How it all began
The GoEco volunteers' organization was established in 2005 by Jonathan Gilben and Jonathan Tal. They both hold University degrees in Environmental/Geography studies. Both have traveled extensively, participated in and created international ecological projects.
Based on their extensive experience, Gilben and Tal introduced the concept of volunteer tourism in Israel and created volunteers' projects locally for participating international volunteers. They successfully ran their first volunteer project at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Michmoret, on the Mediterranean Sea, during the summer of 2006.
GoEco has established dozens of ecological and humanitarian programs in cooperation with organizations both in the Arab and Jewish sectors in Israel. The organization offers an informed and vetted selection of projects to GoEco participants. Their target audience is the ecologically concerned and adventurous traveler who wants to explore a region firsthand and to get to know the local people, customs and eco-system through a vetted volunteer program.
GoEco organizes the logistical aspects of each program in Israel, including living conditions, subsistence, security, and work plan and leisure activities. GoEco ensures that each volunteer arrives prepared and ready to participate in a program that welcomes the volunteers' help and assistance.
GoEco arranges for hundreds of Israeli and international volunteers each year to participate in ecological and humanitarian programs initiated by its' partner organizations around the world. Through careful preliminary on-line interviewing, GoEco connects each volunteer with the most suitable program. GoEco selects the best available program around the world, updates the availability and timing of projects, validates the quality and reputation of the project, and assists the volunteer in preparing for the trip.
- Encourage ecological and volunteer tourism that promotes sustainable development
- Enable travelers to experience different and more rewarding kinds of tourism.
- Encourage travelers to volunteer for the benefit of others and thus to serve as a good-will ambassador to other countries in the world.
- Encourage travelers from all over the world to come to Israel for ecological and community-based programs, in both the Arab and Jewish sectors, and experience firsthand the unique cultural and natural diversity in this region.
- Support environmental and humanitarian programs that promote understanding and good will between ethnic societies in Israel.
- Conduct further research in the field of ecological tourism, such as the 'Ecological Footprint' as a tool for sustainable tourism development.
- Establish an in-depth and up-to-date data base of the relevant projects worldwide.
- Create a platform from which to explore the various organizations that support the environment and actively encourage volunteering.
Responsible Tourism Policy
GoEco exists to promote ecological and humanitarian programs to as wide an audience as possible. Responsible tourism is one of the key goals of the company and is achieved in the following manner:
- GoEco works with and promotes local programs to a wide audience.
- The number of volunteers is strictly controlled with the programs to minimise any environmental impact.
- GoEco prepares and manages the expectations of volunteers before they depart
- GoEco makes constant visits to the programs and volunteers to make sure both aspects run smoothly
- GoEco constantly evaluates volunteer programs based on in depth volunteer and organizational feedback
- We are members and work with local environmental and humanitarian bodies to help develop and promote important issues (Israel parks authority, Israel nature society).
- GoEco promotes environmental and responsible tourism in Israel a country only starting to become aware of such important issues.
- All volunteers are asked to take public transport to minimise pollution.
- Most employees of GoEco travel to work by non motorised or public transport.
- Continuously develop and promote responsible tourism locally and internationally.
GoEco Team Profile
M.A. - Management of Natural and Environmental Resources. University of Haifa, Israel.
Thesis: "Volunteer Tourism: A Case Study of Nature Conservation in Israel".
B.A. (Hon.) - Geography, Business and the Environment. University of Nottingham, England
Travel: South East Asia, Central America, North America, Middle East and Europe
Work and volunteer experience: Conservation volunteer projects in Mexico and Greece, Educator at the Council for Beautiful Israel (environmental NGO), research assistant with Biology Dept. at Haifa University, volunteer with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center.
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