KEY FACTS

LOCATION

The Peruvian Achuar community live near Peru’s remote border with Ecuador, along the Pastaza, Marañon and Corrientes river basins. The community is based in the Maynas province.

POPULATION

The Achuar are a community of 12,200 individuals living in 44 distinct, smaller communities spread out over nearly 2 million acres of rainforest.

THREATS

Dire threats from oil companies exploring and drilling for oil deeper in this region impact the community’s way of life and the rainforest’s biodiversity.

PROJECT PLAN

Create a socio-economic business model that values Achuar culture and traditions through the sustainable use of natural resources.

As custodians of the rainforest, the Achuar maintain a rich culture, including endemic systems of economic and social organization. But the community and their rainforest home have come under dire threats from oil companies exploring and drilling for oil deeper in the region and upending the balance between the community and the forest including impacting countless species of fauna and flora many of which are endangered. The Achuar territory encompasses tributaries to the Amazon river whose headwaters are the lowland Amazon rainforest. Oil extraction activities in some parts of the Achuar land could be devastating to vast areas of the rainforest home of the Achuar.

The Achuar leaders had approached us over two years ago to work with them to develop sustainable income sources for their people so that they could continue protecting their forest and their way of life. Empowering the community economically, as desired by the Achuar leadership and us, will help them maintain their strong voice in opposing the intrusion of powerful outside interests that would disrupt their forest and their culture while providing them with the tools to take advantage of the abundant natural wealth that can be derived from keeping the rainforests standing.

Traditional medicine plays a very important role in the Achuar culture and way of life, connecting all the 44 distinct communities. But even though the Achuar community is endowed with the innate knowledge to create traditional medicines the community lacks the necessary infrastructure as well as the skills to successfully market their products and services outside of their territory and create a steady income.

We are seeking support to help the community build a traditional medicinal center and thus create a socio-economic business model that would value the Achuar culture and traditional livelihood through the sustainable use of natural resources.

The traditional medicinal center which will be built in the prominent Wijint community in the Achuar territory, will seek to protect both the cultural heritage of Achuar, as well as the biodiversity in the area. Along with providing the Achuar the critical infrastructure support to carry out activities and host patients from far-off locations, the medicinal center will also give the Achuar the opportunity to train community members and exchange traditional knowledge between the different communities in their territory.

The design of the traditional medicinal center based on the customs of the Achuar community has already been completed and a detailed project budget including the cost of materials and labor have also been drawn up.

This project will engage the Achuar community in stewardship of their ancestral medicinal knowledge, while simultaneously empowering them with a sustainable economy that will provide long-term benefits to both the community and the biodiversity of the rainforest region.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Build a traditional medical center

Construct a common community well for clean water

Host workshops for producing traditional medicine

Help find markets for the Achuar people to sell their medicine and crafts

Provide cultural and environmental education

Site visits and field coordination

DID YOU KNOW?

The Achuar living in the Corrientes River Basin area are near and in the Pucacuro National Reserve. The reserve is about 1,576,418 acres and is in the middle of the “Napo Moist Forest”, a unique kind of flooded, marsh-like rainforest. There are 500 species of birds, 150 species of fish, 140 species of mammals (including the rare species of Goeldi’s marmoset), 94 species of amphibians and 91 reptiles.