As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to list the fifteen main achievements for the past year, which stand out in a busy, challenging, productive and creative period.
1. Building 106 composting toilets with 20 more in construction to finish out the year, using an innovative flood-resistant design that combines a double vault composting toilet, rainwater capture and bathing facilities with grey-water garden filtration in three Shipibo communities in collaboration with UNICEF.
2. Running a workshop on indigenous rights in relation to the activity of oil and gas companies in the Shipibo community of Poayhan.
3. Hosting a visit of ten teachers to the project at Santa Clara led by Professor Eli Sánchez who is leading an intercultural education initiative of ORAU (the regional indigenous political organization) to set up similar projects in other communities.
4. Setting up a combined permaculture and education project in the Shipibo community of Santa Clara, which is already producing bananas and yucca and soon will produce many kinds of fruit to provide nutritious breakfasts for children at the school.
5. Painting four educational murals on schools in the Shipibo communities of Santa Clara and Bena Jema and opening of a bilingual (Shipibo and Spanish) library for a new generation of intercultural learners at Santa Clara.
6. Co-running together with RIPA (the Amazonian Indigenous Network of Permaculturalists) a five day ‘Introduction to Ecological Farming’ course for 30 participants.
7. With the Chaikuni Institute, producing a detailed report about the activities of the oil company PlusPetrol in the new oil block 192 in the northern part of the State of Loreto.
8. In association with ‘Girls for the World’, a US-based non-profit, running two five-day personal development workshops for teenage girls and some of their mothers in the Shipibo urban community of Bena Jema and the rural community of Santa Rosita de Tamaya-Tipishka.
9. Establishing an online shop that sells high quality Shipibo craftwork and paintings to both support the women who made these and provide funding for our projects.
10. Providing technical assistance to the Municipality of Indiana near Iquitos to train carpentry teams who are constructing 152 floating and elevated composting toilets with rainwater capture and bathing platforms for 18 communities, also in collaboration with UNICEF.
11. Continuing to offer university scholarships to six talented Shipibo students to become intercultural teachers and agriculturalists.
12. Working with 19 different international volunteers over the year, each of who made a unique contribution to our work. They included nine Americans, three people from the UK, two from France, four from Germany and one from Holland.
13. Making significant advances to turning our office/volunteer accommodation space into an urban permaculture site and renovating the cement building that is part of our site so it can host the cultural center and archive we want to set up.
14. Setting up a learning community for our supporters and running three ten-day online courses on ’Leadership in the Internet Age’, ‘Conversation and Change’, ‘The Systems View of Life’ and ‘Eco-sanitation and the Nutrient Cycle.’
15. Creating a beautiful new website. Many thanks to our designers, MoonPulp, who did such creative and responsive work for us.