Above: Shipibo women discussing their hopes and dreams for the future during the Village Earth facilitatedworkshops, ironically, over a broken water well.
Village Earth accepted the invitation of the Inti Wayna foundation, a local Peruvian NGO, and made an initial trip to visit with Shipibo-Conibo people from 12 villages in the region in January 2005. To get a glimpse of the Shipibo’s hopes and dreams for the future, we conducted participatory workshops in each village. Many women, men, and children of all ages participated enthusiastically and showed a genuine concern for the well-being of fellow villagers. Deeply embedded environmental values suggest bright prospects to achieve success in this region.
These are a few priorities that were expressed in the workshops: Clean drinking water, increased educational opportunities, better access to healthcare, botanic gardens to provide natural medicine to villagers, preservation of biodiversity and forests, eco-tourism projects and spiritually-guided tours, sustainable alternative agriculture production, small-scale fish farming businesses, a river transportation company, and alternative energy sources for villages that currently have no electricity.
Overall, these initial participatory community consultations proved highly successful and have set the stage for further training sessions in self-determined sustainable community development in the region.
Below: Workshop Participants with local pottery in the foreground.