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Forest Guides teaching youth to lead the Amazon wisely

  • 33 indigenous leaders of 5 indigenous people are highly fit to teach in their communities about forest management. The classes are focused on youth from 12 to 16 years old.
To achieve a sustainable Amazon, free of deforestation, with a population committed to its conservation. It is necessary to strengthen knowledge and generate mechanisms that promote the development of local communities and indigenous peoples. Bearing in mind their needs and the existence of more than 51 indigenous peoples with unique cultural and linguistic diversity. It makes the Amazon in Peru an invaluable paradise.

At the same time, the multicultural nature of the Peruvian Amazon makes it difficult for the population to access information. It has generated a debt of more than 34 million USD dollars approx in fines. Some are due to a lack of declarations of extractions or unauthorized mobilization of forest and wildlife resources in native communities. According to Agency for the Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (Osinfor) data, Intercultural Forum at ExpoAmazónica 2022.

“Sometimes the communities make wrong decisions because we don't know. This prompted me to learn about forest management and wildlife. Today, I am proud to be able to teach what I learned in my community speaking my native language. All the brothers in the community will understand just like me. They are very interested in learning.” It is how the leader Jans Clímaco Rengifo of the native Puija community reflects his satisfaction. He is part of the first Intercultural Training Program for Trainers in Community Forest Management "Forest Guides" (PIFFMFC), led by The National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR).

The program began in 2018, and in 2022 graduated 33 forest guides. Highly trained indigenous leaders to teach young people from their communities between the ages of 12 and 16 about forest management in their territories. Some of the topics they develop are the roles that the state has in forest management, how a community is governed, what are life plans, the step-by-step process to request rights of enabling titles, etc.

“After learning the theory, the most interesting thing came. The teachers taught us pedagogical methodologies to teach young people. I learned that each age has a strategy for learning. Young people are more competitive. Adults seek practical knowledge, such as creating a farm or an agroforestry system.” In this way, Dnsti Kevin Sebastian Casique, a student from the training program, explains her experience in the program. The students learned pedagogical methodologies that allow them to teach in the best way.

Today Dnsti is one of the first forest guides of the Chicosa native community located in the Atalaya district. He wanted to give back to his community everything he learned. In addition, he was still looking for a way to carry it out. “The teachers taught us strategies and motivated us. Today, I am wisely training the future leaders of our communities''. Another point to highlight in this process is women's participation, mentioned by Jans Clímaco Rengifo. “Integrate women have been essential for the entire community to feel engaged. They have leadership abilities with which they can collaborate. In the beginning, their attendance was difficult. Little by little they became empowered.”

The Intercultural Training Program for Trainers in Community Forest Management has been a success thanks to the preparation of the SERFOR specialists. They learned to teach dynamically. But above all respecting the worldview and ancestral knowledge of the participants. In addition, the program does not end with the training. It has a subsequent process of replicas and actions in the communities. This makes it a comprehensive program that responds to the needs of indigenous peoples. Also, bring technical knowledge to those who truly need it.

On the other hand, the articulation led by SERFOR involved OSINFOR, the Ucayali Regional Forestry, and Wildlife Management and international cooperation. It was fundamental to making the program happen. “WWF, within the framework of the Wildlife and Forests Alliance, has promoted these efforts to strengthen the capacities of indigenous peoples. In this way, they are prepared to defend and manage their territories better”, Alonso Córdova, Deputy Director of the action by the Wildlife and Forests Alliance, financed by the European Union.

"The Alliance supported the program design by sharing experiences in strengthening Indigenous Territorial Governance, and WWF as part of the Pedagogical Advisory Committee of the training program contributed to generating synergies and facilitation support for the implementation of the PIFFMFC" Alonso added.

Intercultural Training Program for Trainers in Community Forest Management "Forest Guides"

The National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) of the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation carried out the Intercultural Training Program for Trainers in Community Forest Management (PIFFMFC). This program is known as Forest Guides. The objective is to contribute to developing and strengthening technical capacities in indigenous communities regarding the management and sustainable management of forest resources.

The participation of partners such as the Aidesep Ucayali Regional Organization (ORAU), the Regional Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples of Atalaya (CORPIAA), the Regional Union of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon of the Atalaya Province (URPIA), the Ucayali Regional Forestry and Wildlife Management (GERFFS) and Law, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR).

In addition, with the support of allies such as WWF within the framework of the Wildlife and Forest Alliance with funding from the European Union (EU). The USAID Probosques project and the FOREST program of USAID and the United States Forest Service.