Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon

by Alianza Arkana
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Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon

We have great reasons to celebrate!

First, we are at the gates of the first anniversary of the community project Indigenous Living Pharmacy. For this activity, the Native Community Committee is preparing a wonderful food, sports tournaments and cultural activities like traditional dancing and singing. All this promises a lot of joy and a good time among the participants.

This celebration wants to show all community members the progress made throughout the year with photo gallery and videos. Our Communication Team, led by Gabriela Maldonado is working towards audiovisual materials on cultural revitalization with a special focus on medicinal plants. All this will be shown in a “Movie Night” along with other videos related to the importance of the Rainforest preservation and different indigenous community’s experiences.

Secondly, we have reached an important moment. After a year of collaboration, we are glad to inform you that the Community Members are now taking full responsibility of this initiative. We are grateful for all the time, friends, learning processes, and experiences shared. We wish them all the best, and we know a great job will be done.

We also want to express our gratitude for your consistent support and we hope you join us in the replication of this model to provide access to sustainable and traditional healthcare, educate youth on medicinal plants and generate income through sustainable tourism and fair trade medicinal products.


Stay tuned for our latest report with the Committee in Paoyhan, it will include pictures and the summary of the party!


Irake – Thank you for your support in this first initiative,

We are looking forward to continue working on Medicinal Botanical Gardens in the Amazon!

Visual Identity
Visual Identity
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The context

The Living Indigenous Pharmacy is a community based project led by Shipibo-Konibo community members in Paoyhan, in the district of Padre Márquez, Loreto in the Peruvian Amazon. This initiative came out of the urgency to improve quality of health within the population, by using traditional knowledge and medicines that the Amazon Rainforest provides. In this project, Alianza Arkana has taken the role as operational and technical adviser, providing temporary financial support through donations from organizations, individuals and state entities.


Our last the trip

Our last trip was very productive. Two days of hard work focused on two concrete activities: constructing a multipurpose maloka and taking GPS points of the five hectares of land we are using for this project.

We started our trip with our routine initial meeting to share updates and solidify our work plan. In this meeting, we presented our new official logo for the project, along with branded shirts sporting the logo that we will use in the future when we are carrying out campaigns in the community.      

We also received the updates from the Committee of the Living Indigenous Pharmacy— who are all Shipibo-Konibo community leaders in the Paoyhan— where they highlighted their excitement to pick up the work. Lastly, we reexamined the priorities for the year and planned the daily activities for the current visit.


Getting to work!

The day after our arrival, we woke up at the break of dawn and took the thirty minute boat ride to the Living Indigenous Pharmacy. Upon arrival, we faced a variety of surprises from mother earth. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that many new medicinal plants sprouted up that we hadn´t had registered yet. In fact, we found them just a few meters away from the base camp! Nature´s wisdom and touch gifted us with more medicinal plants and we hope they continue to grow and flourish.

            We then divided into two groups. One group focused on registering the geographic reference points of the entire area of our project by using GPS technologies. From these GPS points, we were able to see that 90% of the five hectares are and will continue to be dedicated to the conservation of medicinal plants. The remaining 10% is, for now, the base camp, where we are installing our infrastructure, including a self-sustaining food system, as well as other basic services. On the other hand, a larger group stayed constructing the multipurpose maloka. Within five hours many improvements were made and half of the walls were constructed. It is a joy to see, even with little, how we can make such great improvements and steps forward.

The second day of work was also productive. We stayed in the same teams as the previous day, but were fortunate enough to have the support of two additional people. In defining the geographic coordinates of the land, we can now better plan the project layout of the territory and better identify the paths we would like to create.   

These points will be incredibly helpful in improving the plant inventory and also help us to group plants in a more systematic way. Besides the georeferencing, we also made great progress on the maloka. In fact, we completed twice as much as we did the first day, so this was greatly gratifying for all of us. The maloka is almost ready!


Moving forward with strength

During the evening, we convened again, with more members in attendance than the previous night. We spoke about some relevant points and we made decisions in moving forward in regards to the following visit. We will be back at the Living Indigenous Pharmacy in May, where we will focus on deep maintenance work and also host a workshop discussion about our future organizational statute. Similarly, the maloka will be completed in two visits, with the help and organization of the president of the Committee of the Living Indigenous Pharmacy, Humberto.

            It is with your support that we are able to move forward efficiently with our work plan for this year. Ever cent that we receive makes it possible for us to travel, to buy materials, pay wages, food and more than anything, continuing dreaming.


We march on!

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Since the start of the year, we have only been able to hold two meetings with the Farmacia Viva Indígena Committee. The reason for this is simple: flooding. The rainy season in the Amazon usually lasts from December through March. As a result, Paoyhan becomes entirely flooded – which jeopardizes the hygiene of the community, as the compost toilets also become flooded. Further, the rainy season reduces the community’s mobility.

Nevertheless, many community members of Paoyhan were in Pucallpa in January, for the annual Shipibo football championship. We were therefore able to kickstart the year by organizing a meeting with the Committee in Pucallpa.

Our second meeting took place in early March in Paoyhan. The water levels rendered it impossible to visit the project site. We therefore used this meeting to plan our respective short term and medium term tasks. One of the short-term tasks is cleaning the project site, after the water levels drop.

In the meantime, we are helping the Committee to update their internal regulatory documents, we are finalising the project logo and we are preparing the upcoming project management training workshops. We are also researching the scientifically recognised medicinal properties of the plants identified on the project site. The project logo will be screen printed on shirts – so the Committee can use them as uniforms.

Thank you for your support! Lack of significant funds prevent us from moving forward at the speed we would like. Which is why we are so grateful for your support – no matter the size of your contribution, it is helping us bring this wonderful project to fruition. You are contributing to the conservation of ancestral knowledge, the protection of the Amazon and the empowerment of an indigenous Shipibo-Konibo community.

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Tour Guides
Tour Guides

Once more, we had a productive working session! In December, we went to Paoyhan for three working days in which we successfully achieved our objectives. We were accompanied by four volunteers (three German and one Peruvian), which helped us to carry out our work successfully.

On Wednesday we split up into two groups. The first group departed from Paoyhan at 5:30 a.m. in order to paddle to the project site and carry out a preliminary inventory of the fauna. The second group left at 8 a.m., accompanied by a group of tourists. At the project site, the first group helped to continue demarcating the  pathways, while the second group supported the tour guide with his presentation in English.

On Thursday, the entire group went to the project site in order to continue with the medicinal plant inventory – this marks our third inventory session of the year. This session was extremely productive as we inventoried approximately 100 medicinal plants. We are now counting 3.5 hectares demarcated and approximately 400 medicinal plants inventoried!

On our last day, we carried out a workshop on sustainable tourism and the responsibilities of a tourist guide. In this workshop, we addressed the committee’s principal needs (as previously defined with them). We also addressed the sustainability of the project in terms of the effects on the community, the environment and the local economy. We were pleased to see the youth participating in the workshop even though this workshop was not specifically targeted at them. After all, the youth will be the ones responsible for administering the project in a few years.

We are very pleased by the progress made this year and are looking forward to the coming year! We are still seeking funds in order to implement the infrastructure required for this project to be self-sufficient. Thank you for your help!

Medicinal Plant Inventory
Medicinal Plant Inventory
Sustainable Tourism Workshop
Sustainable Tourism Workshop
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Farmacia Viva Indigena is a project led by the committee of Paoyhan, a Shipibo-Konibo community in the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon. This project responds to the fundamental needs of the community to reconnect with their ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants and to have access to affordable medicine. Further, this project will help to boost the socio-economic development of the community. Alianza Arkana will act as a bridge to facilitate the administrative and financial development of the project until it is fully self-sufficient.

Each month since the launching of this project, we have been travelling to Paoyhan to support the committee of Paoyhan in the launching of the Farmacia Viva Indigena project. We are pleased with the results of the most recent visit (on November 3rd), as we see significant improvements in our working relationship with the committee as well as in the advancement of the project.

One of the significant achievements of this trip is that we were able to progress with the delimitation of the territory and the creation of pathways within the botanical garden. This allowed us to continue with the inventorying and registration of medicinal plants. Our progress exceeded our expectations as we were able to inventory and register over 250 plants in 50% of the demarcated territory. We are convinced that we will find even more plants within the territory during the re-exploration phase. Most of these plants have a story and myth - these will be compiled by the committee and conveyed to the children of the community and the visitors of the botanical garden.

Further, we organised workshops to identify the challenges faced by the committee in the early implementation of the project, in order to then transform these into strengths. This workshop also helped us to address and overcome the weaknesses in the working relationship between the committee and Alianza Arkana. 

The seeds have been planted and we rest assured that, with the collaboration of this wonderful intercultural team, the project will rapidly be brought to fruition. We look forward to our next working session with the committee in December. Irake!

~ 19 November 2018

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Organization Information

Alianza Arkana

Location: Yarinacocha, Ucayali - Peru
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Yarinacocha, Ucayali Peru
$15,483 raised of $24,526 goal
176 donations
$9,043 to go
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