Wain Collen, M.Sc.

Advisory Board | Latin American Liaison | Social & Environmental Entrepreneurship

Wain is a native of South Africa who currently resides in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. He has worked for over a decade in the non-profit sector in Ecuador. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Fundación Aliados (Aliados), formed in 2018 after a merger between Fundación Runa and PlanJunto Ltda.

Aliados offers a new way of creating sustainable community businesses in the Andes and the Amazon and connects them to markets across the globe. Prior to Aliados, Wain founded and led PlanJunto, an Ecuadorian consulting organization, building community enterprise in the Amazon.

He led PlanJunto through its pilot and product validation phase, overseeing strategic development, human and financial resources, and stakeholder engagement, eventually merging with the Runa Foundation. He is a sustainability expert, social and environmental entrepreneur who uses his skills and experiences to support forest dwelling communities as they engage with change and markets by building institutional platforms for cooperation, sustainability, learning, and innovation.

Between 2012 and 2016, he served the United Nations Development Program as an environmental and forest carbon consultant compiling eight country reports on the state of sustainable development in the Amazon basin region and developed a policy brief. He has also served as a participatory development expert for the Global Environment Facility and UNDP Ecuador on a project called, “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Biodiversity by Strengthening Multiple-use and Landscape Management of Forests of High Conservation Value in the Ecuadorian Amazon.”

Wain earned his M.Sc. in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University and has worked over a ten-year period developing community enterprise projects in tropical forests. Previously, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa in Commerce, Business Administration, and Management.

He has a broad range of expertise in common-pool resource management, community-based natural resource management (CBNRM); multi-actor collaboration; institutional economics and institutional development, strategic management; negotiation and conflict management, and strategic design for sustainability.