07/19/2012 01:09 pm ET Updated Sep 18, 2012

Ecofund: Our Story

Co-written by Markus Faschina

Ecofund was born from the action of several real-life heroes of the environment: Augustin, Sidi, José and Tommy, people like you and me, acting with the means at hand to preserve ecosystems in their community -- and thus our planet!

We have met them and we believe in them. Thanks to their efforts, we can still hear birds singing in the spring, we can still encounter endangered species. It is precisely for them that we have created, a community of Nature's Champions.

It all started with Augustin, a 46-year-old businessman and father of three children. We first met him in 2005 in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. He came to us seeking help for the creation of a website which would better inform tourists on his actions for the protection of nature as well as showcase his project to build an eco-tourist camp.

Armed with the trust of the men and women of the rural community of Diembering in Casamance (Southern Senegal), and his own personal resources, Augustin was seeking additional funds to fence in the forest of his village, so as to protect the 4,840 square yards from real estate predation and other threats such as poaching or untimely woodcutting.

Did we want to help Augustin? Definitely! But how could we do so? And more importantly, how could we support him effectively and sustainably? That's when we imagined Ecofund, a web platform that would not only present Augustin's inspired project and introduce his environment to people, but also raise money online.

A few months later, Augustin has convinced 39 individual sponsors to contribute between five and 250 euros. Moreover, encourage by the Ecofund community, two corporates made significant donations. Thanks to these donations, Augustin was able to order a fence fabricated by a local enterprise specialized in wildlife reserve management to enclosure and protect the Ecoparc located in Diembering. He has also completed a mission of observation with a team of professional ornithologists, who, for the first time in 32 years, have identified five bird species particular to this forest and for now preserved.

Augustin would no doubt tell you he isn't doing anything special. But we think he is working every day for the protection of the environment. To us, he is one of the modern-day heroes, as is Sidi, fighting for the protection of migratory birds in his native "Banc d'Arguin" or Jose and Tommy, a father and his son who have devoted years to the preservation of endangered species of turtles and birds in Cape Verde.

There are so many other Champions, men and women, in Africa, and everywhere else, who deserve to be introduced to the world and encouraged.

What strikes us is that these people invest a lot of time (often years), skills, expertise and all of their energy to protect the nature around them. However, their financial resources alone are not sufficient to get a lasting and sustainable impact. On Ecofund, we invite our relatives, our friends and people from the most diverse backgrounds to participate in their funding preserving our planet is not an impossible task but a challenge within everyone's reach. That is what
we believe. It is this very spirit of positive action that we are trying to spread with Ecofund and the unique platform it provides.

Beyond raising money for projects, the reliability of which we guarantee, we also offer unparalleled access to a world of travel and knowledge through our Ecoblog. You will learn about the challenges and opportunities of the environmental protection there and why this is important for all of us.

Our Ecoforum offers a tool through which global citizens can exchange stories and ideas on how to protect our biodiversity. Ecoforum is a virtual meeting point for all those who don't wait for political decision makers to address the needs of environmental protection.

With Ecofund we have created a global community of green-minded people. Ecofund offers everyone the opportunity to preserve our ecosystems in a simple, transparent and concrete manner. Individuals from all over the world as well as artists, organizations and corporates have already joined us. What are you waiting for? It's time to act positively for our planet! Contact us and get involved!