ISV Wins “Outstanding Volunteer Project” at WYSTC 2011

by Narelle Webber on Thursday, 6 October 2011

WYSTC 2011 Barcelona

ISV won the “Outstanding Volunteer Project” at the 2011 Annual Travel Awards held at the World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) during September in Barcelona, Spain. This annual conference brings together 800 delegates representing 450 organizations from 80 countries. ISV was one of many volunteer organizations to submit an entry highlighting their most “outstanding volunteer project”.

ISV is excited to have the excellence of our program recognized.

Each year, ISV operates over 100 projects globally so it was difficult to choose just one for this purpose. In the end, ISV has chosen a project in Costa Rica that exemplifies our philosophy of best practices in community-driven projects that empower local communities, build capacity and contribute to sustainable development in a way that greatly benefits all stakeholders.


ISV wins award at WYSTC 2011

Located in a rich and fragile ecosystem in the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, ISV has developed a longstanding relationship built on trust and professionalism, with the San Juanillo Fishermen’s Association (ASOPESJU). ISV has worked closely with the community since 2007. During this time ISV has provided:

  • Volunteer Assistance
    Since 2008, five ISV groups have contributed about 4,000 hours towards the development of community infrastructure and waste management facilities.
  • Economic support
    ASOPESJU and the families who host ISV volunteers and staff receive funds to cover all expenses for food, lodging, administration and materials to run the projects. ISV has also donated more than $11,000 to support special initiatives of the association related to capacity building and sustainability.
  • Institutional support
    ISV assists the fishermen’s association with technical issues, organization and capacity building to help the community achieve long-term goals, improve personal development and identify local leaders with the goal of fostering institutional independence and autonomy.
  • Environmental support
    San Juanillo fishermen use the nearby waters of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge for fishing, which includes the second most important nesting grounds for olive ridley sea turtles in the world: over 300,000 turtles nest here annually. By working with the ASOPESJU, we are also helping to protect sea turtles.
Fishing in San Juanillo

A Fisherman in San Juanillo

A snapshot of the “big picture” story about sustainable development and the San Juanillo community is this: Costa Rica’s artisanal fishermen are in danger of extinction; the depletion of marine resources, non-existent government support, and lack of local training are felt by coastal communities across the country. We are working closely with Association with an overall aim to create a sustainable fishing area, whereby protecting their future and helping to preserve the marine resources.

ISV is proud of the work that we have accomplished in this community with the help of our volunteers and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our partners, ASOPESJU and the host families from San Juanillo. While it is wonderful to be recognized for such initiatives, the real celebration will come when the goal is realized and the San Juanillo Sustainable Fishing Area is approved and functioning!

To join any of ISV’s amazing volunteer projects across our many unique countries, please visit and submit your application today.

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