For this installment of Nonprofit of the Month, we sat down with Indifly and talked about how they are using fly fishing to help impoverished communities. With projects in Guyana, French Polynesia, and Wyoming, Indifly’s reach is far and growing. Additionally, both of Lucy Kreutz’s films Jungle Fish and Kio Kio document Indifly’s operations in Guyana and Anaa. These locations are all unique and offer world-renowned fly fishing opportunities– continue reading to learn more about Indifly!
Flylords: If you were to give someone a brief summary of Indifly, what would you say?
Indifly: Indifly is a nonprofit organization that uses fly fishing as a tool for transforming the lives of indigenous peoples and protecting valued environments. We help create sustainable local economies that empower communities to conserve natural resources.
Flylords: How and why was Indifly started?
Indifly: Indifly was born out of a Costa Sunglasses project to help a village deep in the heart of the South American rainforest. This project and its success formed a natural roadmap to replicate the model in other locations around the world. The team that worked together on the Costa-led project believes in sustainable local economies that empower communities to conserve natural resources and a world in which indigenous peoples are empowered and inspired by business ownership and environmental stewardship. We knew we could add value to communities, but we needed a vehicle to do so. From this, we formed Indifly!
Flylords: Tell us about Indifly’s three pillars of sustainability—culture, economic, and environmental—and how they guide your campaigns?
Indifly: These pillars are critically important to the process of achieving our mission. Each is driven by a general philosophy – protect cultural heritage and empower communities (cultural), create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods (economic), and conserve resources through science-based management (environmental). If you’d like to know more about how we go about each pillar, you can find more information on the Indifly website.
Flylords: You guys have launched successful campaigns in Rewa Eco-Lodge (Guyana), Anaa Atoll (French Polynesia), and Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming)—care to tell us what goes into picking locations for new campaigns?
Indifly: We would love to empower every community with a need, but like most nonprofits, we are limited in capital resources (human and financial), so when we consider investing in a new project, we do so strategically. As you can imagine, a lot of things go into a decision to launch a new project. The Indifly pillars of sustainability help guide our decision-making process. This is a topic we take seriously and multiple factors are taken into consideration. Here are a few:
Indifly’s mission is most often accomplished through the development of community-owned fly fishing ecotourism operations. The first step is understanding if a project is something the community wants. We do not take a financial stake in operations—our role is to serve the communities—so it’s of importance that the community at large is behind the project.
Most of the locations we consider are subsistence fisheries, and we would never want to negatively impact the community’s ability to feed families. An important step in the decision-making process is establishing an ecological baseline by conducting scientific research to assess and quantify the status of local fisheries.
The destination: If successful, the community-owned lodges and guiding operations create environmentally friendly fly fishing destinations that quickly become part of any fly angler’s bucket list. The entire experience has to appeal to anglers.
There is much that goes into a decision as important and complex as this. If anyone would like to discuss this topic further, please contact Indifly.
Flylords: While on the topic, did any of those locations give you any unique challenges? How did the local communities respond to ‘foreigners’ (not sure that is the right word) presenting new approaches to their livelihoods?
Indifly: Each project creates many unique challenges across multiple spectrums – expected and unexpected. One recurring challenge is convincing communities that people will pay to come, catch a fish, and let it go!
Flylords: What is it like being on-location for a campaign?
Indifly: It’s always an honor to visit a project or potential project! Everyone involved in our organization is driven by a set of values, and we find ourselves learning as much, if not more, from our local partners as they do from us. Truly, each visit is an amazing experience on multiple levels.
Flylords: Are Rewa Eco-Lodge, Anaa Atoll, or Wind River Indian Reservation accepting anglers yet? They all appear to be dream fly fishing destinations!
Indifly: Yes! We encourage everyone to visit these destinations. Not only is the fishing unique, but the opportunity to immerse in these cultures is an experience you will not forget. If you’re interested in visiting one of these locations please fill out the booking inquiry form on our website or shoot us a note so we can provide additional information.
Flylords: How is Indifly supported? How important are your partners?
Indifly: Indifly carries out its mission through the passion, generosity and support of individuals, purpose-driven companies, and foundations. We have amazing partners and simply put, Indifly could not transform livelihoods, economies, resources, etc. without this support.
Flylords: How can everyday fly fishermen help Indifly?
Indifly: Awareness and financial support!
We are really excited to soon be launching a vehicle which will provide people with the opportunity to support Indifly by making a small monthly recurring donation. Being part of this new community will come with some benefits including exclusive content, entry into a monthly giveaway (we have lined up some amazing packages), and an annual giveaway (think a trip or time with a well-known guide). Stay tuned!
In the meantime, you can make a donation on the Indifly website. Indifly is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law and greatly appreciated! If you prefer to contribute by check, our mailing address is PO Box 4460, Saint Paul, MN 55104. We will be sure to acknowledge your donation upon receipt.