Our Stand

Our Motivation

Covering 40% of South America, an area roughly the size of the United States, the Amazon River Basin is home to the largest rainforest on Earth. This forest of approximately 1.4 billion acres accounts for one third of Earth’s remaining tropical rainforests and her 4,100 miles of rivers sustains one fifth of the world’s freshwater. In addition to housing at least 10% of the world’s known flora and fauna biodiversity, it is also a biocultural landscape shaped for thousands of years by human habitation, home to at least 400 distinct indigenous groups and cultures from 8 different South American countries.

Along with crucial ecosystem services such as biomass production, soil formation and retention, also water and nutrient cycling, the Amazon Rainforest regulates regional, continental, and global climates, ocean currents, and weather patterns. An estimated 20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced here, and the forest absorbs more than one billion tons of atmospheric carbon that is emitted by the burning of fossil fuels annually.

The Amazon is presently witnessing a period of mass deforestation driven by the uncontrolled extraction of raw resources, with devastating consequences to the people, plants, and animals it harbors and nurtures. More than 30% of the Amazon has been cleared. If allowed to continue at the present scale and pace, every person on this planet will also suffer the repercussions of this destruction.

Repairing the damage that has been done requires active regeneration of the Rainforest. Healthier and more harmonious ways of relating to, conserving, and harvesting from the Amazon are possible and our work sets out to find that path.

Our Mission

Alianza Arkana is a grassroots, intercultural organization committed to the protection, development and wellbeing of the Peruvian Amazon and the Shipibo-Konibo peoples. We work by establishing grassroots alliances with indigenous and international partners, through the implementation of community-based models of sustainability. Through these models we aim to: strengthen stewardship of vital ecosystems, honor ancestral wisdom and actively integrate it into our methodologies, preserve cultural identity and traditions through true intercultural education, and stand in solidarity with our allies for environmental and social justice.

Our Vision

Today, the indigenous South American philosophy of ‘Buen Vivir’ or ‘Good Life’, (Jakon Nete in Shipibo, Sumak Kawsay in Quechua) has emerged as an important response to the ecologically and socially destructive, neoliberal development practices of the last century. We envision a world that acknowledges the fundamental necessity of living in harmonious relationship with other people and nature in order to build thriving livelihoods, focusing on gains in human development rather that gains in neoliberal productivity.

In practice, this means cultivating:

  • A relationship with nature based on respect, humility, and cooperation rather than control, arrogance and exploitation.
  • Comprehension and celebration that we are part of nature rather than separate from her
  • Recognition that all life is sacred, not only human life
  • Individual, organizational and social relationships that are founded on
    community, reciprocity and altruism rather than hierarchy, power and selfishness.
  • Egalitarian community development models that preserve the rights of and protect the needs of current and future generations.
  • Genuine appreciation for the rich indigenous systems of sophisticated
    wisdom as vital ways of knowing, living, and grappling with contemporary realities.

How We Work

Alianza Arkana works within a specific model to cultivate regenerative solutions and creatively confront the array of eco-social challenges we face today. In the work we do, our team – comprised of Shipibo community members, non-Shipibo Peruvians, and non-Peruvians ­– navigates the delicate terrain of differing cultural understandings and conditioned assumptions on a daily basis. We recognize that in our work we enter a field marked by the legacy of 500 years of colonialism and ongoing discrimination against indigenous people.  

With that, Alianza Arkana works through:

  1. Projects, programs, and relationships that facilitate Shipibo Knowledge and Language Transmission.

  2. Co-Operative models that facilitate resilience, wellbeing, and regeneration of Amazonian ecosystems and Socio-Economic Mobility, autonomy, and self-sovereignty for Shipibo communities

Instead of working in a conventional top-down way, we aim to embody the values of partnership and the principles of permaculture within our organization, as well as in the external work we do. This means working in a non-hierarchical organizational structure with more participative forms of decision-making, whilst still retaining clear areas of responsibility and accountability.

We are committed to supporting local Shipibo who are most active and committed to addressing community needs and facilitating the transfer of resources, relationships, and information to Shipibo communities to build capacity and self-sovereignty.  Alianza Arkana thus acts as a facilitator for information, resources, relationships and critical research. We hold ourselves accountable within the organization and to the partner Shipibo communities we work with, which is why we employ the following 5-step methodology:

In a nutshell: “We do not propose a project to the community and ask for them to be on board, the community should be the one with the project and ask us to be on board.”

  1. RELATE

Build ethical, trusting, caring, and mutually supportive relationships with Shipibo individuals who are passionate about social change in their communities, have ideas in mind, and that align with our values, so that they become our key allies.

2. RESEARCH

Research relevant information on regenerative solutions to community issues previously identified by both the community allies and Alianza Arkana.

3. ANALYZE

Internally review gathered information and produce an entry level analysis, such as SWOT analysis, together with our community allies.

4. PROPOSE

Community allies and Alianza Arkana will propose the solution(s) to the rest of the community members to evaluate interest in participation, facilitate the sharing and understanding of informed positions, and to take in feedback that will modify the proposal in order to best fit the community needs. Information is presented and opened for critique via Workshop Implementation

5.  AGREE

All stakeholders will craft a formal agreement in order to set clear expectations, responsibilities, and accountability. This is to be done with mutual interest, commitment, thorough planning and attention to the quality of the work that is to be done.

6. MONITOR AND EVALUATE

Active involvement of community partners in M&E, including setting what indicators are used to judge success, gathering data and evaluating information.  Involvement is an opportunity to build capacity of community.

  • We do not empower communities, they empower THEMSELVES.

  • We prioritize advising and supporting projects proposed by community members THEMSELVES. Projects are ALWAYS the community’s responsibility first and foremost.

  • We prioritize community members that are motivated and inspired to push their ventures and initiatives.

  • We invest in Shipibos empowering and inspiring other Shipibos.

  • We invest in people that are aligned to our values.