Training program seeks to strengthen the role of indigenous women in sustainable value chains

A group of 32 women from several indigenous communities along the Madeira and Purus rivers, in southern Amazonas, will benefit from a new training opportunity this year. Since the second half of 2020, local indigenous organizations have been engaged in planning and developing the training activities to expand local knowledge on the female role in sustainable value chains. These organizations identified and appointed participants to enroll in the training program. 

The training program – Entre Parentas – is part of a project known as Nossa Terra II (Our Land II): Indigenous Territorial Management in Southern Amazonas. Nossa Terra II is one component of the Sustainable Value Chain Program, Territorial and Environmental Management of Protected Areas in the Amazon, run by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB) together with other PCAB partners, including Native Amazon Operation (OPAN) and eight indigenous organizations. This will be Nossa Terra II’s first initiative targeted to engage  women.

The training program will start with online sessions, followed by practical activities developed by the participants in their own communities. Course topics include the role of women in the social organization of production and best economic practices; improving project management skills; and the introduction of new technologies.

Preparation – When the program was being discussed last year, the Union of Indigenous Women of the Amazon (UMIAB) joined planning sessions and contributed to the development of content. This content acknowledges the current reality of indiginious women and their role in their communities. 

"We expect Entre Parentas to enable us to recognize our value in the production chain. This value goes far beyond commercial aspects, not least because it includes our current  practices and our knowledge, which are valuable for the maintenance of traditional ways of life," said indigenous leader Cris Pankararu at the opening of the online course modeling workshop, held in Madeira last year. 

For Maria Parintintim, a member of the Parintintim do Amazonas Indigenous Peoples Organization (OPIPAM), this training opportunity came at a very good time. "Women and girls engaged in various sustainable value chains, such as Brazil nuts, for example, should also be involved in marketing our products – something usually done by men. We ought to have a say in pricing our products to learn how to value our own work," she added.

Threats – Southern Amazonas is home to 50 indigenous lands, which add up to an area of almost 8 million hectares, including 12 federal Protected Areas. They are under constant threat from illegal deforestation, land grabbing, and mining; that is why it is so important to strengthen the implementation of the National Policy for Land and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands (PNGATI).

In order to achieve protection of indigenous lands, it is critical to reinforce the role of indigenous associations, encouraging the consolidation of sustainable production practices and socioenvironmental governance.

For over 10 years, IEB has worked on socio biodiversity value chains, with a focus on indigenous peoples living in the state of Amazonas. It prioritizes training and advisory activities adjusted to local realities, facilitating and supporting training programs and the collective organization of indigenous peoples and extractive communities. 

The first Nossa Terra project was implemented between 2016 and 2019 with the aim of strengthening indigenous territorial management in southern Amazonas. At the time, 330 indigenous people benefited from training initiatives, 115 of whom were women.