The day-to-day work of the IAFN consists of facilitating communication between partners around the world, sharing their stories and successes, coordinating international cooperation efforts between members, like the Rich Forest Initiative, and carrying out projects of interest to our partners and the general public. This work is done by the IAFN secretariat from our office in San José, Costa Rica.

Who is the Secretariat?

Isabel MacdonaldIsabel Macdonald, Office Manager
Born in Haiti and having lived in Martinique, Honduras and Nicaragua as a child and teenager, Costa Rica became Isabel´s home 27 years ago. Exposed to the love of trees by her father, her first involvement with conservation was organizing two reforestation brigades with volunteers from the United States to Leon, Nicaragua in the mid 80s. Soon after obtaining a degree in Latin American studies, Isabel served as Director of the Costa Rican Federation of Environmental Groups (FECON) for 7 years, as well as local coordinator for Lighthawk, a program that offered aerial monitoring to environmental and government ministries in Central America. A transition into human rights and peace work was offered at the San José Quaker Peace Center, where she became coordinator for 5 years and where she currently participates as a member. As the Secretariat grows and assumes more responsibility with its partners and continues to advance analog forestry to a broader audience, Isabel is supporting IAFN´s administrative and financial obligations in order to ensure our networks sustainability.
Foto Lubica BogantesLubica Bogantes, Coordinator for Lobby & Advocacy,
IAFN-Global Alliance fro Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) program

Born in Slovakia, Lubica has always had a strong passion for traveling and exploring new cultures and natural landscapes through her studies and work. After gaining a Law Degree in Czech Republic, she moved to Germany and Switzerland to support international NGOs, such as the World Future Council in sustainable development projects and promotion of environmental policies for future generations.

This experience opened her heart for forest protection and restoration. A desire to get a deeper grassroot experience took her to Costa Rica, a country praised for its biodiversity conservation, where Lubica shared her legal and project management skills with the National Agroforesty Union for 2 years.

After completing the volunteer service sponsored by the German Ministry, Lubica moved to People in Need's Regional Office in San José to manage human rights and civil society empowerment projects in Central America.

Currently, Lubica is coordinating Lobby and Advocacy at the IAFN, as part of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action. Her vision is to show that forest restoration and analog forestry are successful and sustainable only when women play a central role and their rights are respected.
Lisa-MarleneLisa-Marlene Kohn, Volunteer
Lisa-Marlene is our new volunteer from Germany sponsored by the german organisation ProRegenwald, in cooperation with Weltwärts. The program allows young people to spend a year in Costa Rica and work there in projects with an environmental focus. In Germany Lisa-Marlene already successfully finished the university and got her Bachelor diploma in Media and Education Management. Back in her school days at an agricultural school she was already committed to environmental projects. She did her compulsory internship at WWF Germany and was responsible for communication with partners, PR and social media. So she's always had a heart for the environment. Now she will spend 6 months in Costa Rica helping to strenghten the work of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action program (GAGGA) and IAFN in the field of communication and social media work.
Foto Paulina Chaverri para sitio RIFASarah Vohland, Volunteer

Sarah, 19 years old and from Germany arrived in Costa Rica at the end of January for a year with the organization AFS within the program “Weltwaerts”. Before joining IAFN in September, Sarah was working in an animal shelter. She will be working in the office of the Secretariat until the end of November.

Since her parents are scientists, she has been in contact with environmental issues since a child and her travels have helped her stay interested in nature. She lived in New Zealand for three months in 2014, last year she finished high school and since then has worked and traveled before arriving in Costa Rica.

What is the Secretariat working on right now?

The secretariat has a number of special projects that we coordinate in concert with our partners. These ongoing projects contribute to the spreading of the Analog Forestry methodology, and in a wider sense to the revitalization of rural communities through alternative income-generating activities. The secretariat has coordinated the publication of a number of publications related to the practice of Analog Forestry. These include the Field Guide for Analog Forestry and the Practitioner’s Guide to Analog Forestry. In addition, we have a wide array of material gathered over the years from our partners that we are working to make freely available to aid AF efforts worldwide. Our certification projects involve the promotion of Forest Garden Products, a ‘beyond-organic’ certification whose members pledge to not only produce without harmful chemical inputs, but also to conserve and increase biodiversity in their operations. We have also become closely involved with Participatory Guarantee Systems, which are efforts to make the certification process more democratic, enforced by the farmers themselves. A key priority of the secretariat is to manage and share information between our members, and to make this information openly accessible. To that end, we have been compiling a database of plants used by Analog Forestry practitioners and their use in AF systems in various bioregions. This database is under construction and should be available by the end of 2013. See here for a list of other useful databases. The Secretariat also manages the regular communications that the IAFN sends to its members and the public, such as our regular bulletin, Analog Forests (issues available on our Publications page), and our Facebook page, among others.