What it means to be KICHWA: The Living Community
(Initiated in the Rehearsing Change program)
The Kichwa community of Tzawata literally sits on top of a gold mine, resulting in global pressures to access its natural resources. Cultural identity is at risk; youth equate their language and traditions with a quickly dying past, and because the Amazon region’s natural resources produce 44% of Ecuador’s revenue (src: Bloomberg), Tzawata’s situation is representative of hundreds of communities.
Further complicating the situation, the vast majority of Ecuadorians have never visited the Amazon and do not understand the peoples’ stories/conflicts. This project, initiated in our Rehearsing Change program, is a multi-faceted effort to strengthen collective identity. To date, elements of the project have included:
Part 1: Language preservation and promotion among community youth to highlight the importance of the Kichwa language as part of cultural identity. Activities included summer camps and arts-based workshops.
Part 2: Linking identity to income generation and inter-community outreach via the promotion of a community-based tourism initiative. Activities included integrating "authentic" activities into current tourism endeavors.
Part 3 - Connecting women, traditional identity and the struggle for land via the cultivation and promotion of medicinal plants. Activities include the construction of a medicinal plant garden and providing women opportunities to organize and lead project development processes.
Direct Beneficiaries: 30. Indirect Beneficiaries: 60