The role of indigenous women in forest conservation
Since 1983, every September 5 is celebrated the International Day of Indigenous Women, a date in which tribute is paid to all women who guard the ancestral traditions and resources of their communities.
What is the history of this celebration?
According to the ONIC (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia), this day was established as the International Day of Indigenous Women in honor of the struggle of Bartolina Sisa, an Aymara indigenous brutally murdered in 1782, who represented the indigenous resistance to Spanish colonization.
Historically, it symbolizes the thoughts of thousands of indigenous women, who have given their lives for the dignity and recognition of their rights and that of indigenous peoples.
How are indigenous women involved in REDD + Projects?
REDD + projects, which aim to contribute to the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also seek social well-being, improve the quality of life of communities and promote gender equity.
All conservation projects, developed by BIOFIX in conjunction with ethnic communities under the REDD + methodology, have lines of action of social impact in which indigenous or Afro women play an important role in participation.
Mainly, in the projects carried out with Indigenous Reservations in the Vichada and Guaviare departments, women have managed to have an active participation and spaces have been created to listen to their voice and make decisions.
Although there is a long way to go in terms of female participation within indigenous peoples, there are already safeguards linked to conservation projects that seek for women to have the same participation as men to establish gender equality within their communities.
Proof of this are the YAAWI IIPANA REDD +, PALAMEKU KUWEI REDD +, BANAKALE - ISIMALI REDD + AND KALIAWIRI REDD + projects, which rely on women to advance the different projects carried out in each reservation, always remembering that women can be participants of any activity that is carried out.
We still have to continue working so that, in the future, the female voice has the same force in all indigenous communities. That is why today, we pay special tribute to the women who work hard to care for and protect the forests and customs of their communities in REDD + projects, and for representing the harmony between society and nature.
"Participation in decision-making in the reservation is equitable, always the same, and the opinion of women is respected." Ana Elsa Ponare Bonilla of the Santa Teresita del Tuparro Indigenous Reservation of the BANAKALE - ISIMALI REDD + Project.
"Women are already organizing themselves to form an assembly of women, so that they themselves begin to project what they need and what they want and I, as the Cabildo, want the participation of women to be more active."
Wilson Arias Gaitán, Governor's Council of the La Llanura Indigenous Reservation, belonging to the BANAKALE - ISIMALI REDD + Project.
"Before there was no participation of women within the reservation, now we do see the participation of women in scenarios and in decision-making."
Beatriz Ponare from the Santa Teresita del Tuparro Indigenous Reservation of the BANAKALE - ISIMALI REDD + Project.
"It is still difficult for us to speak in meetings because it is very difficult to change things in a short time, but we are working to improve, because when we speak, men respect our opinions."
Gilma Cariban Mancipe of the La Llanura Indigenous Reservation, belonging to the BANAKALE - ISIMALI REDD + Project.