THE CALL TO ACTION

In Shuar language, YAKUM means “Howler Monkey”, the species with the loudest call in the animal kingdom – the call to action.

At this critical time in the history of the climate, YAKUM sets out to highlight the urgency of acting on deforestation to evade climate change, and change the way conservation works. Indigenous people in many cases do conservation better than national park systems as part of their way of life, buffering the climate – we are committed to get more recognition and support for them from the global community as well as supporting them ourselves.

Our work began when Nick came to live in Ecuador in 2017 to learn about local uses and properties of Amazonian plants, and why deforestation is occurring here. Since then YAKUM has built momentum and a dedicated community around the work. We live in the communities during projects, spend time with and listen to our partners, and all team, friends and family come and work in tree nurseries and field projects with us.

PEOPLE

THE CALL TO ACTION

In Shuar language, YAKUM means “Howler Monkey”, the species with the loudest call in the animal kingdom – the call to action.
At this critical time in the history of the climate, YAKUM sets out to highlight the urgency of acting on deforestation to evade climate change, and change the way conservation works. Indigenous people in many cases do conservation better than national park systems as part of their way of life, buffering the climate – we are committed to get more recognition and support for them from the global community as well as supporting them ourselves.
Our work began when Nick came to live in Ecuador in 2017 to learn about local uses and properties of Amazonian plants, and why deforestation is occurring here. Since then YAKUM has built momentum and a dedicated community around the work. We live in the communities during projects, spend time with and listen to our partners, and all team, friends and family come and work in tree nurseries and field projects with us.

PEOPLE

Nick Ovenden

Nick Ovenden

Core Team - Executive Director
Nick, a biologist and educator, left his job in 2017 to build the foundations of YAKUM through spending many months with indigenous communities, learning about Amazonian plants that would serve to regenerate forests and revitalise food sovereignt

Nick Ovenden

Mike McColm

Mike McColm

Core Team - Development Director
Mike has catalysed forestry programs resulting in planting of 6 million trees. He is supporting Yakum's organizational structure,developing new partnerships,and field programs.He provides seeds and plants to projects from his own reforestation.

Mike McColm

Lexie Gropper

Lexie Gropper

Core Team - Regeneration Specialist
Lexie is a biologist and has lived in Amazonian Ecuador for 6 years, in a 10-hectare reforested oasis called Amisacho. She is deepening YAKUM´s food forest work through soil regeneration & food processing techniques.

Lexie Gropper

Arley Payaguaje

Arley Payaguaje

Core Team - Coordinator, Technician
Arley is a Siekopai agronomist and has encyclopedic knowledge of plants and nursery management. He coordinates several YAKUM projects in Sucumbios province, and is inspiring Siekopai youth to value their culture.

Arley Payaguaje

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Core Team - Accounting/Operations
Maria Fernanda is a CPA-registered Public Accountant, was born in Tena where YAKUM is based and has worked with charities for many years. She manages YAKUM´s accounts, coordinates purchasing and operations.

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Diana Quilumba

Diana Quilumba

Core Team - Mapping Specialist
Diana graduated in Geosciences Engineering at IKIAM University in Tena, & specializes in GIS & remote sensing (satellite imagery and geographical data analysis). She uses this knowledge to support the protection of indigenous territories

Diana Quilumba

Eliana Romo

Eliana Romo

Core Team - Communications
Eliana is a graphic designer from Quito, the capital of Ecuador and has been running YAKUM´s social media since the start of 2020. She is building a network of young indigenous communicators to strengthen YAKUM´s communications.

Eliana Romo

Maximo Aguinda

Maximo Aguinda

Core Team - Coordinator, Technician
Max is a Kichwa reforestation technician who has been working in reforestation all over Ecuador including Galapagos since he was 18 years old. He is building capacity within the communities we work with to deepen and expand our team.

Maximo Aguinda

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Trustee - Treasurer
Alex, as Treasurer, brings a wealth of experience in business and financial stewardship to the board. He has held numerous commercial leadership roles in global organisations, most recently as Head of Asia for Superdry PLC.

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Georgie White

Georgie White

Trustee - Secretary
Georgie applies her experience as Head of Partnerships at the Whitley Fund for Nature, and her passion for and studies in Ecology and Conservation, to direct YAKUM´s governance, pipeline and performance.

Georgie White

Hamza Aynashe

Hamza Aynashe

Trustee - Chair
Hamza brings years of international business and legal experience to the YAKUM board, and applies his Masters in Corporate Law and Governance as Chair of YAKUM.

Hamza Aynashe

Marcia Yumbo

Marcia Yumbo

Trustee - Chair
Marcia is a strong and inspiring leader in her community and supports YAKUM´s work both in Sachawaysa and further afield, promoting reforestation and working with women.

Marcia Yumbo

Lino Chongo

Lino Chongo

Community Support Kichwa Sachawaysa
Lino is a guayusa tea farm technician and coordinates regional commerce and production of guayusa tea in Cotundo. He´s really interested in reforestation in the whole Cotundo and organises work mingas in Sachawaysa.

Lino Chongo

Nick Ovenden

Nick Ovenden

Core Team - Executive Director
Nick, a biologist and educator, left his job in 2017 to build the foundations of YAKUM through spending many months with indigenous communities, learning about Amazonian plants that would serve to regenerate forests and revitalise food sovereignt

Nick Ovenden

Mike McColm

Mike McColm

Core Team - Development Director
Mike has catalysed forestry programs resulting in planting of 6 million trees. He is supporting Yakum's organizational structure,developing new partnerships,and field programs.He provides seeds and plants to projects from his own reforestation.

Mike McColm

Lexie Gropper

Lexie Gropper

Core Team - Regeneration Specialist
Lexie is a biologist and has lived in Amazonian Ecuador for 6 years, in a 10-hectare reforested oasis called Amisacho. She is deepening YAKUM´s food forest work through soil regeneration & food processing techniques.

Lexie Gropper

Arley Payaguaje

Arley Payaguaje

Core Team - Coordinator, Technician
Arley is a Siekopai agronomist and has encyclopedic knowledge of plants and nursery management. He coordinates several YAKUM projects in Sucumbios province, and is inspiring Siekopai youth to value their culture.

Arley Payaguaje

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Core Team - Accounting/Operations
Maria Fernanda is a CPA-registered Public Accountant, was born in Tena where YAKUM is based and has worked with charities for many years. She manages YAKUM´s accounts, coordinates purchasing and operations.

Maria Fernanda Narvaez

Diana Quilumba

Diana Quilumba

Core Team - Mapping Specialist
Diana graduated in Geosciences Engineering at IKIAM University in Tena, & specializes in GIS & remote sensing (satellite imagery and geographical data analysis). She uses this knowledge to support the protection of indigenous territories

Diana Quilumba

Eliana Romo

Eliana Romo

Core Team - Communications
Eliana is a graphic designer from Quito, the capital of Ecuador and has been running YAKUM´s social media since the start of 2020. She is building a network of young indigenous communicators to strengthen YAKUM´s communications.

Eliana Romo

Maximo Aguinda

Maximo Aguinda

Core Team - Coordinator, Technician
Max is a Kichwa reforestation technician who has been working in reforestation all over Ecuador including Galapagos since he was 18 years old. He is building capacity within the communities we work with to deepen and expand our team.

Maximo Aguinda

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Trustee - Treasurer
Alex, as Treasurer, brings a wealth of experience in business and financial stewardship to the board. He has held numerous commercial leadership roles in global organisations, most recently as Head of Asia for Superdry PLC.

Alex McFarlane-Watts

Georgie White

Georgie White

Trustee - Secretary
Georgie applies her experience as Head of Partnerships at the Whitley Fund for Nature, and her passion for and studies in Ecology and Conservation, to direct YAKUM´s governance, pipeline and performance.

Georgie White

Hamza Aynashe

Hamza Aynashe

Trustee - Chair
Hamza brings years of international business and legal experience to the YAKUM board, and applies his Masters in Corporate Law and Governance as Chair of YAKUM.

Hamza Aynashe

Marcia Yumbo

Marcia Yumbo

Trustee - Chair
Marcia is a strong and inspiring leader in her community and supports YAKUM´s work both in Sachawaysa and further afield, promoting reforestation and working with women.

Marcia Yumbo

Lino Chongo

Lino Chongo

Community Support Kichwa Sachawaysa
Lino is a guayusa tea farm technician and coordinates regional commerce and production of guayusa tea in Cotundo. He´s really interested in reforestation in the whole Cotundo and organises work mingas in Sachawaysa.

Lino Chongo