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The Educo International Alliance

The Educo International Alliance (EIA) is a network of organizations that focuses on leadership development and character building for young people around the world. Programs and projects are enriched through direct and indirect experience with the wilderness as teacher and classroom. With talented and dedicated people leading our organizations and a proven track record, the Educo International Alliance is well positioned to solidify and expand our work.


Educo was born in Canada in 1969. The word educo is from the Latin root word for education, meaning, to lead or draw forth It describes our belief that education is a process of drawing forth the inherent qualities of character from our students. In 1988 Educo Colorado was formed. Over the next few years Educo Colorado conducted leadership programs with young people in the US, Brazil, South Africa, Botswana, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Australia, and France. Alumnae of these programs approached us to help establish Educo in their respective countries. In 1994, immediately after the election of Nelson Mandela, Educo Africa was incorporated. In quick succession, Educo programs were established in Brazil and Bulgaria. In 2003 the German NGO GFE Erlebnistage e.V. joined. In 2012 the Chinese NGO JUMP! Foundation joined.

Organizational Structure

In 1995 we recognized the need to formalize the relationship among Educo organizations in order to share resources, set high standards, and promote development internationally. Directors and board members from around the world gathered met for this purpose 4 times between 1995 and 2000. In March of 2002, we convened again to formalize an organizational structure and take the next steps in our development. It was agreed that the EIA will be governed by a board comprised of the Executive Directors and an elected representative from each Educo member organization. The governing board will hire and supervise a director to lead the activities of EIA.

Educo Programs Worldwide

Educo is incorporated and curently conducts programs in South Africa, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, and the US. Educo programs address the needs of adults as well as young people. These programs help participants learn from their experience, incorporating time and tools for personal observation and reflection. Activities such as backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, environmental education, journal work, and other self reflective exercises serve as vehicles for learning leadership and team skills. Educo teaches that each of us is a leader because each of us interacts with, and influences the people and world around us. We do not have the option to accept or reject the responsibilities of leadership in the interconnected world we have created together, each of us is a leaders, and Educo helps us to recognize our potential.





An Educo Organization:

  • Incorporates the overall mission of Educo and is free from any control or influence that would detract from this ability.

  • Runs programs which have:

     -   an emphasis on youth and experiential education
     -   transferable life skills content
     -   strict safety standards
     -   access for all levels of society
     -   activities appropriate to age and development
     -   inbuilt intention for follow-through with students
     -   clear evaluation procedures
     -   individual care and attention for students

  • Is a not for profit organization.

  • Is responsible for its own financial viability. 

  • Demonstrates effectiveness in financial, technical and managerial terms.

  • Promotes nonhierarchical/inclusive decision making processes.

  • Involves all generations, from young to old, in direction and planning.

  • Does not discriminate in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or culture.

  • Values, empowers and protects employee's well being.

  • Employs locally, seeks diversity at all levels and participates in staff exchanges with other Educo schools.

  • Offers ongoing staff development and training for its employees.

  • Incorporates organizational evaluation and peer review systems.

  • Has clear criteria for staff to serve as positive role models.

  • Is culturally relevant and socially responsible.

  • Practices and teaches an environmental ethic which values and protects the natural world.



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