The Hummingfish Foundation (THF) is a Hong Kong registered charitable organization since May 2010, with a mandate to protect the earth’s unspoiled natural environments by adding value to nature itself.
The earth’s natural environments are at risk and humanity’s lust for natural resources has driven biodiversity to the brink. Poverty is one of the most destructive forces against nature, especially in developing countries. When forced to choose between good environmental practices and survival, people will always choose the latter. THF believes that through sustainable community-based nature tourism (diving, birding, trekking, etc.) and the support of naturally sustainable green products, we can add economic value to UNSPOILED nature.
Since 2010, THF has helped change the lives of many people who once lived without hope in a slowly deteriorating landscape and poverty. Through initiatives such as the Ai-Funan all natural hand-made soap (http://hummingfish.org/projects-timor-leste/soap-making-coop-in-timor-leste/) and Maubere Mountain Coffee projects (http://hummingfish.org/projects/timor-leste-fair-trade-coffee-project/), THF has helped communities develop production methods which ensure a high quality product is being consistently produced, worked closely with the communities to develop compelling brands which have enticee consumers around the world and finally, THF and its dedicated team has created relationships for our brands with some of the world’s most innovative global companies, such as Cathay Pacific Airlines, Agnes b and Homegrown Foods. When THF initiatives are successful, we create a win-win-win scenario. The communities win from the sale of their successful green products. The customers win by consuming healthy, sustainable and meaningful products and finally, the ecosystem wins because it has become the communities most valuable asset.
A dollar earned by Green Entrepreneurs is a dollar of value added to the ecosystem in which they live and to further support and encourage the fragile communities we work with, 100% of profits of all product sales go back to the communities that produce them. This business model has not only helped the communities and added more value to their ecosystems, it has also proven to be a strong incentive for our customers. Individuals and corporations know that with each purchase, they are not only getting a world-class product, but are also putting money directly into the pockets of the people who need it.
The THF model has shown impacts beyond our initial projections and as our products have become well known, many communities in Timor-Leste and around the world have reached out to THF for help. People in developing countries are eager to find high-value green solutions if they can and THF stands ready to help them.
Daniel J. Groshong
Founder and CEO
The Hummingfish Foundation
The Hummingfish Foundation has seen how compelling photographic imagery, well presented, can have a powerful effect on potential nature-loving tourists. Using strong visuals is the single best way to brand and promote community-based heritage and nature tourism. Yet, despite this fact, most developing nations have little or no photographic archive with which to promote themselves.
The Hummingfish Foundation is committed to helping compile a database of high-end photographic imagery of a community-based ecotourism (CBET) destination’s heritage and nature tourism assets, archiving those images into a readily accessible photographic database, and then helping them to use that resource to educate potential heritage and nature-loving tourists about the beauty of that destination.
The Hummingfish Foundation has direct experience in doing this. Daniel J. Groshong, the founder of The Hummingfish Foundation, worked on a project starting in 2003 to help promote Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest nation. With a USAID grant of nearly US$90,000 and boundless personal commitment and perseverance, Groshong conceived and completed a project to undertake extensive photography of the country’s landscape, nature, and culture, thereby creating a photographic archive, now housed in Timor-Leste (and online using Photoshelter).
The photographic archive created during the project, housing some 700 rolls of film and 10,000 digital images, is now used for the ongoing promotion of Timor-Leste and has led to the publication of the first ever “coffee table” book on Timor, Timor-Leste Land of Discovery, depicting Timor’s landscape, culture, and underwater wonders.
Over the years, the imagery from Timor-Leste Land of Discovery has helped to portray Timor-Leste in a positive light around the world and has given the Timorese people a valuable resource through which to promote their tourism industry.
Groshong’s branding and promotional efforts have been of such value to Timor-Leste that he was contracted by the government of Timor-Leste to produce all of their promotional materials for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the first ever World Expo participation of independent Timor-Leste. Although it is impossible to correlate directly cause and effect, Timor-Leste had its best ever year for tourism in 2009: EcoDiscovery Tours, a locally owned and operated company, reported a 200% increase in business compared to the previous year. Dive Timor Lorosae, Timor’s largest dive operator, has also reported a significant and ongoing increase in business.
The most critical thing that The Hummingfish Foundation can do with a project is assist a local community in branding and promoting a sustainable nature-based tourism asset, thereby adding value to unspoiled nature itself. This gives local people the economic incentives to protect that natural environment, or, as we like to call it, “adding value to nature.”
To learn more about community-based ecotoursim, please visit our “What is CBET” page.