Helping nature’s greatest guardians
Strategic Area: People
Content Type: Blog
Because of compassionate people like you, indigenous communities in southern Ecuador have received the help they so desperately needed.
After two months, Washington Tiwi, President of the Provincial Federation of the Shuar Nationality of Zamora Chinchipe (FEPNASh-ZCh), returned home to join his family. He had left his community, the Shuar Kiim Center, to take care of his father who was infected with COVID-19.
Like his father, Washington and many Shuar community members suffered the ravages of the disease. By July, more than 80% of the Shuar Kiim Center had been infected with COVID-19.
The Shuar Kiim Center is a 45-minute drive from Zamora, a city in southern Ecuador. The community isolated themselves in March when COVID-19 began spreading in the country. No longer able to sell the surplus of their crops, families found themselves with no income and limited food sources and supplies. 140 community members were forced to survive on root vegetables, sugar cane, plantains, and papayas.
Community members were finally able to acquire additional supplies after three months in isolation. However, exposure led to COVID-19 spreading within their community. Lacking basic medicine and far from healthcare services, the Shuar Kiim struggled to respond to the outbreak.
Thanks to you, Nature and Culture International together with the FEPNASh-ZCh and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon have provided aid to the Shuar Kiim and other indigenous communities in southern Ecuador. With your support, we have safely supplied 100 families, around 500 people, with food and cleaning equipment.
“With help from our donors, we can continue supporting communities that have been our conservation partners,” said Nature and Culture conservationist Trotsky Riera Vite.
Your generosity is making a difference in the lives of these families, and helping ensure the protection of endangered ecosystems.
Indigenous communities have shaped forests and other landscapes around the world for thousands of years, accumulating unparalleled knowledge of the land and understanding of ecosystem management. Today, these communities are the last defense for many endangered ecosystems against increasing threats like logging, cattle ranching, and mining.
Shuar communities have been working with Nature and Culture for 15 years to protect Ecuador’s biodiverse yet threatened tropical forests. In 2008, Nature and Culture supported the Shuar Kiim Center in establishing part of their territory as protected forest.
Despite recent health and economic challenges, communities remain committed to conservation. Currently, the Shuar Kiim are working towards declaring their territory as a community conservation area within Ecuador’s National System of Protected Areas.
Washington hopes that everything returns to normal so that he and his people can continue fighting for a single cause: protecting their forest home.
Thank you for sending help to nature’s guardians! You are making a difference for these communities – and for the planet.