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.


Related projects

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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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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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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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AFER homlunch- Moroccan Aubergine Salad Recipe

AFER homlunch works to empower rural women in Meknes, Morocco by helping women gain access to the formal job market. Planeterra provided the seed funding for the first hospitality program run by local partner AFER (Association Des Femmes et Enfants Ruraux). Planeterra helped AFER develop the training program, provided funding for kitchen and dining renovations as well as funding to outfit the administrative space.

More than 3,000 travellers visit the rural village of M’Haya for the AFER homlunch, and receive a warm welcome from a group of five women who serve up a delicious traditional lunch. They were graciouos to share the recipe for their delicious Zaalouk, a moroccan aubergine salad!

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From the Field – The Lusumpuko Women’s Club


The 20 women of the Lusumpuko Women’s Club chose this name with the hope that they would be able to lift themselves and their communities out of the harsh realities brought on by the economic situation in Zimbabwe. The ladies founded the chicken rearing co-operative as a way to create income for their households, and to help and inspire other, younger ladies to do the same.

How It Started

“It’s our dream to help more women in our community,”

says Lusumpuko president Linda Makarutse, and Merlyn Mpofu, Lusumpuko’s secretary, chimes in:

“The problem now is some of our age group and youth, they are not educated enough to get a job in the tourism industry. There is a need for hospitality training classes, and opportunities for women and youth here in Victoria Falls.”

With this in mind, Planeterra began supporting the co-operative in 2018, and the ladies of Lusumpuko got to receive basic business training. The co-operative also received a grant to help kick-start a meal service in the tourist town of Victoria Falls. This investment helped them purchase much-needed catering equipment, such as pots, a gas cooker, and serving utensils. They also got the chance to empower a different women’s co-operative by purchasing uniforms made from locally sourced chitenge fabric. The launch of their new catering business helped Lusumpuko increase their combined income of about $600 USD to more than four times as much per month, thus significantly improving their quality of life and enabling them to provide for their children while supporting other members of the community.

The meal service is a hearty buffet of traditional Zimbabwean food, as well as an enjoyable experience observing the preparation by the co-operative members. Travellers going through Victoria Falls have the opportunity to enjoy an array of home-cooked Zimbabwean delicacies. This has not only been financially beneficial for the ladies, but emotionally fulfilling for them as well. Most of the ladies will admit to finding a sense of purpose and validation as they can now depend on themselves to take care of their households.

Members of the co-operative used to do odd jobs in the community, like selling floor polish, providing cleaning services, or selling crafts across the border into Zambia or Botswana. Now, they have weekly work using their skills, practicing English, and interacting with international travellers, while many have dreams to one day expand the co-operative to provide other tourism services, like transport.

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First G Adventures travellers visit Native Grill


It’s hard to miss the flags and signs of the Native Grill, a family-owned business along Route 89, nestled on Navajo Nation’s western side. It’s lunchtime on a Tuesday and the food truck, with the caption “Navajo Soul Food,” is busy with customers wanting to taste the authentic Navajo cuisine of frybread taco, dumpling stew and grilled local lamb. The kitchen is busy, as the family’s grandmother cooks frybreads for the pending G Adventures group of 12 who are about to arrive.

Her daughter Alfreida, who’s from the area, started the family food truck in 2013 by attending the Tuba City Fair, and operated in that town until a Burger King opened and forced them out some time later. Undeterred, Alfreida and her family carried on.

“There were days where we made no sales, but we stuck it out,” says Alfreida. “I’d be up prepping at 4:30 in the morning, but as time went along I figured things out.” Eventually, she gained her business license in 2016 and set up just south of the town of Cameron.

This area of Navajo Nation is in particular need of entrepreneurs like Alfreida, as it was under the Bennett Freeze between 1966 and 2009, which outlawed any infrastructure development. This meant houses couldn’t be built, water and gas lines couldn’t be laid, and roads couldn’t be mended, to name just a few of the ways the area’s development was stifled. Still today, it’s estimated that almost 60% of houses in the area do not have electricity, and the majority do not have potable water.

Improvements To The Native Grill

Planeterra partnered with Indigenous business incubator DineHozho, who have helped oversee a grant earmarked for improvements to the Native Grill. Today’s visitors are enjoying new picnic tables, a hand-washing station, and a brand new shade structure which will be especially handy during the hot desert summers. Native Grill’s operations have also been assisted by upgrades to their solar and generator systems.

As the group of G Adventures travellers arrive, they line up at the window to confirm their order for Navajo Tacos, and decide which toppings they’d like on their frybread, as three generations of Alfreida’s family work together in unison in the kitchen.

It may be these four running the Native Grill this afternoon, but to them, the entire community is considered family, and they assist as many people as they can.

“We do what we can at a local level to help the elderly, and during Christmas and Thanksgiving we do turkey baskets and deliver it to people that live off the main road like 15-20 miles away, all the way at the base of the mountain,” explains Alfreida.

With more income from regular G Adventures groups (somewhere between 15-24 customers will be visiting twice a week during the summer months), Native Grill will be able to assist the community even more, not to mention grow the business. Although the food is delicious and the group enjoys their meal under the shade, the highlight of the afternoon is the family coming out to introduce themselves to the travellers, who eagerly ask questions in an effort to learn more about what it’s like to live on Navajo Nation. In the end, this is so much more of a meal stop – it’s an opportunity to learn about the resilience and entrepreneurship of the Diné (more commonly known as the Navajo) and how travellers should make an effort to stop at the small businesses that dot the roadsides if they’d like to learn more and give back to this community.

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Beit Khayrat Souf is Changing Lives


Tucked in the hills of Jerash, Jordan is a place called Beit Khayrat Souf. Inside this old home is a cafe run completely by women. The cafe was opened three years ago by a local women’s association aiming to empower women in the community with livelihood opportunities. The cafe serves up delicious Jordanian food and provides cooking classes to travellers. G Adventures travellers on the National Geographic Journey through Jordan get to enjoy a cooking class at Beit Khayrat Souf as of 2019, supporting more employment opportunities for women.

More than a cafe, Beith Khayrat Souf was built on the belief that women have the right to be equal in society. Jameel, a founding member of the association, says “Every woman should have this confidence to go out and start working, and to share the workplace equally with men.” She continues, “It’s wrong to think that a woman should stay at home, because it’s not just about them, it’s about their children too. In order to build a better future for the next generation, we need women to be successful. Half our community is women, without them, the future will not be good.”

The cafe employs 10 women, but they engage women who are unable to work outside the home with pickling and jamming activities as well. Jameel plays a key role in training other women. “In the last few years I have gone out to women around Jordan to show them how I make the pickles and teach them about the project. I have trained many women. In Souf alone there are 11 women making pickles from home everyday.” Jameel is proud that her trainings allow women to earn an income, but even more, it is changing their lives.

As the cafe and cooking class continues to grow, Jameel hopes to see more women engaged in the project and benefitting from the livelihood opportunities it brings. “It’s not just about this place,” says Jameel, recognizing the economic benefit that this cafe has on local farmers, drivers, and other community members connected to their enterprise.

Reflecting on her time at the cafe, Jameel say “lots of good things happened after joining Beit Khayrat Souf. I am a better, stronger person. Before this, I was not confident enough to go teach others. Now I have different contacts even outside of Jordan. This has made me a more confident person.” Jameel sees herself as “an ambassador for Jordan”. She wants to show travellers a positive side of their culture, and especially to change the perception that travellers have about women in the Middle East. “I see many women whose lives are totally changed. We’re happy to see women participate by smiling as they start working to create a better life,” says Jameel.

Besma, who was sitting across the table, is a perfect example of the impact that this project is having on the community. “Before Beit Khayrat Souf I never went outside my home,” Besma reveals. “I would have never sat at a table with a man, talking, like I am now. These women have changed my life.”

Jameel concludes, “Before Beith Khayrat Souf this village was not known for anything. Today the local women manage this successful enterprise that is known internationally. We did this by ourselves.”

Planeterra and G Adventures proudly support Beit Khayrat Souf by sending more travellers to their cafe.

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From the Field: Dream Kitchen in Bali

Yayasan Bhakti Senang Hati or “Senang Hati” is a foundation run by local people in Ubud, Indonesia who are living with long-term disabilities. On an island prospering from tourism, it is di cult to nd work if you have accessibility challenges. Senang Hati wanted to create a dream restaurant, a place where all people could comfortably work, learn, and host international travellers.

With Planeterra’s support, we worked with Senang Hati to bring their “Dream Restaurant Project” to life. This project received a grant of over $25,000 CAD to help members (most living with long-term disabilities) build human capital, renovate, and improve the accessibility of the restaurant facilities, and increase the number of locals employed through the Senang Hati Foundation. With Planeterra’s support, 10 people are now fully employed as restaurant sta with 20 students studying and training in hospitality. Students are also provided room and board through Senang Hati.

Since our partnership began, Senang Hati has seen an increase of 80% in their customer base through G Adventures travellers visiting the restaurant, and a 30% increase in other tourism programs such as their local tricycle tours, the Happy Hearts tour, and additional income coming from the sales of local arts products and souvenirs produced by additional members.

This article was written by Planeterra’s South East Asia field manager, Panot Pakongsup.

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