Fundacion Amigos del Choco - AMICHOCO

Amigos del Choco Foundation is an environmental NGO that fosters the sustainable use of natural resources and the improvement of life quality of the people of the Colombian Choco bioregion. We do this through the implementation of productive projects, communication and environmental education and capacity building initiatives; linking local communities with the national and international community.
Sep 9, 2011

Creating the vision of Children´s Land

Guided tour of the children´s land
Guided tour of the children´s land

AMICHOCÓ field staff, the boys and girls from Turbo and the teachers from the Normal public school have been working hard to develop the vision of the Turbo Children´s Land. Over the last months we have met with the beneficiary boys and girls, their parents and teachers to determine what the Children´s Land will look like and how we´re going to re create the children´s idea of their own space.

 

We began by taking a guided tour of the Children´s Land plot with the boys and girls, and writing down everything they liked and didn´t like about the piece of land. Then we developed a series of workshops were everybody had the chance to participate and finally, a first version of the Children´s Land vision came to life!!!!!!!

 

The rest of the project will use this vision as a guideline and we will respect it to the very small details. The next step is to begin transforming the land so it will match the children´s vision and start working on capacity building, awareness and training with the boys and girls in environmental education, children´s rights and governance.

Working on our vision
Working on our vision
Boys and girls in workshop
Boys and girls in workshop
Our Children´s Land Vision
Our Children´s Land Vision
Boys and girls participating in vision workshop
Boys and girls participating in vision workshop
Parents, teachers and siblings also participated
Parents, teachers and siblings also participated
Aug 9, 2011

And the dream came… ¡a song!

At the Ceremony
At the Ceremony

 

“Let´s go everybody

To help this special place,

Our environment, the one we are going to take care

Let´s go and play

In this very special place

These were the lines that boys and girls from Turbo sang for their land, the one that they dreamed since the first time we told them about the project.

The story began when we set up the meeting with the children that were already members from the Water Protector´s club. They watched our video and listen all about Children´s land, we answered their questions and! It happened! They started to dream.

But this couldn´t be a secret, we needed to tell everyone, so we planned a forum. Parents, teachers, boys and girls came, and we had the opportunity to show pictures, and to describe the whole project. But it wasn´t enough, so we made groups in order to listen to new ideas, expectations and doubts. With all this information it was time to start, it was time to give the children their land.

We got ready to the ceremony and finally Boys and Girls had their own land, they planted the first seed, this how Children´s Land was opened. The excitement made the children changed; they were now songwriters and theater actors. “Mambé & the rock from the sun” was the play; each group of actors gave us a different version form the story ¡It was amazing, the best way to celebrate!

Now the Children from Turbo have their own land, they are in charge and they know exactly what they should do: make it a safe place for boys and girls, have fun and learn about their environment.  That´s why the children always are going to sing:

“Children´s land,

A very special place,

Children´s land

The place you´re going to like

Children´s land,

The place to have fun”

Children´s Land
Children´s Land
Jul 25, 2011

Training and land preparation activities

Gilberto Murillo - Farmer and beneficiary
Gilberto Murillo - Farmer and beneficiary

Over the last 3 months AMICHOCÓ and Fundación Espavé have been developing the training workshops and activities with the beneficiary families of the analog forestry project in the Atrato river basin. This is the first step towards the creation and consolidation of family parcels of analog forestry and the future commercialization of the parcel products in international markets.

 The project has sensitized the communities and we have signed participation agreements with 16 families. Additionally, the project has successfully motivated these families and trained them in the analog forestry methodology which is critical for the achievement of the remaining milestones. During the initial phase of the project 20 families were involved but during the last month 4 families have left the project for various reasons: they decided they didn´t want the commitment or they left the area. Nevertheless, we have already been contacted by other families who wish to participate in the project and we are now getting them up to date on the activities and workshops done previously.

Presentation and motivation workshops

In the presentation and socialization session we had with the community the following topics were addressed:

  • Meaning and essence of the productive chain of forests products
  • Purpose of productive chain of forests products
  • Origin of the productive chain
  • Communities, organizations and institutions involved in the project.
  • How the process works
  • Process achievement and goals
  • Short and medium term challenges
  • Importance of the main species in the process: jagua, milpesos y murrapo.  
  • The concept of analog forestry
  • Materials, resources and assistance provided to the beneficiary families

Training workshops

The analog forestry workshops were done to train local farmers in the analog forestry methodology, the design of the parcels, how to measure the plot of land, how to dig the holes for the seeds and how to plant them.  During the workshops it was also presented to the farmers the chronological order in which the parcels will be planted, which species will be grown first and why? Additionally, a practical example was provided for the beneficiaries on each of the topics covered and agreements were signed between Espavé and each family representative to formalize the assistance that will be provided and the commitments made by the families. 

During the workshops 2 groups of 8 beneficiaries were trained during a 2 day period. The farmers received training in the following areas

- Basic concepts on analog forestry

- Benefits and importance on the analog forestry methodology

- Advantages and disadvantages of growing different species in simultaneous association

- Species that will be used in the analog forestry parcels

- Relevance of each species in the parcel system

- Criteria used for the selection of the species in the parcel arrangements: Origin, adaptability, market potential, diversified uses

- Order of introduction of the species into the system: initially murrapo will be planted then corn and the plantains.

- Distribution of the species in the analog forestry parcels: An image of how the parcel will be planted was presented to the assistants. The murrapo will be planted in 2 meter long lines, the seeds will be planted 50cm apart one from the other; Corn will be planted without any distance parameter; the Plantain will be planted in lines 4 meters apart from each other and 4 meters apart one seed from the other.

 Additionally, the field team has begun working on the individual design of the family parcels with each family unit. A general guideline was drafted in the analog forestry workshops which will be used by all of the beneficiary families and our team has gathered relevant information of the parcels current condition which will serve as a baseline for the design of the parcels. 

 The forestry arrangement that the field team proposes to implement is made up of the following species:

-          Murrapo

-          Plantains

-          Corn

-          Árbol del pan (serves as a wind breaking barrier)

-          Forrajero peanut

-          Mil pesos palms

-          Don Pedrito

-          Chontaduro

-          fruits such as borojó, jagua, guama, arazá, lemon

-          Timber species like cedro, roble, caidita, tachuelo, capitancillo  andgüino.

The design proposes to introduce 4 species simultaneously to the system: árbol de pan, murrapo, corn and plantain. These last two species will become productive in the short term (between 6 and 9 months after being planted), while the murrapo will take up to 2 years to produce “palmitos” and 3 years to produce fruit. The remaining species mentioned before will be introduced in the system in the third semester, according to a chronological order designed beforehand.

 Finally, the construction of the greenhouses has begun and we plant to have completed all of them by the end of July.

Work on Norberto Heredia´s parcel
Work on Norberto Heredia´s parcel
Visit to Farneth´s Parcel
Visit to Farneth´s Parcel