Eco Guerrilla Treks – A new chapter in Aceh’s tourism
Life after the Aceh peace agreement can be tough for many former GAM combatants who struggle to adjust to life after combat.
But a unique eco tourism program named eco guerrilla treks/eko wisata gerilya by Aceh Explorer aims to provides a job opportunity for former GAM combatants that will make that transition easier.
Since most of these former combatans have been living in the jungle for years under mostly extreme conditions, they would – in our mind – be the perfect jungle trek tour guides. They practically know every trail there is in the area where they were once active as combatants. Furthermore, they possess many of the qualities we are looking for in a prospect jungle trek guide, such as leadership, discipline, teamwork and jungle survival skills.
Also to be noted is that by giving former guerrillas a chance to integrate themselves back into society by working , Aceh Explorer is speeding up the healing process. In 2007, we started with 2 jungle guides. Now, we have about 50, incl. 5 women.
Eco guerrilla tourism is unique for Indonesia because its only in Aceh. Similar programs have been started in El Salvador in 2009 and Nepal in 2012, where former guerrillas have opened up jungle/ mountain trails, using our program as example.