Helping indigenous and traditional communities to organize for effective self-governance as well as develop and implement sustainable solutions to improve their health and well-being.    

Community Empowerment Project

Photo: Will Martinez

For the past several hundred years, indigenous and traditional communities have suffered terribly at the hands of outsiders ultimately resulting in the degradation of both biological and cultural resources. This has resulted in the loss and destruction of ancestral lands as well as the disintegration of cultural traditions. We are working to empower and assist communities in their fight to take control of their own destinies by providing support for organizational development and leadership training. For example, we helped the Maijuna indigenous group establish a legally recognized indigenous federation and support their yearly inter-community congress, bringing together their four distantly separated communities.

Clean water project

According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die from water related illnesses every year, and 77 million people in Latin America lack access to safe drinking water.  We are partnering with communities to build biosand water filters as well as teach sanitation and hygiene workshops in a manner that fosters community capacity building and ensures long-term project success. For example, we have built over 75 water filters in Maijuna indigenous communities, significantly decreasing water borne illnesses that can lead to persistent problems with chronic dysentery and high infant mortality rates. This work is in collaboration with faculty and students of George Mason University’s Amazon Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) Project.

latrine PROJECT

Source: WaterAid

According to the United Nations, 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services such as toilets or latrines. We are working with communities to help them build latrines that properly and safely dispose of human waste ultimately helping to improve human health. Currently, we are in the final stages of designing a site appropriate compost latrine for building and use in Maijuna indigenous communities.

Healthy Communities PROJECT

Photo: Will Martinez

Indigenous and traditional communities throughout the world often lack access to basic health care putting children, elders, and other community members at great risk. We are working to assist and empower communities to improve their well-being and quality of life through not only enhanced access to lifesaving health care but also through the revitalization of traditional medical systems including the use of medicinal plants. For example, we are working with the Maijuna indigenous group to improve and strengthen their access to health care during times of need through an emergency health fund as well as by building capacity in their ability to effectively navigate the Peruvian health care system. This work is in collaboration with the Cabeceras Aid Project.