The health and well-being of forests is directly connected to the health and well-being of the people residing within them. Rainforests harbor incredible amounts of biodiversity and large stores of carbon, and the people who dwell within them maintain the well-being of these forests. The Achuar in Ecuador are among those people who protect the rainforest they live in, making it imperative successive generations be able to continue this legacy.
All over the world, however, natural primary forests are being deforested in the name of progress, and the deforestation rate of virgin forest in Ecuador is the highest of all countries in Latin America. Ecuador also has some of the higher maternal and infant mortality rates in Latin America, in part due to rural and indigenous peoples who live far from regular access to medical interventions.
Through a collective vision, both women and men of the Achuar nation dreamed into existence Ikiama Nukuri – Jungle Mamas – whose goal is to combine the best traditions and practices of midwifery and obstetrics from the western world while simultaneously valuing the best practices of Achuar motherhood in effort to save the lives at birth of mothers and newborns.
Join Jungle Mamas program director and anthropologist, Robin Fink, as she shares the dreams and experiences that brought together the vision for Jungle Mamas, and come to more deeply understand how the health and well-being of women, families, and communities work to assure the health of the rainforest, in effort to create a more thriving, just and sustainable world.
- 6:00pm: Our venue, Peña Pachamama opens and begins serving delicious organic appetizers and entrees (no host)
- 7:00pm: We will start with a brief update and introduction to The Pachamama Alliance
- 7:30 – 9:00pm: Robin’s presentation
Robin Fink has worked in collaboration with indigenous peoples of Ecuador since 2006, when her call to work in women’s reproductive health rights began with the Kichwa population of the Andes highlands. She worked with a culturally appropriate family planning clinic in Chimborazo while also working to coordinate groups of student volunteers from the Reed College Ecuador Service Project. She received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and wrote her ethnographic thesis on how both cultural change and structural inequalities impact the perceptions and experiences of sickness and health in a Kichwa community.
Robin is currently working as the in-country based program director for a maternal and neonatal health program in Quito, Jungle Mamas, for The Pachamama Alliance for the last four years. As a part of this program, she works directly with indigenous communities of the Achuar people, their governing bodies, and an intercultural team of midwives, indigenous leaders, and activists in co-creating program plans, monitoring, and evaluation. She regularly uses her experience as an on-the-ground, practice-based anthropologist to effectively create culturally appropriate synergies within a team of individuals committed to saving lives at birth in a way that is culturally appropriate in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.