The Sani Isla Community
About the Sani Isla
Sani Isla is a community nestled along the Napo river deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon, between the famed Yasuní National Park and Cuyabeno Natural Reserve under the Orellana and Sucumbios Provinces. The Napo River flows away from the eastern slopes of the Andes through the Amazon towards Peru, making this region one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.
The Sani Isla community’s main source of income prior to working with RP, was from forestry and ecotourism. Although the Sani Lodge, their community ecotourism project, helped with continued community development, it was not enough. The community faces increasing pressure to open up their lands for oil prospecting, which they have consistently refused to do.
Our Work With the Sani Isla People
During initial visits by Rainforest Partnership and our partner in Ecuador Conservación y Desarrollo (CyD), the women in the community expressed their desire to revitalize traditional handicrafts. The handicrafts could provide a new income stream from sustainably sourced forest materials and help promote the traditional artisan practices of the Kichwa, strengthening their self identity and celebrating their way of life while protecting their forest home. The Sani Warmi project began in 2009.
The community of Sani Isla is located on the borders of the Yasuní National Park and Cuyabeno Natural Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.
Initially settled by three families, Sani Isla today boasts around 75 families and 600 inhabitants.
Threats from prospecting and drilling for oil will continue in Sani Isla for the foreseeable future, barring some change in Ecuadorian constitution or law.
In 2009, Rainforest Partnership in collaboration with our Ecuadorian nonprofit partner Conservación y Desarrollo developed the Kichwa Arts and Crafts business, based on the traditional craft making techniques of the women of Sani Isla. The project now runs in partnership with the community-owned Sani Lodge.
We are currently working to expand their Sani Lodge project, training new employees and promoting the ecolodge to a larger audience.