Update from the field – Kaxuyana host Indigenous Women conference and another step towards a more equitable and sustainable development strategy for the entire region.

Dear all,

I am writing this on behalf of the Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia, ECAM, Brazilian partner of the Regnskogsföreningen, to provide an update on the work of our joint project to support the indigenous communities of the Karib Corridor in the northern Amazon of Brazil.

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Women attending the meeting

From the 19th to the 23rd of July, the Kaxuyana hosted 27 indigenous women from neighboring communities with the aim of boosting their voice for and within their communities. The meeting gave them an opportunity to discuss their reality and challenges and their hopes for the future. They also formally joined the Indigenous Women’s association of the region, which was recently founded with support from other local traditional communities. This association AMIRMO was included in the regional conference of associations and participated in the capacity-building and training sessions for the Associations held in the nearby town of Oriximina with support of the project. The women also  for the first time selected candidates to participate in the regional Indigenous conference in the Amazon city of Santarem held on the 15th through the 17th of August.

Some words by the participants:

Carolina Kaxuyana –

“Antes de vim para esse encontro nunca imaginava que tinha tanta coisa lá fora, imaginava que era tranquilo como aqui na aldeia, muitas vezes a gente não percebe porque entende pouco português.” (“Before I came to this conference I never imagined that there were so many things out here. I imagined it was tranquil like in the village. Many times we just don’t perceive how much is going on because we understand little Portuguese”)

Kanahumamicia Kaxuyana –

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Women attending the meeting

“ Temos que fortalecer o artesanato, usando nas reuniões e cada povo com o seu, pois ele fortalece nossa identidade como povo”. (“We have to strengthen our handicraft, using meetings and every people like yours, as it strengthens our identity as a people.”)

This meeting was a direct result of a decision by the communities to strengthen and increase the role of women as part of their struggles for greater rights and improvement of their lives. The creation of the association will be a key instrument in improving the ability of the indigenous women of the region to organize and participate more actively in making their voice heard and an addition to the creation of a women’s department within the indigenous associations.

Municipalities Pact

In another important development, NGO partners ECAM, IMAZON and Agenda Publica signed formal cooperation agreements with the three municipalities that cover most of the western area of the Karib Corridor: Orixmina, Terra Santa and Faro. This is part of the work to improve the capabilities of local governments to provide basic social services to remote communities and create a regional sustainable development strategy. The work relies on the support of the local mining company and largest economic driver in the region Mineracao Rio do Norte (MRN).

The agreements—with a horizon of 15 years of work—were signed on the 19th, 20th and 21st of August in order to strengthen the role of civil society within the municipalities, train municipal staff to improve their management practices, and develop and improve local forest products and markets. Within this program, indigenous leaders held a meeting with representatives of the Oriximina town council to merge their ethno-zoning plan of the Wai Wai territories with the municipal zoning and development plan, currently under revision. This inclusion is unique and the first of the region. It literally puts the indigenous communities on the map for inclusion in local social policies and plans.

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The village

Over the years ECAM has worked to develop methodologies that help create greater synergies between indigenous territorial management, vigilance plans, and local and regional government policies. The objective is to strengthen indigenous participation within the definition and implementation of local and regional policies. The development of indigenous management, zoning and vigilance plans are all crucial tools serving as bridges for initiatives such as this.