Farmacia Viva Indigena

Together with the committee of the Shipibo-Konibo community of Paoyhan, Alianza Arkana presents Farmacia Viva Indígena (The Living Indigenous Pharmacy)!

In the Amazon rainforest, many indigenous communities struggle to receive proper health care as it is financially and geographically inaccessible. Meanwhile, ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants is disappearing.

Farmacia Viva Indigena is a project led by the committee of Paoyhan, a Shipibo-Konibo community in the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon. This project responds to the fundamental needs of the community to reconnect with their ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants, improve the quality of their healthcare  and boost their local economy. Alianza Arkana acts as bridge to facilitate the administrative and financial development of the project until it is fully self-sufficient.

Each month since the launching of this project, we have been travelling to the Shipibo community of Paoyhan to support the Farmacia Viva Indigena committee in the development of the project. We are pleased with the results of the most recent visits as we see improvements in our relationship with the committee as well as in the advancement of the project.

Alianza Arkana and the Farmacia Viva Indigena Committee, over the course of three working sessions, have successfully demarcated the project site’s five hectares. Approximately 400 medicinal plants have been inventoried in 3.5 hectares of the project site – in the first exploration phase! Most of these plants have a story and myth, which we will be compiling in order to convey them to the children of the community and visitors.

The forest is our pharmacy

Over the course of the last two working sessions, we held workshops in order to help the committee in the administering of the project. In the first workshop, our aim was to identify the existing weaknesses in the management of the project, in order to then transform them into strengths. This workshop also helped us to overcome the weaknesses in the working relationship between the committee and Alianza Arkana.

In the second workshop, we explored the responsibilities of a tourist guide in the aim of addressing the committee’s principal needs. Another central topic of this workshop was sustainable tourism and the implications of the project for the community, the environment and for the local economy. We were pleased to see the youth participating in the workshop even though this workshop was not specifically targeted at them. This is extremely positive, as the youth will be the ones responsible for administering the project in a few years.

The seeds have been planted and we rest assured that with the collaboration of the team this project will rapidly be brought to fruition!

Curing communities by protecting forests

¬ Sebastian De Los Heros (Program Coordinator)

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