Find out what makes you happy then go and make it happen!
The idea for Project Cordillera was born amongst the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca in May 2013. I had climbed and trekked in these mountains before but the unique beauty of the Peruvian Andes and the communities that live there does not die hard. Speaking to friends and colleagues in Huaraz and Lima, I left knowing that there was an incredible opportunity here and that social enterprise represented a new alternative.
After much research and planning, and back in London, I began discussing the concept with a number of people who spend their lives embroiled in the worlds of climbing, trekking and adventure tourism. With the ambition to create an organisation that is at once both a commercial enterprise offering the highest quality products and services, and an integrity-driven not-for-profit designed to create social value, I also met with experts in community-based development, sustainable tourism and social enterprise. The response has been remarkable and many of those that I met agreed that innovative market-based solutions – if undertaken thoughtfully and with strong and genuine partnerships – represent a new, socially progressive alternative to the complex and often counter-productive aid agenda.
Our aim is to offer a personal route to exploring these wondrous and spellbinding mountains in a safe and exciting way, and to do so with an explicit giving mechanism that allows visitors to support leading community-based organisations that deliver to their own communities.
We have a great deal of work ahead of us to make it happen, but everyone involved is thrilled by the challenge and to be part of something that is creating global change through local action. Furthermore, we cannot wait to be up there in the Cordilleras of Peru, welcoming adventure-seekers who understand the impact of travel and who want to make their’s a positive one, whilst of course having the time of their lives!
By Sam Williams, Friday 3 January 2014