Communities involved with eight different development projects in Ecuador gathered together to exchange experiences and learn from one another’s progress. Fundación Pachamama has an agreement to monitor the development of these projects of the Small Donations Program of the United Nations Development Program.
The projects are aimed at improving social-environmental problems through community ecotourism, organic cacao production, recuperation of traditional home gardens, elaboration of artwork, and capacity and awareness building.
Experiences, Objectives and Lessons Learned
Ultimately, communities will become the principal actors in managing and conserving their water, biodiversity and cultural resources, and additionally, agree to adequately manage solid waste in their area (through recycling and organic fertilizers).
Each of the projects in the communities of Archidona, Chontapunta, Fco. de Orellana-Coca, and Arajuno presented their experiences, objectives, and lessons learned. Project administrators provided conclusions based on the four central elements they support:
- Biodiversity (nature conservation),
- Equal opportunities (gender, generation, intercultural),
- Sustainable ways of life, and
- Other elements related to organization and participation of involved groups.
Celebrating the Diversity of the Various Communities
The gathering included a cultural exchange highlighting the diversity of the various communities, with traditional Shuar and Kichwa dances, music from members of Fco. de Orellana-Coca, and folk songs by the participants from Tena.
On the final day, participants visited a local landfill initiative close to Arajuno, in Pastaza province, in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas on how to implement this type of project.
They also visited a project in the Association IKIAM of the Shuar communities of Chico Méndez, which is recuperating and managing the Kushillu Yaku river basin and its tributaries, with related projects focused on compost, reforestation, capacity building, and ecotourism.