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.
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!
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!
We have begun working on a new initiative with a committee of interested people in the Shipibo community of Paoyhan to develop a community-managed medicinal forest garden in their territory. The goals are for the garden to be able to provide plant medicines to supplement the local health post, to revitalize traditional knowledge about medicinal plants and forest management, as well as to provide opportunities for ecotourism and sustainable enterprise.
This project has been in the works since last year, and was inspired from dialogue during a climate change workshop that we held in the community. This is the community's response to some of the environmental changes they are seeing in their territories, especially regarding forest degradation, which also leads to loss of traditional knowledge.
So far the committee, with support from Alianza Arkana, has been actively planning, organizing, demarcating the land for the forest garden, labeling and placing plaques on medicinal plants and trees, and have just begun construction of a visitor's center made from locally harvested wood. We have a team from Alianza Arkana out there this week to help the committee do a big push on some of the work involved with getting the garden and visitor's center set up. It is amazing to see how much everyone is learning as we work together to implement a project of this sort - so we consider it to be a success already!
This project would not be possible without the continued support of our donors! We are so grateful to all of you who have contributed to helping the people of Paoyhan move toward their goals of conserving their forest and strengthening their community solidarity and health. If you are excited about the forest garden, please continue to support this project, and help us spread the word!
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