Restoring the Biocultural Fabric of the Amazonian Sapara People through Women's Artwork

Category Nature Conservation

Our project categories represent one of three core solutions pathways to solving climate change. Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as Indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers, and community agriculture.

The Sapara People are the caretakers of a vast portion of the Ecuadorian Amazon Forest, yet the biocultural fabric of the Sapara in the Pastaza region of the Amazon is under extreme threat.

Seven exploration blocks have been issued since 2021, with two contracts signed in 2016.

Thanks to the tireless efforts and leadership of Gloria Ushigua and the Association of Sapara Women of Ecuador Ashiniawka, oil exploration has been halted. While “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” has been established regarding Indigenous territories, the contracts have not been canceled, so the threat is still present.

For decades, Sapara women have seen how oil companies undermine the social, cultural, and ecological fabric of their lives, inciting their men to consent and accept oil exploration as “the only way out of poverty.” Today, 100% of the Sapara community has broken ties with oil companies and the government and is entirely on board with maintaining the forest and respecting its beauty.

Through crafting art pieces derived from forest materials, this project supports the Ashiniawka as they defend the cultural and territorial heritage of Sapara by strengthening women’s rights and promoting the equitable participation of women in political, cultural, and social spaces.

Gloria Ushigua fully backs this initiative because she knows that by generating income for local families, this project will inspire other communities to stop interacting with oil companies and support the collective demand to keep the forest alive and help protect the integrity of Indigenous territories.

With funding, the whole of the Sapara territory will benefit from this project, as women and families will be trained in a workshop on how to make a living from seeds and feathers shed by the forest. Each woman will also be supported in planting at least ten new seed-giving trees per family every season.

A second workshop will expand to the remaining communities within the territory, such as the Suraka, Cuyacocha, Llanchama, and Masarama. The business plan consists of creating a seasonal catalog of designs made by the Indigenous artisans and promoted on owned social media channels.

The purchase of the equipment will enable collaborators to make designs for new collections and include photos in their catalogs. A database of products will be created and prepared for content on Instagram and TikTok.

Additionally, the purchase of smartphones and video equipment will enable the project to produce short videos for their business account on social media. The videos will ask potential buyers to "enter in communion with the Amazon Rainforest" and show women collecting seeds and working on their craft.

Through this program, international supporters of protecting the Sapara Territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon can obtain beautiful art pieces and help spread the mission of saving the rainforest.

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Your contribution will help ensure the long term success of this important project. Gifts can be made as a tribute to a friend or family member and are tax-deductible for U.S. residents. Please contact us!