of scenery, beautiful features, sunsets, landscapes, visitors, film for the editing for crafting the story, set the mood. (always well categorized will aid with professional teams, will reduce costs if you can give this material)
    • ½ of the budget is for editing, 1 day shoot takes two days editing!

Video Hosting:

  • Think of Ipad, Iphone, Mac! Make them available for all platforms.
  • YouTube; Free / HD / Mobile compatibility /
    • Mediocre analytics, views, referring rate, sharing engagement

Managing Expectations:

  • YouTube; do not expect to get all your visits from this channel alone, use leads, from blog, promotion in order to get significant impact and views.
  • Do something to ignite the video!
  • Singular vs Collective voice (me, me, me / us, us, us) conservancy spirit, us believe more people do it in our community destination. Promote more videos.
  • These are just tools, it requires good marketing (conventional) connect tell people. Mix of traditional and social marketing is vital.
  • Promote interactions, What do you think?, ask for comments, send video, share.
  • New conscious / broad audience.


  • Google displays, ads, ad-words, Facebook adds.
  • Email, Facebook, YouTube, connet the different means of communication, marketing.
  • Happy if a visitor is in the website for 5 minutes.
  • Facebook 1 ½ minutes.
  • Think of users with small screen i.e. IPhone.
  • We have the first 10 seconds to draw them and keep them! Reach media.



In conclusion, we identify that the realization of commercial and advertising travel videos can be done at a relatively low cost and with a professional finish when we plan properly.

Discover, Engage & Deliver Awakening Destinations

This session began with Christina Heyniger who is the President of Xola Consulting, Inc., which she founded in 2004. She works with governments, entrepreneurs and community tourism interests to develop and market eco/nature/adventure tourism products and services. They have supported clients in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States. She introduced the different participants and was the manager of the session. This session wanted to put forward the difficulties and success of some new destinations and how they are trying to establish themselves as adventure travel, responsible or eco-tourism destinations.



More information about the speakers: (

First speaker was Liza Masias – Director for Business Development Sales & Marketing, InKaterra. Liza acts as liaison between InKaterra and its clients and partners. She has broad experience in hotel management, conservation and fund raising, and a good understanding of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development issues.

Liza previously worked for the Four Seasons Hotel Company, Conservation International, the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development, Special Events Coordinator for The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, DC, and Director for Special Events for the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution, DC, and most recently Assistant Analyst for InSpire Invest in the area of Social and Environmental Corporate Responsibility, Oslo, Norway. Liza holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

She focused on the business development of InKaterra in Peru. This is a case study of good practices. She has achieved this great success in such an isolated area thanks to the long term conservation projects that they run parallel to their accommodation and touristic operations. They have investigations running for 20 years which aids in Latin American countries were instability can lead to great changes when political power changes. The other key issue is that company has sustainability within the company and transmitted to all the workers. She says how thanks to the investigation programs that they run they have been able to survive some of the difficulties that the country has had to live by. This is a great example of ecological research for conservation funded by tourism activity.

The second speaker is Mads Pihl, a tourism consultant in Greenland’s Destination Arctic Circle Region, an emerging adventure destination on Greenland’s West Coast.

He was once a social anthropologist but nowadays those skills are employed in a bottom-up approach to destination management in a vast Arctic region where tourism actors are few and far apart.

He spends most of his time either on the road connecting with local companies, encouraging networking and collaboration or he develops an online presence for the regional brand through various social media and websites.

Greenland is approximately the size of Mexico and the region where he works is the size of Greece.

He begins his presentation with the idea that Costa Rica was the first Marketing Emerging communities (1998) focusing on adventure travel but since there has been other 15 countries in the world with the same focus.

Some key issues that were brought up in the session include:

  • We are not alone, bring NGO,s, Boards, Private business to work together as a destination.
  • Connect routes, use nearby destinations that are more known and promote collaboration.
  • Cooperatives: Ho to make decisions, how to empower, how to train guides in order to offer a unique and wonderful experience.
  • Partnership with local, what to do if the visitor are not coming. Service is vital and the local people must be trained and be aware of what we want to achieve and promote local goods, produce and services.
  • Attract private capital (Eco-lodge) Facilitate (Equity, state, ownership)
  • Responsible investment. (make money but also develop the region and conserve the resources)
  • What do you sell, how you market, what’s different, strategic positioning. How do we differentiate from other emerging markets!
  • Market; analyze what market, what is interesting, link to other existing markets, potential, future trends, new tourist needs, among others.
  • Accessibility: easy to get to, ways to improve, very important for tour operators.
  • Identify the Problem – Opportunity. I.e. what is causing the threat to conservation; is there a need to change (Social Employment); design tourism offer to develop and support local communities.
  • Turn the challenge into an Asset.
  • Developing destinations need to offer the link between education and training of local population is vital.
  • Use luxury like stay in your rucksack in a unique environment experiencing a place where very few people have visited. I.e. Greenland; sleeping on a dog pulled sledge.
  • What is first, accommodation or services? Infrastructure or experience

Stanley Crossick Blog:

European China and US relations Blog!

Private company & Administration

Management in private involves good relations with both local and international partners. You have to be present in order to adapt to changes (be out there business and associations). BE part of the local community but also market internationally, awards always help to create an image for your company or destination.

Tour operators and DMO´s (Destination Management Operators) have to work together to create products and services that follow the destination strategy. Private normally moves quicker that the public institutions so we have to take this into account. Is very important to never be isolated, connect with everyone in your area, with turoperators, reservations, local business, competition, administrational the key stakeholders.

In order to create a new destination it is key to create a close cooperation between local administration and business and to work on a joint strategy where the efforts of both are mutually reinforcing.

What are the most important aspects to create a new destination?

Sustainability Vs Development / Adventure Tourism Issues – OPEN FORUM.

This forum was created with the participation of all the ATTA members. A questionnaire was distributed through the members and companies assisting the Adventure Travel World Summit. Of the 6 questions proposed the one selected was:

  • Fire in the fireplace: How can we structure ourselves to be a force for good?

Forum Experts Included:

( )

  • Costas Christ – World Travel and Tourism Council

Costas Christ is an internationally recognized sustainable tourism expert whose work and travels have taken him to more than 100 countries across six continents, including expeditions to some of the world’s most remote wilderness areas and archaeological sites.

Costas is the Editor At Large for National Geographic Traveler and the former Global Travel Editor for National Geographic Adventure. He also writes the Go Green Travel Column for Virtuoso Life, in addition to serving as Virtuoso’s Director for Sustainability.

  • Shanon Stowell – Adventure Travel & Trade Association

Shannon is President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Under his leadership, the organization has grown into the largest international association of adventure travel companies with more than 600 members and dozens of tourism boards, major corporations and influential individuals helping propel industry initiatives forward.

  • Moe Carrick – Momentum Inc.

Moe Carrick enthusiastically loves to help leaders transform themselves and their companies. When she is not doing that, she loves to play outside in glorious Central Oregon and can often be found digging in her garden or running local trails.

In addition, Moe has woven a cohesive and provocative tapestry of personal leadership experiences, Fortune 100 consulting, academic and institutional learning, keynote addresses, authorship, strategic partnering, and masterful facilitation.

  • Chris Doyle – Vice President, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) & Editor, AdventureTravelNews™

Chris Doyle is a long-time enthusiast of adventure travel who’s gained immeasurable insights from the people he’s connected with on five continents, and the activities he’s experienced including whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, rock climbing, sky-diving, paragliding, backpacking, marathon running, sea kayaking, dog sledding, mountain biking and mountaineering.

Since 2004, Doyle has played a key role in Adventure Travel Trade Association’s strategic direction and development. In addition to overseeing content for and www.Adventure.Travel, he’s primarily responsible for the ATTA’s research, marketing, public relations and communications initiatives, and directs the content and execution of ATTA’s annual Adventure Travel World Summit, regional meetings and professional development programs.

Business perspectives on sustainability are changing and not only because is the “right thing to do” but because it brings more economical value. We see an increasing trend towards being more sustainable. It’s true that no one is totally sustainable as nobody is perfect but there are every day more companies moving towards this line of action and seeing the real values of becoming every day more sustainable not only economically but socially and environmentally.

There are consumer changing trends. For example Wal-Mart is now the leading organic retailer but 5 years ago was going very badly and had some very bad publicity on the conditions of work. 5 years ago they responded to the market shift, it was a strategic position that they followed as they understood that 20 or 30% of the market share was too much to be ignored. For example all the IBEX companies report their triple bottom line, and have code of conducts.

The Millennium Development Goals if endorsed by the tourism sector can aid dramatically for the sustainable development of communities. One of the issues is that sustainability is very hard to define and it seems there are many interpretations. We need to work with communities and with applications to get to common grounds and definitions.

What can we do?

There are various opportunities for merging this paradox: development and sustainability. We have to be specific with business goals and sustainability, we need to encourage and promote sustainable practices, combine efforts and communicate them thorough all the means possible. Teach the adventure traveler about sustainability principles. Never give false expectations, do not say you do more than what you really do, be transparent and responsible. Do not blow thing out of proportions.

Growth and Sustainability Paradox:

  • Adventure travel has grown in expense of other travel sectors.
  • Local travel is more sustainable.
  • Important to promote residents about sustainable practices
  • WTTC is meeting with ATTA to develop the best practices on sustainable tourism and sustainable content.

Finally Chris Doyle, representative of the ATTA, talks about the sustainable tourism council and how it promotes sustainable practices. We are asked if we want to include sustainability criteria as necessary for members of the ATTA. The vote results in a very mixed voting.

One solution is to include badges on the profile of companies that follow sustainability criteria and make them visible in the ATTA Hub. (Social Network) This will provide visibility to those companies which carry sustainable practices and will not be a limiting factor to those who want to become new members.

We have a great responsibility in the adventure travel sector, which is to balance the development and sustainability!

How do you think adventure travel could aid in this balance?

Pensamiento Transformador – Inspirar

Inspirar – Dr. Sakena Yacoobi – Directora Ejecutiva de Afghan Institute of Learning

Esta fue la presentación final de la ATWS en Escocia. De ello se desprende el título de “Inspirar”, y fue una intervención con mucha fuerza, narrada en primera persona que para mi fue ciertamente inspiradora!

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi es la Directora Ejecutiva del Instituto Afgano de Aprendizaje (AIL), una ONG afgana dirigida por mujeres que se fundó en 1995. Se establece para ofrecer servicios de formación docente, educación y servicios de salud. Son ya más de 7 millones de mujeres y niños, que se han beneficiado de los programas de AIL hasta la fecha. AIL fue la primera organización en ofrecer los derechos humanos y la formación de liderazgo para las mujeres afganas en la década de 1990. AIL apoyo 80 escuelas de origen clandestino para 3.000 niñas en Afganistán durante el régimen talibán. AIL fue el primero en abrir Centros de aprendizaje para las mujeres afganas, un concepto que ahora copiado por muchas organizaciones en todo el Afganistán. La Dr. Yacoobi ha recibido numerosos premios de reconocimiento de servicio en Afganistán.

¿Quién es ella?

No mucho más se puede decir tras esta introducción. Ella fue la primera en su familia en poder ir a la universidad en los EE.UU., cuando terminó quiso regresar a Afganistán, pero la frontera estaba cerrada. Cuando finalmente pudo regresar a su casa, ella creó un centro de aprendizaje para las mujeres, el cual era ilegal en ese momento.

Comenzó su intervención contando algunas historias que ella tuvo que vivir; este es un ejemplo:

Un día, mientras iba de camino a su escuela como cualquier otro, el camión que la trasladaba se detuvo a causa de una línea de hombres armados con rifles. Cuando Sakena vio la barricada en el medio de la carretera tuvo mucho miedo por su vida y por las personas a bordo del camión. Los soldados eran muy jóvenes, de edades comprendidas entre 16-22 años y la hicieron salir del vehículo. La gente dentro le pidió que se quedara, pero ella sabía que estaban todos en peligro si no hacía lo que le decían. Finalmente, cuando se enfrentó a los hombres le dijeron que querían que les educaran, no sabían leer ni escribir y que la detendrían todos los días hasta que ella aceptara enseñarles. Ella les dijo que trataría de buscar una solución, a pesar de que la escuela era para las mujeres y que no tenía medios para cuidar de ellos. Cuando llegó a la escuela el teléfono sonó eran los financiadores de su programa de ayuda, Sakena les explicó lo que le había sucedido esa mañana y le dijeron que se harían cargo de ellos. Al día siguiente, cuando la volvieron a parar ella les dijo que les enseñaba a leer y escribir, pero a condición de que iban a venir todos los días, limpios y se comportarían correctamente. Después de cuatro meses en el programa ya habían aprendido a leer y escribir y hoy son sus guías y la protegen como guardaespaldas.

Esta es una historia real y muestra cómo todo el mundo quiere aprender y educarse. Ellos querían mejorar su vida y cambiar su situación; la educación puede ser un medio de transformación y crecimiento.

Otra historia que nos conto era sobre una joven que quería ir a la escuela a leer. Sus padres le dijeron que la única manera de ir a la escuela era que se despertara a las 4 de la mañana y realizara su labor antes de salir todas las mañanas para la escuela. Durante los primeros 4 meses que no hablaba ni una palabra, pero gracias al trabajo de costurera que estaba haciendo podía pagar a su hermano para hacer su trabajo en el hogar y cuidar de sus 3 hijos. A la edad de 22 años se había convertido en el líder del centro local, con 300 mujeres bajo su supervisión y formación, y la gente viene y le pide su consejo. Está en el consejo local y se está propagando la palabra a otras áreas.

Este es un ejemplo de cómo el empoderamiento de las mujeres a través de la educación puede conducir al desarrollo.

Por último nos dijo que su principal objetivo es hacer que el mundo y las mujeres afganas sean conscientes de que son personas y que pueden hacer cualquier cosa que se propongan. Ella está haciendo un gran trabajo en el desarrollo de un movimiento liberal derecho de las mujeres en Afganistán y la creación de líderes en ese país.

Lo mejor es escuchar a ella:

¿Os parece una historia inspiradora?

Después de escuchar esta increíble historia siento que he recargado de energía positiva y continuaremos con nuestra misión de conseguir un desarrollo sostenible de la comarca de la Vera a través de la promoción del turismo responsable.