Justice & Regeneration in the Amazon (remembering 2013)

2013 has gone by in a flash! At Alianza Arkana, it was a year of growth, learning, innovation and great achievement. Our work in Amazonian communities grew deeper roots and expanded to new horizons, as we focused on co-creating a more just and regenerative future for the Amazon and her people.

We are truly grateful to all of you who have made this support possible, and would like to take a moment to celebrate our key achievements over the past year. 

Continuing the Fight Against Oil Contamination in the Amazon

This year, the Peruvian government has finally started to pay attention to the serious problem of oil contamination in the Amazon, calling for three states of Environmental Emergency. This was the culmination of years of work from indigenous federations and civil society groups, many of whom we have offered strategic, technical and financial support as they fight to have their rights respected. 

  • Through legal support, travel costs and institutional strengthening, Alianza Arkana helped our partners in the Pastaza region gain international attention for oil contamination, and a declaration of a State of Environmental Emergency in the area. 
  • Pluspetrol was fined over $7 million for its role in making an entire lake disappear, due to oil contamination and improper clean-up. Photos from Alianza Arkana were used for the ruling.
  • There is a growing awareness, nationally, around the contamination in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve—what is supposed to be a protected area. The Kukama Kukamilla people are pressing the government to address the well-documented damage, uphold their rights, and protect the national reserve.
  • The Nanay River basin was recently placed on a Perpetrol list as associated with social unrest (a designation that can keep oil companies away), thanks to critical advocacy in and around Iquitos. This area was previously designated as off-limits due to its biodiversity and role providing drinking water to nearly 500,000 people—and we are working on getting this recognized again. Please sign this petition calling for a moratorium on oil development on the Nanay…we are so close to our goal!

Revitalizing the Forest and Health through Permaculture & Nutrition

We are working on the ground with Shipibo families to find solutions to local health and environmental problems.

  • Our new, comprehensive nutritional study is a reference for future action in nutrition and Permaculture.
  • We trained 15 young Shipibo adults aged 16 – 35 on ecosocial design—part of a broader program (called SEED) that is bringing both sources of nutrition and regeneration of deforested areas for Shipibo communities.
  • Ten mothers have participated in our successful six month program of nutrition and cooking classes, which also included practical help to create their own small family orchards to supplement their families’ diet.
  • 10 families from 3 Shipibo communities now have protection from fire—a leading cause of deforestation and major risk to communities. We helped put up 200 meters of natural and regenerative fire brakes in these communities.
  • Communities have been implementing alternatives to slash and burn farming—a method commonly used in the Amazon and a leading cause of fires and also depletion of soil. So far one hectare (2.47 acres) has been planted using the Inga Ally Cropping method. Our programs are rapidly expanding in this area.

Supporting Intercultural Education for Indigenous Youth

We are supporting greater health and opportunity for indigenous youth through educational and intercultural activities.

  • Kids are learning how to take care of their environment, as well as themselves, with a mix of permaculture and indigenous farming techniques incorporated into the school curriculum.
  • The intercultural school at Puerto Firmeza is now providing wholesome food and first-ever school provided breakfasts to fill the gaps in local nutrition and increase student well-being.
  • 16 Shipibo teenage girls took part in a five day empowerment and leadership program we coordinated in the native community of San Francisco, with Girls for the World and Shipibo Joi.
  • Five more Shipibo students can now pursue university education thanks to our scholarship program.
  • Children now have easier access to learning about computers and the Internet in participating communities, thanks to a training program and new solar panels that we set up as part of the “One Laptop per Child” program.
  • Students at the intercultural school are now learning English from year-round volunteers as part of a partnership with Eco-Selva.

Waste Not

Our waste management program is continuing to turn trash into treasure…

  • We have a design and will soon begin construction of a schoolhouse made of Eco-Bricks (plastic bottles stuffed with trash), thanks to support from the Regional Government of Ucayali.
  • We have built nearly 30 composting latrines in 15 Shipibo partner communities. This work is critical for avoiding water contamination in these communities, and uses plastic bottles that pile up.
  • 33 families in one of our partner communities are using banana trees to clean their gray water in a program supported by the provincial government as a pilot program for underdeveloped urban settlements around Pucallpa.

Deborah Rivett, Thursday, 16 January 2014

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