Strengthening the role of indigenous women

During international women’s day, we shared with our readers, the experience of one of our team members at Fundación Gaia Amazonas. The experience being this year’s first workshop of endogenous research with a group of women researchers from the ACITAVA association. More than an experience, however this project is evidence of one of the methodologies that we use within FGA to carry out our work, and to make these investigations the true basis of policies that strengthen the own government– a crucial tool for increasing food security and transmissions of knowledge.


by Olga Chols A:

Last January 25, 2016 through February 3, 2016 the second workshop of women from ACTIVA was carried out in the Center of Formation of Cocotal (La Pedrera, Amazonas) facilities. The research was carried out with the participation of groups of researchers from the communities of Jotabeya, Aguas Blancas, Vista Hermosa and Bocas de Taraira, as well as with representatives of the land use planning Committee of ACIYA, the Management technique of the Natural National Parks of Colombia, and the Consultants of the Gaia Amazonas.

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The importance of this workshop is the participation, interest, and commitment of the women of ACITAVA (Association of Captains Indigenous Taraira, Vaupés) who, motivated by the Secretariat of Women Researchers of Yaigojé Apaporis River (SEMIYA), have initiated a process of their own research about seeds seeds through three fronts of work, these are:

1) Strengthening ‘chagras’ or family cultivation, which represents the life of the community and which also insures the food sovereignty of the region.

2) Self investigation, which strengthens and maintains the culture and the transmission of knowledge about the practices of handling and caring of the chagra to preceding generations.

3) Self-government, understanding and strengthening the role of women in the communities in the conservation and management of food resources, and to participate effectively in the dialog and decision-making of the territory.

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The objective of the workshop was to coordinate the activities which help with the recovery, maintenance, and evaluation of the knowledge and expertise of the social life of women. All this is done in order to strengthen the feminine spaces that so greatly contribute to the sustainability of the cultural activities and food security within the region.

These main results were achieved in the workshop: (a) realizations of different dynamics, like games, were used to understand that research is a process that must be done step by step by with a few rules in accordance to the times and rhythms required of each group’s research; (b) the construction of a map with the road or river of the process covered with the research in each one of the communities, showing the achievements and obstacles encountered as well as the point of where we want to go; (c) the importance of maintaining the knowledge of grandparents in order to apply it and practice it, taking into account the rules that have been left about the management of resources and maintenance of the balance with nature in order to teach future generations; (d) The importance of the union and strengthening of thoughts of different ethnic groups in order to maintain the territory of the towns of indigenous people of the Resguardo Park Yaigojé Apaporis River protected from external threats; (e) The appointment of the Coordinating Committee of the group of women researchers from ACITAVA, being elected the coordinator, secretary and translator, and the administrator; (e) Strengthening the research groups in some communities for a better overall involvement of the communities not only in the research process but in the transmission of knowledge to preserve the culture and finally, f) induction in ICT, logistics and basic concepts of accounting.

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The traditional knowledge of the women of ACITAVA have a great importance in maintaining the food security of each community. By means of the endogenous research these women also have the opportunity to value these traditional knowledges and to ratify their role within the community.

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