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Life´s weavers: The peace ecology labs for young amazonian indigenous leaders.

Building peace culture: the training of young amazonian indigenous leaders for the territorial self governance.

Photo of Proterra
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Life´s weavers project aims to consolidate leadership networks with young indigenous Amazonian leaders, as key actors for the social-cultural and environmental reinforcement of territories that have been living under diverse environmental problematics that arisen from the history of armed conflict. Will cocreate social-economic tools (educative, legal and productive) to empower young indigenous Amazonian leaders that aim to find pathways from social and environmental conflicts through traditional knowledge, integral sustainability, defence and self-governance of their territories, from ecology for peace and social innovation approach. The project follow 4 phases: 1. “Labs on territorial re-thinking” Aiming: Reflection on cultural dualism, integrating cross-generational dialogue Women perception of the territories Discussing individual and collective environmental conflict perception Building the environmental memory through dialogue among different knowledges and/or ways of knowing. 2. “Ecology Innovation Labs for Peace Culture” Focused on Caquetá and Putumayo departments: Youth leadership and social innovation. Reconciliation tools for environmental peace. 3. Youth in Action Strengthening governance structures to reinforce decision making, creating innovative conflict and sustainable territory management, with indigenous organizations. Fund’s application training will take place to endorse the autonomy in project presentation and execution in traditional production, deforestation reduction, sustainable economies and development of socio-cultural spaces for the peace. 4. Amazonian Territorial Network Territorial planning and public advocacy work. Encounters between the weaving peace actors, indigenous authorities, communities and others stakeholders, for finding synergies in the agreements and commitments related to other priorities agendas in the area of actions as: reduction of deforestation, food security and sovereignty among others.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries for the first phase are youngsters and adults (18 to 30 years old) from the 6 departments of the colombian Amazon region (Amazonas, Caquetá, Guainía, Guaviare, Putumayo and Vaupés). Participants are associated to local organizations of each department and with the School of Political Training for the Indigenous People of the Colombian Amazon, initiative of the National Organization OPIAC, which represents 23 local organizations and 56 ethnic groups. Also traditional authorities, local leaders and Schools organizers. The second through fourth phases are focused on Caquetá and Putumayo young leaders, organizations and communities, these departments are culturally and biologically diverse, representing more than 10 ethnic groups and different ecosystems, such as tropical humid forests. However, these sites present threats based on different development ideas on the territory, expressed as deforestation and oil extraction.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our proposal brings together two conceptual frameworks Ecology and Peace culture, something new but crucial for the colombian context. We identify nature as an important scenario for peace construction and as an opportunity to re-built social-ecological relationships, a fundamental element for a sustainable peace. We work alongside indigenous leaders, schools, organizations and communities that have not been included fully in peace dialog initiatives, with these allies we have worked together consolidating an information system (https://www.opiacescuela-copaiba.info/copia-de-inicio) element thats going to be enriched by this project, aiming for an informed decision making processes. With these experiences we have built trust, respect and empathic relationships that allow us to listen to carefully to the needs and act collectively and responsive towards the weaving of peace cultures.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We are an organization that seeks to contribute to the construction of sustainable and inclusive territories, through innovation, integral management and the generation of collective intelligences. Articulating environmental and social capacities of the territory, tools and vision of Ecology with reconciliation and peace building. Our team is passionate, responsible and committed to the knowledge, the environment and the wellbeing of the communities. www.colectivoproterra.org

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

We have been inspired by the projects and communities we have worked along the past years, with which we have structured a know how of habilitties and alliances. These experiences have shown us the importance of peace culture, governance and traditional knowledge for youth and community development and have introduce us with leaders committed to their cultures and territories no matter how complex their context gets, then so, commiting us to build bridges for the same aim weaving peace culture.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Colombian peace process has raised up consequences as the result of decades under armed conflict. Those include: fractionation of social networks, the social-economical integration of illegal armed groups to rural areas, the unbalanced land tenure, shift of traditional land use resulting in serious environmental and social problems as deforestation, forced displacement. We have consider necessary to consolidate forces towards the orientation and training of the future generations as key actors in the peace process and future leaders for the territorial governance in the colombian Amazon, integrating peace, prosperity and planet as follows: Peace: Creative and non-violent solutions for social and environmental conflicts, peace and conservation culture Prosperity: Strengthening os governance systems for the “Good Living” of the communities Planet: Reduction of illegal deforestation as a mitigation to climate change, care of the social-ecological systems through production alternatives

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The main partner will be OPIAC (Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon), which are articulated to the local organizations and represent the 56 ethnic groups of the 6 departments of the region. The articulation will be made effective through the School of Political Formation - OPIAC; who currently have a training process for Amazonian leaders (2 years), which total more than 80 young graduates. With OPIAC and its School, there is a two-year collaboration process in the development of information technologies with a focus on socio-environmental innovation, which translates into the first information system for Amazonian indigenous peoples-(https: // www.opiacescuela-copaiba.info/copia-de-inicio). For Phases 2, 3 and 4 other local allies will be added, for the Putumayo - OZIP (Zonal Indigenous Organization of Putumayo) and for the Caquetá, The Association of Cabildos of High Caqueta River ASCAINCA and ACIBAC -Association of Indigenous Cabildos of Lower Caquetá.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The young people articulated to the School, have great initiative to lead processes in their communities and be the replacement of the current authorities, they are multipliers of knowledge in their territories and many of them keep traditional knowledge articulated to western education process. Of the more than 80 graduates, at least 60% hold management positions in their communities or organizations and others have followed their professional training, demonstrating leadership qualities.

Geographic Focus

Colombian six departments of the Amazon region with an emphasis in Caquetá and Putumayo.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

30 months distributed: - 6 months: Getting ready: tools and logistics. - 12 months: “Labs on territorial re-thinking” and “Ecology Innovation Labs for Peace Culture”. - 12 months: Youth in action and Amazonian Territorial Network.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

31 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Anjali Nayar
Team

Hi Proterra - there are obviously a lot of overlaps in our work. If you'd like to chat more about the innovation side of what you are working on, please let us know -- you can check out a bit more about TIMBY on our website (timby.org) or through our project proposal in the Bridgebuilder challenge. Thanks and fantastic work!

Photo of Proterra
Team

Hello Anjali Nayar !

Thank you for your comment and questions!
Congratulations on that awesome platform, we are working on the construction of the Information System COPAIBA (http://www.opiacescuela-copaiba.info/copia-de-inicio) one of the ideas is to create an IT such as yours so we can report social and environmental conflicts of the territories. We see timby is really complete and based on the African needs, do you plan make it available for different contexts?

Photo of Anjali Nayar
Team

Hi Proterra - we're actually working with a few groups in South America and the app works in both Spanish and Portuguese (translating to a local language takes about an hour). The people we work with are pretty diverse in their requirements so the app is quite flexible, and we can make modifications to it as required. We'd love to chat more about your project! Feel free to contact us at info@timby.org and we can set up a call

Photo of Luz Gallo
Team

Hi Proterra,
Indeed, working with ethnic communities in Colombia is key in times like these and in those territories where many valuable program can't get there. I'm interested on knowing more about how the pilot is going and what have you learned and adjust rom the original idea based on the results of it.

Photo of Proterra
Team

Luz Gallo Thank you for your comment and question,
We have learned the importance of working with young people but with this the need of a cross generational dialogue, some traditional organizations or authorities have been resistant to some activities planned, so, giving a proper presentation to the project aims in reiterative ways and with the company of the National Organization is necessary. Within this, the importance of pedagogy and inclusive languages where all students (experienced and not experienced), youngsters and elders, can relate to every aspect of the information given and the developed activities
On the other hand, we are still with the challenge of ensure the continuity of the students in all the activities as well as stablishing the accurate indicators and methods for measuring and monitoring social and communitary abilities.
I hope this answers your question, let us know of more comments or doubts!

Photo of Proterra
Team

Luz Gallo Thank you for your comment and question,
We have learned the importance of working with young people but with this the need of a cross generational dialogue, some traditional organizations or authorities have been resistant to some activities planned, so, giving a proper presentation to the project aims in reiterative ways and with the company of the National Organization is necessary. Within this, the importance of pedagogy and inclusive languages where all students (experienced and not experienced), youngsters and elders, can relate to every aspect of the information given and the developed activities
On the other hand, we are still with the challenge of ensure the continuity of the students in all the activities as well as stablishing the accurate indicators and methods for measuring and monitoring social and communitary abilities.
I hope this answers your question, let us know of more comments or doubts!

Photo of Vidhya Shanker
Team

Thanks you for this great work! We have similar goals and processes in building Ta-Valema Learning Lab--would love to compare notes. Harmonizing with animals, plants, and minerals, instead of conquering, domesticating, or capitalizing on them, is inherently nonviolent.

I'm curious to know how you are defining "leadership"--what traditions are you drawing from?

Photo of Proterra
Team

Vidhya Shanker 
Thank you for your comment and question, in deed both our projects have a lot of similarities.
We understand leadership as the capabilities of action and communication towards recognition of cultural identity, appropriation and defense of the territory, developed through team work with the traditional systems and organizations of decision making.

Photo of Vidhya Shanker
Team

Interestingly enough, these map on almost exactly to how we are conceptualizing it--thanks. And we had originally intended to worth with youth but have since broadened our age range and scope based on the interests of the community. We continue to tie their struggle to that of indigenous and anticolonial/ decolonizing efforts worldwide and would love to be in continued conversation with you.

Photo of Proterra
Team

Yes! Vidhya Shanker we could see your project works primarily with early childhood but involving all the other members of the community, especially with the co-ops, we found this idea fantastic for the sustainability of the community itself! Let’s stay in touch so we can continue the conversation our email is contacto@colectivoproterra.org

Photo of Vidhya Shanker
Team

Definitely--have been at a conference but would love to, Proterra 

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Proterra  great to have you in the Challenge! I'd love to understand in a bit more detail how your program works? How do you select youth leaders, how many are there? What would be the ideal outcome you'd hope to see them achieve?

Also curious if Luz Gallo has any questions?

Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Proterra
Team

Hello Ashley, thank you for your time and your questions,
We seek to enhance territorial appropriation and knowledge for a better decision making and defense of the traditional indigenous territories. We are working with young leaders as our experience have shown us their creativity and interests in these initiatives, also as there are sensible to their realties and agents that transform different environments (family, school, university, organization, community).
Our program works in four different phases, in the way of encounters.
The first one is “Territorial re thinking Lab” which will be developed in the six departments of the Colombian amazon region. The aspects that are going to be considered are the environmental memory and perspective of the territory related not only to natural but also to social and cultural dynamics, looking to understand the conflicts and drivers for change and the wanted territories to make visible differences and conform commitments around actions towards them.
The second phase is the “Ecology innovation labs for Peace culture” this activity is for now focused on Caquetá and Putumayo departments as they are being widely affected by deforestation. Here the tools given and constructed with the leaders are going to be more political and social with a big emphasis on peace culture, and nonviolent conflict resolution, complimented with economic tools.
The economic part then so, is going to be strengthened by focusing on budget management and project generation with the forth face “Youth in action” in which the young leaders in partnership with their communities and organizations are going to present projects that are going to be financed and developed, these projects may be oriented to productive alternatives and mitigation of climate change and reduction of deforestation.
Lastly, a network would be waved (by the activities described before) and with all the local, regional and national organizations, in these we expect territorial planning and public advocacy at work throughout commitments between the actors of the territories.
Then so, we expect of all the young leaders to communicate assertively and to contribute to decision making towards sustainable territories, these based on their knowledge and asserted links between traditional and occidental knowledge’s, being able to contribute to the “Good living” of their communities and the continued existence of their cultures.
Finally, the leaders are selected with different criteria stablished by the own traditional organizations, the criteria are based: representation of the different cultures and local organizations, have attitude and interest on leaderships and also that they have interests on replicating on the knowledges and interest on working on their communities and hold management positions in their traditional organizations then so continuing their leadership training.

Hope we answered your questions,

Kind regards

Photo of Emma Hague
Team

Fascinating project in scope and breadth. I wonder if you could provide a few more details on the "socio-economic tools" that this project will develop and use, to better understand potential overlap with our tool for facilitating Free, Prior and Informed Consent processes?

Photo of Proterra
Team

Thank you Emma Hague  for your question,
The socioeconomic tools developed within three aspects education, legal and productive.
The education tools are focused on collective memory processes for recognition of cultural identity and appropriation of the territory. The legal aspects are related to the political and participatory scenarios, this aspect seek to strengthen the local and regional organization structures towards decision making and environmental policy (This is the one I think our projects link the most). Finally, the productive one is more related to productive alternatives and budget execution.
Some of these tools are already created and others are in construction and as we say in the project description, the idea is to co-create them with the beneficiaries of the activities.

Photo of Emma Hague
Team

Fantastic. Thanks for clarifying - yes I agree on the overlap there. Perhaps if you are connected with communities through your work who are facing the potential need to engage in FPIC processes and who might be willing to pilot our existing framework then there could be opportunity to collaborate.

Photo of Proterra
Team

Yes Emma, our email is contacto@colectivoproterra.org so we can stay in touch and see those potencial beneficiaries for FPIC.

Photo of Leah Gage
Team

Wow! Thank you Proterra team for your wonderful project and work and for your involvement on this platform that made you easy to find! As an environmental activists and peace builder dedicated to indigenous rights advocacy I love seeing projects such as these, focusing on social ecological relationships. Have you connected with Cultural Survival to feature the work you are doing? I would love to continue to connect with you on your projects.

Photo of Proterra
Team

Leah Gage Thank you for your comment !
We are excited and committed with this project!
We haven’t made any connection with Cultural Survival, however we do know their job. Do you think they would be interesting in this kind of initiatives or have any idea of how we can connect?

Photo of Leah Gage
Team

Hi! Yes I think they would be very interested. I will be working with them starting in July when I am back in the US and would be happy to inquire on connecting with them. Please send me an email so I can stay in touch with you! @ lgage@sandiego.edu

Photo of Daniela Salamanca Cortés
Team

Parabens, gosto muito do projeto. Sucesso !

Photo of Proterra
Team

Obrigado! Daniela Salamanca Cortés 

Photo of Karuna Kline
Team

Have you thought about how you will reach out to and include other groups/companies/organizations who are currently or potentially causing harm, either environmental or through other means of conflict, to the table?

Photo of Proterra
Team

Karuna Kline Thank you for your question!
The whole projects seek to identify what actors (groups, companies, organizations)
that intervene in the territory, then built leadership capacities that can creatively and nonviolently mediate different interests, all of these leading up to the fourth phase were encounters between leaders and actors of the territories of Caquetá and Putumayo departments will come together so they can stablish agreements and compromises towards territorial management and development.

Photo of Karuna Kline
Team

Thank you for clarifying. It sounds like an exciting project! I'm curious about what kind of leadership skills you have identified as being key in this process and will focus on developing with your group? Do you have specific ones in mind or is this something that you are still developing?

Photo of John Caulker
Team

I appreciate the focus on indigenous actors and knowledge. How are you/will you be working to bring indigenous voices and knowledge into the more formal peace and governance processes they have been excluded from, so that the broader population and country can learn and benefit from them?

Photo of Proterra
Team

John Caulker thank you for your comments!

Recovering and strengthening traditional knowledge structures as well as intergenerational dialogue, since we know the importance of these knowledge and the need to make them visible at a national level and link them to the processes that are carried out in relation to peace culture, however, we also know and the communities let us know how the new generations are little interested in traditional knowledge, so our first step is to fortify them and link the young people as the agents of political and cultural construction of their territories. The visibilization of the traditional knowledge and the close up to the western ones will take place through the already established strategies like the information technologies that at the same time worked as a strategy of cultural appropriation.

With this, then we work on the participation spaces that are generated within the local, regional and national organizations with which we work hand in hand. These scenarios allow to give voice to the new generations and to the different actors in the territory, allowing to mediate and generate agreements regarding territorial management.

This project is articulated with the processes and legal spaces created by the OPIAC (Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon) that represent the 56 different types of ethnic groups or indigenous peoples, there is a legally constituted space that is the Amazon Regional Table (MRA), where its negotiated public policy with the national government, so that the voice of the people, the wisdom, the results, and the initiatives of the peace ecology labs, could be raised to the State for the official structures within the peace process in Colombia, such as the Truth Commission, the Special jurisdiction for peace, and the post-conflict ministry, and t can also be proposed within the Amazon to propose topics related to the environment and peace. to the national government
It can also be proposed within the Indigenous Amazon Environmental and climate change Table (MIAAC) which is also another legally constituted board, to propose topics related to the environment and peace to the national government.

Thank you for your question, because it made us think about how to link more to the national processes and how to establish better visibility strategies to the other Colombian populations that do not know about the Amazonian reality of the country.

Photo of Laura Benito
Team

Very interesting project that has a huge benefit potential

Photo of Proterra
Team

Laura Benito  thank you for the support !

Photo of Gina Lopez
Team

A project with a lot of sense that responds to the current needs of country. Proposals like these are very important for move towards the construction of integral peace in our territories.

Photo of Proterra
Team

Gina Lopez Thank you for the support! Working alongside with traditional cultures is one step that needs to be taken for the consolidation of peace culture in Colombia.