Restaurante El Manglar

Restaurante El Manglar

Restaurante El Manglar

Cayo Quemado, Río Dulce, Izabal, Guatemala


Restaurante El Manglar was founded by the Cayo Quemado Women’s Committee with the primary goal of creating new employment and training opportunities for the community.

One remarkable aspect of this Committee is its diversity, encompassing women from various age groups, bridging both older and younger generations. This highlights how the restaurant serves as a unifying force for women in Cayo Quemado, with a clear commitment to nurturing future generations.

Today, an increasing number of travelers to Río Dulce and Livingston include Cayo Quemado in their itineraries. This serves as a powerful testament to empowered women actively fostering economic sustainability within their community, and they are enthusiastic about passing down their knowledge to younger generations.

women directly impacted
people indirectly impacted

Critical Need

Keeping families together is crucial for all the hardworking women at Restaurante el Manglar. Historically, the community of Cayo Quemado faced a challenge as many residents were compelled to seek livelihoods elsewhere, resulting in family separations. Fishing used to be the primary means of earning a living here, but circumstances changed in 2004 when the government introduced new laws, including a fishing ban, which caused economic hardships. Consequently, they needed to explore new income-generating alternatives, such as engaging in tourism.

Our Involvement

With the support of Planeterra, a grant was provided to equip the kitchen and restaurant, enlarge the bathrooms, and improve the uniforms and signage.

Women and youth share the local culture by offering a “Caribbean Gastronomic Experience” with a workshop on a local dish called “Ceviche al Coco,” which is ceviche marinated with coconut milk. At the same time, travelers learn more about the amazing work that the committee is doing in Cayo Quemado. New connections to the market are crucial for the sustainability of the business and its ripple effects.

Planeterra provides ongoing training and support to the team on experience development and business administration to promote the development of a newly profitable enterprise.


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Tinkuy Community Tourism

Tinkuy Community Tourism

Cuyo Chico community – Sacred Valley -Cusco, Peru


Tinkuy is yet another example of the power of community and perseverance. The 12 families who came together to establish Tinkuy have worked together for years on the shared vision of recovering their traditional practices and ceramics while being able to earn an income locally in order to support their families. Not only are they now able to do so, but they have also dedicated their efforts to helping the wider community through supporting clean-up campaigns and improving access roads, benefitting other farmers and artisans in the Cuyo Chico community.

people directly impacted
families indirectly impacted

Critical Need

The community of Cuyo Chico was once renowned for its ceramic handicrafts, but the emergence of plastic and other inexpensive materials posed a significant threat to the livelihoods of those engaged in the creation and sale of traditional ceramic crafts. As the demand for their art declined, community members found it increasingly difficult to earn a sustainable income and support their families.

To counter the loss of this cherished tradition and provide economic opportunities for its community members, the Ricchariy Association of Cuyo Chico took action. In a collaborative effort, 12 families came together to establish Tinkuy, a local enterprise dedicated to revitalizing their customs and traditions. By creating Tinkuy, the community aimed to offer culturally significant income opportunities, especially for women who had to forgo the care of their families and farmland in search of work outside the community.

Our Involvement

The Tinkuy Community Tourism Enterprise, owned by the Ricchary Association of Cuyo Chico, was established in 2009 with the aim of promoting tourism activities. But despite their efforts, they faced challenges in gaining traction in the market. To address this, Planeterra implemented capacity-building programs, developed and improved the facilities and purchased equipment for the association. Planeterra supported them with new cultural experiences that would be more accessible to travelers while also maintaining their traditional pottery and gastronomy. 

By helping improve the experience, Planeterra was also able to connect Tinkuy to the global market through our travel partners.

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Asociación de Mujeres Artesanas Zoológico Mágico

Asociación de Mujeres Artesanas Zoológico Mágico

San Martin de Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico


This newly formed cooperative was founded by 13 women who aspire to foster growth and generate employment opportunities for women and youth through art. Their primary objective is to preserve the Zapotec culture and the cherished artisanal process of creating alebrijes, a local cultural heritage.

Their workshop is a haven of fantasy and art, where they breathe life into various animal creatures they can imagine. Each piece is meticulously crafted with their own hands, skillfully combining vibrant colors that enhance the beauty of the wood.


people directly impacted


women indirectly benefitting
Zoológico Mágico

Critical Need

San Martín Tilcajete is a town located in Oaxaca famous for the woodwork created by local artisans. The main piece of Art in the wood workshops is the famous Alebrijes, which are wooden figures that represent different animals of the Zapoteca culture and some of their legends, there are approximately 150 alebrijes artisans.

The alebrijes are a big part of the Oaxacan culture and preservation from generation to generation is very important. Nowadays a lot of different people around Mexico create copies of the original alebrijes and they are sold everywhere, the artisans in San Martin are having a hard time generating enough income and the value of their art has gone down according to the market prices.

Our Involvement

Planeterra has been working together with the women of the Zoologico Mágico association to find out what are the most pressing needs to be able to host travellers. They needed a bathroom for visitors, as well as to finalize the process of registering their business. Now they are fully registered and have brand-new bathrooms.

Through this partnership, we also connected Asociación de Mujeres Artesanas Zoológico Mágico to travellers who are now able to experience the Zapoteca culture and the making of alebrijes. This additional revenue will increase their income so they are able to grow as a community.


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Safi Kitchen

Safi Kitchen

Southern Ghawr, Jordan


Safi Kitchen is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the local culture and natural resources to promote the southern region of the Jordan Valley (Ghawr) as a tourist destination throughout the year. The key beneficiaries of the kitchen are local women and youth who are short of financial opportunities in their communities. They participate in an authentic farm and meal experience to showcase their tradition and culture through food.

By engaging in tourism activities, community members receive a much-needed income from the kitchen. Women can now make their own financial decisions and youth are leading up conservation activities in their communities. 

The community continues to value their environment and more businesses are being led by women. They are also sharing their culture authentically.

people employed
Community members benefitting
Safi Kitchen_Jordan_Planeterra_P100

Critical Need

Al-Safi Kitchen was opened at the end of 2019 in the southern Jordan Valley, hosting visitors to the area and making the region a distinct tourist destination that provides high-quality services that reflect the local cultural heritage.

However, since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Safi Kitchen has struggled to find customers and make the project successful.

Our Involvement

Through a partnership with Safi Kitchen, Planeterra facilitated a market connection to the tourism sector, where travellers enjoy an authentic meal experience and understand the traditional methods of farming in Jordan while seeing the fresh ingredients picked and used in their meals. They also get an opportunity to learn about how this community is using agriculture to preserve their environment.

Safi Kitchen provides a traditional lunch, tea and snacks to travellers. They also have an in-community bike trail for active travellers with a mountainous backdrop. The tour is led by youth from the community who are receiving an income from the tours.

Photos Safi Kitchen_Jordan_P100_Planeterra
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Good Work Foundation

Good Work Foundation

Hazyview, South Africa


The Good Work Foundation (GWF) is a nonprofit organization that trains local youth in technology, conservation as well as Tourism and Hospitality. They provide opportunities in the tourism sector for youth in the villages bordering the Kruger National Park. Every year GWF provides free training to 25 youth and bridges them into opportunities in the hotels and lodges in the area.

Thanks to GWF, youth are gaining skills in entrepreneurship and tourism to break the cycle of poverty around the Kruger National Park by generating sources of income. Additionally, through the training provided by GWF, youth are able to access much-needed education.

Youth trained each year
community members benefitting
GoodWork Foundation_planeterra

Critical Need

Youth unemployment rates in communities around Kruger National Park, one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, soar above 65%. Many local people will leave their homes to search for work in other metropolitan areas such as Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The lack of opportunities for employment and investment leads to poor living quality and many women and youth are forced into low-paying menial labor and possibly illegal behavior such as wildlife poaching.

Our Involvement

Planeterra partnered with GWF and their Hospitality Academy to create an express Coffee Bar that serves hot and cold coffee and locally sourced snacks to travellers who are visiting the Kruger National Park.

The Coffee Bar supports covering tuition and is also an opportunity for youth in the program to receive practical training in barista skills as well as earnings for their work. Tourism allows GWF to reduce their dependency on grants to fund the academy, increase class sizes and train more youth.

GoodWork Foundation_South Africa
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Making tourism more accessible with the Planeterra’s Learning Hub

Written by Rhea Simms – Director of Global Programs

Learn why Planeterra has made all of the Planeterra Learning Hub free for all community tourism enterprises

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Planeterra made the decision to upload all our training materials and best practices online so they could be freely accessed by our (at the time) 85 community tourism enterprise partners. We did this so that our team could continue to mentor, support and provide training to the enterprises we work with, even if we could not physically be there. The impacts of the pandemic left our community partners in a transition phase of rebuilding their business models, developing new tours for the domestic market, and navigating online sales and experiences – some for the first time. Having access to our tools and training meant they could more easily set prices, create new experiences, and navigate the world of online marketing.

The compilation of our resources, which we call the Learning Hub, became the basis for the Global Community Tourism Network which was launched in April 2021. With this new program we expanded benefits beyond the online learning tool, to also creating spaces for peer to peer learning, and developing a network of engaged community tourism enterprises that we could support with market connections as tourism returns. We opened up the platform and the benefits not just to our original 85 community tourism partners, but to all community tourism enterprises who met our criteria and could stand to benefit from the program. And we decided to still keep all benefits free for communities. 

  1. Many communities lost their main source of income overnight – During a global pandemic our partners lost a large portion of their income overnight. Adding a cost to the platform would create a barrier that some could not overcome, meaning they would not be able to access the resources and community that could help them become more financially sustainable long term. We are committed to making the most impact which means making our resources as accessible as possible. Not to mention, many of our community partners lead and fund community development activities in their communities, and we want them to continue to use their resources in this way. 
  2. We want to change the status quo for community tourism tools and resourcesCommunity-based tourism materials have historically been developed with academics and consultants as a key stakeholder, not necessarily with and for the communities themselves. Planeterra does want to develop tourism experiences that we hope travellers will someday visit. We want to make sure our partners have the tools and network to reach the market to achieve their goals.
  3. There is a huge need for ongoing support and mentorship for community tourism enterprises– For years Planeterra has seen a huge gap in ongoing support and mentorship for community tourism enterprises. In order to compete with larger companies, community tourism enterprises often need ongoing support, mentorship and advocacy with large private sector partners. Ongoing mentorship has always been a key part of our model and success, and we continue to make it so with our growing network.
  4. Our model works, and we want to share it –  Planeterra has developed a proven model for community tourism enterprise development, and we want others to learn and join us in the mission to keep communities at the heart of tourism. The more our proven method for tourism development is adapted, the more we can see communities receiving more benefits from the tourism industry.

The Global Community Tourism Network exists today thanks to the generous donations of individual travellers. Our work continues to grow and be stewarded by our community enterprise partners, Strategic partners and Corporate partners that all believe that communities should be at the heart of tourism and its benefits. 

We are grateful to all who have joined us in this mission.

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By Evie Ndhlovu, Program Manager Europe, Middle East, Africa

In late 2019, I set out on my very first research trip for a new Planeterra partner in Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. It had only taken a few months to narrow down leads, through phone calls and favours from old friends, but one name stood out, the Good Work Foundation (GWF), a campus where youth were receiving digital skills and more recently Tourism and Hospitality training. Once there, I got to experience first hand the drive, the organization, and the excitement that filled the Hazyview campus. The training that was offered was done so for free, to young people whose villages surrounded the famed Kruger National Park. In their villages, young people did not have many opportunities, and the easiest way to succeed to them was leaving the villages for the big cities, menial occupations in the richer surrounding neighbourhoods, or a life of crime.

The Good Work Foundation was working to change this, by offering 25 opportunities for training in tourism and hospitality every year. This meant that 25 young people would receive the knowledge needed for them to find occupations in the lodges located in KNP and also entry level positions in these lodges after they completed their training. Out of hundreds of applicants, only 25 could receive this life-changing education, and this was not enough. It was not until Mr T, a former student and now facilitator at GWF, offered me a cup of coffee, that a light bulb lit up in my head. Coffee! What if a cup of coffee could bring more opportunities to youth and women in the villages around the Kruger? Coffee was going to be the link that would bring together two organizations to use tourism to increase impact in the villages around the KNP. 


The Good Work Foundation’s main campus is located in Hazyview, right on the road leading to the popular Phabeni and Paul Kruger entrance gates of KNP. It’s a location where hundreds of travellers pass by daily headed into the famous park to sightsee and game view. And through a partnership with Planeterra, an express breakfast service could be developed to offer travellers a hot, or cold beverage on their way into the park. The ripple effects of this express service would be endless. The income could be used to grow class sizes and include more local youth to receive the tourism and hospitality training. The breakfast service could generate income that could be used as stipends to the students who are often breadwinners in their homes. It could also be an opportunity for employment to the alumni of the academy who chose to stay. Moreover, this could be a practical training center for the students where they receive hands-on experience in the tourism industry. With all set in place, the pandemic came and without travel, the idea of the breakfast service was put on the back burner, until the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) opportunity of 2021 came be.

The CFLI is a prestigious Canadian funding opportunity that sees many organizations yearly seeking to achieve key projects in their missions. When the call for South Africa proposals came in June of 2021, our first thought was our partners in Kruger. With a tough year behind us due to COVID-19, we asked GWF if this opportunity would be one to jointly pursue, and without hesitation, they got up and got to work on a proposal. 

In order to continue and expand their mission without large donor dependency, GWF was ready to pick up the conversation on the breakfast service. This service was to be managed and beneficial to their Tourism and Hospitality Academy, as it would provide hands on training and a stipend to the students, allow GWF to grow their class sizes without donor dependency and finally bring to the tourism industry of the Kruger, a fresh innovative service with purpose. And just like that, the proposal was deemed successful and we got right to work. 

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After several months of pause, Migrantour, the intercultural walks to discover multiethnic Naples, started again on September 14. Migrantour is an initiative born in Turin that arrived in Naples in 2015 and provides guided tours of the city with intercultural guides of foreign origin. 

Migrantour Naples provides 4 routes organized by Casba Social Cooperative, a Planeterra partner since 2018. In this interview, meet its President, Jomahe Solis, to learn more about Migrantour and the work done by Casba.

*This is an extract of the interview originally published in italian on the website of Impact Campania, a project which aims to promote the integration of foreign citizens in the region of Campania, Italy.

Hi Jomahe, can you tell us how the Migrantour initiative in Naples was born?

We officially started with the Migrantour Naples project in 2015 even if we did it informally in 2013. The Migrantour concept was born in Turin in 2010 thanks to Viaggi Solidali; we came into contact with them and proposed to bring it to Naples. We obtained their accreditation to be part of the network after verifying that most of the members of our Cooperative are foreigners. This is the idea, we are not tour guides, but intercultural guides. 

In 2015 we obtained funding from the Waldensian Church and entered the official Migrantour circuit which provides 200 hours of training for the intercultural guides. Nowadays, Migrantour has become an international network because, two years ago, we participated in a European funded project called “New Roots”, which extended the network to several European cities.

What are the characteristics that distinguish Migrantour?

The Migrantour is not the usual city tour, because we are not tour guides, we are intercultural companions. We bring people to the discovery of popular neighbourhoods, to see the ferment of migrant communities. Casba Social Cooperative has been working with the integration of migrants for over twenty years and we know the communities and areas of the city very well. We like to call it “a visit to the world at zero kilometres”, since we go to a place and we can imagine being abroad, encountering colours, noises, smells and flavours of other cultures. This brings an extra sensitivity to the presence of migrants in our cities.

In some way can we say that Migrantour represents a counter-narrative of migration?

In recent years there has been a negative narrative, focused on boat landings and the phobia of the foreigner who comes to take everything. Contrary, we see other realities, such as the entrepreneur who works and makes others work, perhaps Neapolitans. This type of migration narrative is the message we want to spread through the Migrantour. 

How many types of routes are there?

We currently have four routes: that of Piazza Garibaldi which is called “A thousand worlds at the station”; “In the belly of Naples” which starts from Piazza Mercato; then we have “All the faces of the exchange” which is in the area of the Courts, this path was created recently and intends to be a story about old and new slavery; finally, the last is “Next stop: Piazza Cavour” which represents a crossroads of worlds and cultures.

Now we are working on a new route, trying to establish a dialogue between different places of worship. After the lockdown, together with Viaggi Solidali, we tried to invent something new and decided to create a one-week tourist package, conceived by our Casba Cooperative which includes the historic center of Naples, as well as Pompeii, Procida and of course the Migrantour.

Who usually takes part in your tours?

To tell the truth, the public is very mixed, which is why we also try to personalize them with special stages and tastings of typical cuisine or drinks. For example, when we go to the market run by the Bengalis, we taste the mango juice and the delicious Sri Lankan biscuits created to accompany the tea, because having had the English domination they made this tradition theirs. On the other hand, when we travel with foreigners, we explain the tradition of “caffè sospeso” (leaving a coffee paid for someone that cannot afford it) and sfogliatella (typical Neapolitan pastry). However, the routes are mainly designed for Neapolitans and school children, since the idea is precisely that it is the local population who can realize with whom they share the city. It is a matter of open-mindedness that allows you to have a different look. 

The Migrantour of Naples and that of Rome have attracted the interest of the international tour operator G-Adventures, who brings groups to take part in the tours. Often those arriving from abroad have a more open vision and already know things such as multi-ethnic markets, so for them we take the itinerary “In the belly of Naples”, which is more focused on interreligious exchange and Neapolitan habits. In this walk, we visit both the mosque and the Carmine church and we try to explain the link between the different religions. In that area, there is the Black Madonna as well, to which many Neapolitans are devoted. 

Why is it important to know this multi-ethnic face of Naples?

It is important not to stop at the news that mass media transmit, both in terms of foreign communities and the city of Naples. We must go and see, get to know the positive things, things that later on we might be interested in. It is also a way to enrich your life, your culture and why not your table too! As an example, ginger, which is now so fashionable and is put all over the place, has always existed, here in Italy too. So how did this fashion come about? It was born from the knowledge of the other, the customs and habits of the other, it is always an enrichment. If during the walk you find something you like, maybe you come back, or if there is a shop where you used to pass and you didn’t even notice it, now you know it and maybe you go inside.

We must favour intercultural exchange because there is no fixed identity, we will understand that we can only get richer, becoming less vulnerable.

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The ‘Six Stars’ at Amba Estate


We have just returned from Sri Lanka after meeting yet another group of inspiring women being supported by Planeterra Foundation! The “Six Stars” as they befittingly call themselves, are women who work a the AMBA Tea Estate and with Planeterra support have established a successful chutney cooperative after getting training and necessary equipment, further supplementing their income.

AMBA Estate is a community-based sustainable tourism project in the Ambadandegama valley in the Uva Highlands of Sri Lanka. Ambadandegama Chutney Cooperative is the first entirely community-owned venture to be supported by the Estate. Planeterra provided a grant for equipment and training so that the women of AMBA could start producing a range of chutneys, pickles and other preserves to be sold to visitors, utilizing the multitude of fruits and vegetables that grow in the valley. The group received guidance on how to make different types of chutney and about health and safety standards, like how to sterilize the bottles. The whole process is carried out with utmost precision. Anyone witnessing the entire process can feel the meditative approach of the cooking, as going step by step requires a lot of patience. But in the end, you are rewarded well with the aromas of all the lovely ingredients slowly filling the room.

The Happy Team at Work

The six members of the cooperative were selected by AMBA because they are the most experienced tea pickers. In Sri Lanka, it is mandatory that tea pluckers retire from the plantations at the age of 55, so the chutney cooperative adds financial stability as these women move into retirement. The “Six Stars” are all able to work from the comfort of their own homes which also provides them the opportunity to get help from their family members. As a result, the cooperative can churn out an order of 10-15 bottles in a single day. Guests at AMBA Guest House are able to taste the delicious chutneys ranging from mango, papaya, tomato, jackfruit, and lime, and can also take some back home.

The Six Stars remark on the impact AMBA has had on them, including being able to support their families.

“I have two daughters and one son,” Renuka says, “This money has really helped me a lot as I build my house. With the profits, I bought wiring for the house.”

“I worked before in the estate and now I do this,” Ramayalatha reflects, “I am saving money for my daughter’s wedding.”

All of the women’s stories are truly inspiring, but Renuka’s story stands out. after facing a lot of setbacks early in life, in 2008, she joined AMBA as a tea-plucker. Step-by-step she learned a whole range of new skills, from organic vegetable and tea growing to fine-plucking, tea-rolling and jam-making. Like all of AMBA’s team, she participates in the farm’s revenue-share and she is now responsible for all aspects of tea production, from plucking the leaves to rolling and overseeing the oxidization and drying. She is also a founding member of AMBA’s chutney cooperative, which are then sold in the AMBA farm shop. Thanks to Renuka’s perseverance and hard work, she has been able to give her children an excellent education – her oldest daughter graduated and is now a teacher, her son is a security officer at a school, and her youngest daughter is taking her O Level. Renuka says that her life is getting much better, thanks to AMBA and Planeterra.

It’s not just the members of AMBA Chutney Cooperative who are set to benefit from this enterprise. The community is also seeing ripple effects from this business, as Rs. 10 from each bottle of chutney sold is added to the cooperative’s fund which goes towards their equipment, and eventually, towards purchasing a start-up kit for more women to join the cooperative.

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2019 Update from Lusumpuko Women’s Club


Since serving their first meal to international travellers in April 2018, the ladies of Lusumpuko Women’s Club in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, have continued to grow and excel at their craft while also cementing their position as a community-based organization.

The Lusumpuko Women’s Club has catered to over 3,000 G Adventures travellers and due to their success, they have begun serving even more travellers as of January 2020. The members have improved their English skills, public speaking abilities, and continued to preserve traditional Zimbabwean cooking methods and dishes.

The group has brought in an additional 10 members and their operation has expanded from a tourism service to a popular local event caterer. The ladies are also giving back to their community by serving meals on a monthly basis at the local hospital and seniors’ home.

Lusumpuko has continued to break barriers in the industry by standing alone as one of the best locally-owned service providers in Victoria Falls and they have received critical acclaim from local media for their efforts.

This is only the beginning of a new and exciting journey for the Lusumpuko Women’s Club as they continue to take back their power through the growth of their cooperative.

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