Iracambi’s mission is to work with the community to make the conservation of the Atlantic Rainforest more attractive than its destruction. They are located in the Serra do Brigadeiro, in the highly endangered Atlantic Forest area of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Their vision is to see thriving communities living sustainably in a thriving landscape, and everything that they do is directed towards maintaining a healthy balance between the needs of their forest environment and the people who live in it. The NGO Amigos de Iracambi spearheads the work in managing natural resources, developing sustainable communities and researching ecosystems.
TIE’s campaign for Iracambi in 2009 brought Tiffany Sherrington from Mindshare London. Iracambi needed help in telling its story and inspiring people to work with, and support the organization, so Tiffany spent a month with the NGO in the middle of the Atlantic Forest helping them strengthen their brand, renewing their focus, opening their channels of internal communication and delivering them an easy implementable brand and communications strategy.
In November 2012 Iracambi received TIE’s Elizabeth Barr, who immediately following her TIE placement became Finance Director at BBH New York. She was tasked with helping the NGO find assured income streams and strengthening their long-term financial sustainability so that they can continue to preserve the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. The campaign developed after the month aimed to show them how they could work with corporate partners and how to perfect their Monkeyspace purchase scheme, making it more attractive to potential partners.
During the month Elizabeth spent at Iracambi, they were able to launch a new website, identify new potential income streams, partner up with the local chamber of commerce and the local clothing industry to develop a new line of t-shirts with environmental motifs – to raise environmental awareness and generate more income for Iracambi. As well, they are also in the process of setting up an ecotourism business to take advantage of the spare capacity at the research centre and to provide further income.
In October 2015, we had Jen Vladmirsky, from Wieden+Kennedy NY, working with Iracambi to develop a strategy for Iracambi’s Science Education program.
This program was originally funded by the 100k Strong in the America program and it combined national and international exchanges, with research, science education and cross-cultural experiences. As the cycle of funding was over, Jen developed the strategy to help Iracambi find new sponsors for the program.
Iracambi’s main source of income to support its important research and conservation work is their volunteer program. Through that, an average of eighty to a hundred international students come to Iracambi every year, lending their skills and passion to work in their program areas of ecological restoration and community education, as well as many of the other tasks involved in running a non profit: marketing, fundraising, filming, photography, monitoring forests, flora and fauna, teaching English in the local schools, site maintenance, graphic design, clearing forest trails, collecting data for the GIS, helping catalogue medicinal plants, the list is endless.
Iracambi volunteers were attracted mainly through word of mouth and the use of online platforms that connect volunteers with projects. That had worked well – everyone who volunteered at Iracambi left deeply impacted by their experiences, and they were happy to share the word with their networks, but this could be leveraged further, and new approaches needed to be undertaken.
Natalie Galbraith spent a month working with Iracambi to revamp their volunteer program’s communications strategy, taking it to the next level and attracting more attention, more people and more funding to support the important work performed by the organisation. You can learn more about her here.