As the year draws to a close, we want to list our 16 major achievements for 2016 – as we listed the 15 major achievements for 2015 at the end of last year.
Our total operating budget for this year has been around $75,000 USD – about the yearly salary for a middle-manager in a US corporation (or a senior manager in a medium to large non-profit!) – so we are delighted to have been able to accomplish so much within this budget. This means that our donors can be assured that their money is having a significant impact throughout the range of our work.
The achievements are as follows (not in order of importance!). To read more about each achievement, click on the link(s) within the item:
- Supporting the construction of organic, dry, double-vaulted, compost bathrooms in the Municipality of Indiana, Loreto, together with UNICEF, through the innovative, tried-and-tested design developed in previous work with 15 Shipibo communities that led to the Municipality of Indiana receiving a National Environmental Prize in December this year.
- Beginning our new eco-social justice program with Shipibo communities and supporting the community of Santa Clara de Uchunya and the local indigenous federation FECONAU in their struggle against the human rights abuses and deforestation caused by the operation of a palm oil plantation on its ancestral territories.
- Developing our permaculture site at Santa Clara, which had its second birthday in October this year, with a two-hectare reforestation project with trees that can be used medicinally, for wood and for handicrafts as well as creating a medicinal plant walkway of 75 plants. At the same time, we have continued to produce one healthy meal a week for all the children from Santa Clara, using produce from our permaculture site there.
- Helping the community of Santa Clara develop its ecotourism infrastructure, notably the reconstruction of an abandoned maloka (traditional ceremonial building) as a cultural center to receive visitors, and supporting the work of a new association of young people in Santa Clara dedicated to the revitalization of Shipibo culture.
- Together with our important partner AIDI (Asociación Indígena para el Desarrollo Integral), doing all the research and writing for an intercultural book about 30 plant medicines directed at Shipibo primary school children. Each plant will be illustrated by a full-page painting of its spirit by acclaimed Shipibo artist, Lastenia Canayo. The book will be published next year with the help of our friends at the Shipibo Konibo Center in New York. We would also like to acknowledge and thank Amanda Rubin for her whole-hearted support of this project and other aspects of our work.
- Piloting an intercultural mobile health clinic offering a combination of traditional plant medicines and Western homeopathy to the two urban indigenous communities of Bena Jema and Jhon Hocking. In each community, we have treated around 200 people for free and at a cost of only $500 USD per community, which is extraordinarily cost-effective.
- Beginning the research and preparatory work to create the first English/Shipibo/Spanish dictionary.
- Running two five-day personal development workshops for teenage girls from the community of Paoyan as well as a workshop for mothers from the same community.
- Running a number of workshops in the expressive arts with Shipibo young people in: animation; critical, organized hip-hop music; and participative photography.
- Creating an increasingly intercultural, non-hierarchical organization. Of the four Directors of Alianza Arkana, two are Shipibo, and three of our nine key advisers are Shipibo. We aim to increase both these numbers.
11. Taking on our first young Shipibo apprentice, Jane Shirley Mori Cairuna, to train her to assume a paid role after nine months with Alianza Arkana working with young women and in Ecosocial Justice .
- Working with an international group of volunteers from Peru, Portugal, Ecuador, Germany, USA, Holland, Spain, Italy, Norway, UK, Mexico, and Switzerland. Our work would not be possible without the talent and commitment of all these people.
- Working with researchers at Masters and Doctoral level from the Universities of Berkeley, Yale, Sussex (UK), Oslo and Stockholm and publishing a research report commissioned by Roffey Park Management Institute on ‘Learning from the Peruvian Amazon’, based on interviews with 12 Shipibo healers about how they learned their craft. (The report can be freely downloaded here).
- Continuing to support a group of six Shipibo students at universities in Pucallpa with full scholarships worth $1000 USD a year and additionally supporting a further four Shipibo students by paying their university fees and giving them classes in English and computer skills.
- Articulating the philosophy behind our work as ‘Moving from Aid to Accompaniment’
- Continuing to develop our office and volunteer accommodation site in the heart of the indigenous area of Pucallpa as a lively and comfortable place to live and work as well as an urban permaculture site.
We would like to thank all our supporters and our indigenous partners who have made this work possible.