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Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association

by Alianza Arkana
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association
Empower Indigenous Youth Activist Association

The community of Santa Clara was once known as the land of flowers.The Youth Association of Santa Clara want to reclaim this title, as a way of generating tourism in their community and attracting wildlife. In a previous workshop, Alianza Arkana and the Youth Association made eco-pots for the hibiscus seedlings - using PET bottles.

We planted these Hibiscus seedlings along the main streets of the community over the course of two working days. The community members will collectively water and maintain the flowers. The Youth Association of Santa Clara have a great team spirit - we are eager to start planning our upcoming workshops! 

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Cooperation with the Youth Association of Santa Clara on workshop coordination is going very well. The youth are showing a great deal of initiative in every project presented to them. For each coming project, a project coordinator from the Youth Association has been assigned. These coordinators are in charge of:

  • Collaborating  with the external experts involved in the workshops.
  • Coordinating some of the materials for the workshops.

The English classes are already taking place 3 times a week with the help of Mark, a professional English teacher. The youth are showing enthusiasm in learning English and learning the key phrases that will help them to attract more tourism in their community. They are progressing quickly and are helping eachother to learn and improve.

We have already started gathering the materials for the art and environmental awareness workshops – these workshops will take place over the course of the following month. A major difficulty that we experienced and will continue to experience is the heavy rain, which oftenly impedes on our visits to the community. The weather led to the delay of one workshop. We are currently thinking of viable alternatives in the case of heavy rain so that the workshops continue to take place.

On the 11th and 12th of December the Youth Association will present their results of the workshops to the whole community of Santa Clara. We will keep you up to date!

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Paoyhan villagers receiving updated insurance
Paoyhan villagers receiving updated insurance

The following is an updated report of the work that has been carried out from the month of May 2018 up until the month of July 2018.

INTERCULTURAL HEALTH

Health Insurance for Paoyhan

On the 5th and 6th of May, we set out to do a Health Insurance workshop in the community of Paoyhan. The objective was to inform the community members about:

  • How to get health insurance
  • How to get national IDs (required for health insurance)
  • What are the rights and benefits of getting insurance
  • Organizing logistics and information to issue health insurance for community members, as well as National ID cards for newborn babies.

We carried out the workshop over 2 afternoons, with our shipibo staff which is composed of Shipibo nurse Silveria Pino Canayo, and Shipibo nursing student, Marcelita Suarez. Over the course of the workshop we realized that:

  • Many people do not know about health insurance benefits.
  • Many people did not know what things were free vs paid.
  • People raised the point of discrimination and lack of resources in hospitals.
  • Many people are denied proper attention due to discrimination issues.

We have been lucky enough to know Silveria, our shipibo nurse and ally, who could answer a variety of questions and properly oriented attendants, even referencing them specific allies of hers in the hospitals, so that they could get proper attention. At the end of the workshop, we gathered a list of more than 80 people who wanted to get their insurance status updated (for it to be active). We successfully activated their insurance status thanks to SIlveria and Marcella. Oscar, the local nurse, will be in charge of getting insurance for those lacking so, once the information is updated.

After our first visit in May, at the end of the month, we did another visit in order to deliver insurance updated statuses. People were extremely overjoyed and in the next round of visits, we got a list of 196 people this time, who were interested in updating their insurance status.

Why update insurance status?

Because of changes in recent government protocols, some insurance becomes annulled. It is necessary then, to update the status in government systems. If insurance is not updated, individuals do not have access to regular care.

Helping in getting IDs for mothers in Paoyhan

After our very successful sessions in Paoyhan regarding information sessions on insurance and ID, thanks to our new community health worker, Nora, we funded travel expenses for 11 mothers who came to Pucallpa to get IDs for their newborn babies. This is extremely important, because without IDs, babies are not able to get insurance. Now we are currently in the process of delivering forms to the 11 mothers so that we can pick up the IDs for them, presenting a form that will cut the costs of the 11 mothers traveling again.

PAP Campaign follow-up work in Bena Jema

After a very successful PAP smear campaign in Bena Jema in March, the results are finally in. However, we have learned a lot about the lack of resources at the hospitals and have been running into some logistical issues: The results took a long time due to the fact that there is only one person who can read the results. Now, even though the results are ready, there is no one to digitize them at the hospital due to lack of hospital budget. We are trying to solve this issue by delivering the results as soon as possible and through Silveria’s contacts. However, even though we have been running into problems with the results, we are still continuing to deliver follow-up work. We are in the process of organizing a plant-medicine workshop for gynecological health, hosted by Carolina Mahua, per request of the mothers. We are very excited to do this workshop at the end of the month, and produce a zine, which will gather all the recipes that come out of this workshop, through collective knowledge.

Women’s Health Workshop in Paoyhan

As a way of measuring our health impact and work, we replicated our women’s health workshop in Paoyhan, with Marcella, Silveria, and our reproductive health expert, Jessica Northridge, at the end of June. The workshop was quite successful and women had many questions about their health. We even collected preliminary data to measure learning and understanding of topics during the workshop. Topics touched upon included: menstruation, menopause, STDs, and Cervical Cancer. Jessica will write a blog about the workshop the month of July. Women are eager to organize a PAP campaign, just like in Bena Jema, which is very good news for us.

YOUTH WORK

Developing Skills and Avenues for Self Expression through Hip Hop in Paoyhan

The month of June was also super exciting because we hosted a Hip Hop weekend workshop with the youth and children of Paoyhan. We brought special hip hop artists and youth workers from Lima, who formed such special bonds with the participants. During the workshops, we hosted movie nights, we wrote songs, did stencils, and even prepared an evening show, where the youth prepared their own choreography. The workshop was incredibly successful! At some point, we had more than 70 participants, who were very engaged, eager, and found a special place to express themselves artistically, through dance, painting, and instruments. Participants formed special bonds with the facilitators, resulting in them communicating often even after the workshop was over. Participants, especially the youth, requested another similar workshop, but only for teens. We are happy about this, because this means that the youth are starting to have ideas of their own that they want to see happen. We are excited about mentoring them and for Wendy’s presence in guiding the process. You can watch the video we made HERE

NEW ADDITIONS TO OUR TEAM STAFF

We are happy and proud of introducing a new member of our team, Silveria Pino Canayo, who has officially joined us under a paid salary since mid-June. Silveria is a shipibo nurse, who has extensive experience as an intercultural health expert, health advocate, and community health worker. Since working with her on a per-workshop basis, we became saw the incredible work that she has been able to contribute to the table, and thus, we saw the importance of hiring her. She is already such a great addition to our team!

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

Bena Jema: Luzmila, Amelia, Maritza

Paoyhan: Nora

FUTURE PROJECTIONS

  • We have now seen that since our intercultural health work has expanded considerably, our work has bifurcated into two avenues: a) Intercultural Health Work b) Youth Empowerment.
  • We hope to continue to support both programs in the future by both increasing shipibo staff members, and increasing their hours (i.e. salary)
  • We are happy to continue our intercultural health work and advocacy, bridging resources to community members. Now that our young shipibo nurse in training, Marcella, will soon graduate from nursing school at the end of this year, 2018, we look forward to hiring her full time, thus increasing her salary. We are also happy to continue supporting Silveria on our team.
  • We are looking into deepening our youth work, both in Bena Jema and Paoyhan, which means we are looking to hire one extra shipibo member.
  • We’ve seen great value in mentoring and hosting internships for our shipibo youth who are studying in the city. This not only equips them with skills to be able to afront expectations in a new academic setting, but it also offers them applied learning skills and an intercultural environment where they can learn from our volunteers or team members through skills transfers. Successful cases in terms of marketing and communications internships have already been documented (Non Kene) and we wish to replicate this model in other areas of Alianza Arkana, through our youth programs. Thus, we would like an internship coordinator to support the effort.
  • We want to continue to offer our staff members professional development opportunities to improve their skills and abilities during work.
Mothers doing paperwork for their children's ID
Mothers doing paperwork for their children's ID
Bena Jema mothers planning plant medicine workshop
Bena Jema mothers planning plant medicine workshop
Women's Health workshop in Paoyhan
Women's Health workshop in Paoyhan
Youth in Paoyhan with our Hip Hop Facilitators
Youth in Paoyhan with our Hip Hop Facilitators
Silveria, our newest team member!
Silveria, our newest team member!
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Setting up medical equipment at the local school
Setting up medical equipment at the local school

On March 11th, after the tireless work of our local community health advocates (Maritza, Amelia, and Luzmila) from Bena Jema, we managed to get more than 50 women to get their PAP smears done! Not only did they get PAP tests, but they also got the chance to get vaccinated against yellow fever, and parasite treatment access. 

This was possible thanks to our wonderful shipibo health advocates, who have supported all along by this project. Moreover, thanks to the money that was invested, we got to cover some gaps in the health system. For example, the local doctor told us that when they themselves organized the campaign, only 12 mothers showed up, however, with Alianza Arkana's support, more than 50 women did. This is a HUGE success, and we think it was due to:

1. Our shipibo health advocates

2. Covering extra costs which are not covered by the government, such as extra nurses, transport, and lunch for all staff. 

This is the beginniing for a succesful community health model that we are trying to replicate and advocate for so that there is greater investment from the government. 

To look at our PAP Campaign video, please click here!

Getting registered for the campaign!
Getting registered for the campaign!
Mothers waiting for their turn
Mothers waiting for their turn
Local health post Dr. Patricio informing mothers
Local health post Dr. Patricio informing mothers
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Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 1
Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 1

After our wonderful 3-day workshop on Women's Health, co-sponsored by Shilpa Darivemula, founder of The Aseemkala Initiative, (you can read more about our workshop here!) the attending women were so inspired and motivated that they decided to run their own community-based health campaign!

During the workshop, as we talked extensively about cervical cancer, a very common disease amongst Shipibo women, one of the women stood up and asked, "When are we getting our PAP-smears done?" and this was the birth of how we started supporting women in organizing their own health campaign.

As we researched how to make this happen, we learned that the local health post will deliver a free PAP smear campaign only if the women gathered a list of 100 participants. And so we organized meetings, and sooner than expected, the local women were already walking around their settlements to gather the needed names. 

Gathering the names became harder than expected. The stigma against PAP smears, added to bad experiences due to poor medical services made some women reluctant. However, slowly but surely, our lists started to fill up. We were happy to see how there was considerable interest in women to monitor their own health. We could also see the concern many mothers had for their daughters, who usually start having sex at a very earñly age. Women's past bad experiences made us really pay attention to how this campaign would be executed. We want to make sure that this campaign really offers the best services possible as all women deserve the best health care they can get. 

The health campaign will happen anytime this month (March), as soon as the women finish gathering 100 names. For now, we will keep supporting them with transport costs, and meals. We also hope to conduct a complete health assesment of the community in order to better target their needs, and of course, continue the conversation with our core community team. 

We are so proud of our women in the core team, Luzmila, Silveria, and Amelia for walking from home to home, gathering data and names in order to make this happen!

We hope to continue to support them in their work, and to help them access the best healthcare possible.

Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 2
Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 2
Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 1
Women gathering names for PAP smear campaign - 1
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Organization Information

Alianza Arkana

Location: Yarinacocha, Ucayali - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Macarena Arias
Yarinacocha, Ucayali Peru
$1,966 raised of $49,825 goal
 
103 donations
$47,859 to go
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