Health and Interculturality in Ecuadorian Amazon

Febrero 2018

Sacha Warmi’s publication in "Kindle Project"

In the world of projects, other than what is done in the field, what often ends up being most interesting is what happens behind the scenes. We do things, and other things happen, which then creates more things, and so on and so forth...

To read more... :

December 2017

Workshop with Canelos youth (Nov. 22 and Dec.16, 2017)

On December 16, the second meeting took place. The youth declared that they want to learn to speak their Kichwa language well, and to train in the areas of producing ceramics, natural medicine, songs, dances, and traditional music. As they ended this second meeting, they formed their group, which they named “Canelos Kawsay” and elected their coordinator.
Adult women from the group Kuyan Kuyan Warmi encouraged the youth during the meeting.

Thanks to the economic contributions derived from the workshop on medicinal plants and natural remedies that took place on the days of November 11-12, a group of 15 youth from the community of Canelos participated in the meeting at Sacha Warmi Center to continue reflecting about their current situation and to propose a series of ideas and activities which they would like to carry out for the youth in their community.

Workshop on medicinal plants and natural remedies

Fourteen persons from various parts of the country participated in this initial workshop. The economic contributions from this event made it possible the workshop with the youth of Canelos. (see below)

100 patients treated by French Osteopaths

Between November 14 and 18, osteopaths from France treated nearly 100 patients at no cost in the communities of Canelos, San Jacinto (Tena), Arajuno and at Sacha Warmi Center.

Intercultural Health program

Since the month of October 2017, a previous process of informed consultation is becoming established with the members of the communities belonging to the Association of Indigenous Communities of Arajuno, (ACIA), located in the Northeast region of the province of Pastaza, in order to continue talk about the subject of intercultural health and agree on the training of intercultural health agents. It is expected that the selection of the candidates will be finalized for the beginning of the course in March of 2018.

Such course will take place in concert with the Center of Intercultural Medical Studies (CEMI) of Bogota (Colombia).

November 2017

Campaign to support women potters Kichwa Canelos

"The finest traditional ceramics to be found in Amazonian South America are deeply embedded in the culture, history, mythology, cosmology, ecology, and contemporary lives of the Canelos Quichua-speaking people of eastern Ecuador”
(Norman E. Whitten, JR., in: "Rainforest Visions - Amazonian Ceramics from Ecuador", Crocker Museum, Sacramento, California”, 2015)

Thank you for supporting the initiative of the Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna group of women from Canelos to ensure the preservation of this tradition, which contribute to maintain and reaffirm their cultural identity.

(Donations can be made through PayPal)

Rosa Canelos y Didier Lacaze - Sacha Warmi Muskuy

September – October 2017

Participation of Sacha Warmi Muskuy in the Fifth Latin American Congress and Second Ecuadorian Congress of Ethnobiology. Quito, September 17 – 20, 2017.

In his presentation, “Talking about health…. Making ceramics”, Didier Lacaze spoke about the experience of working with the Kichwa women ceramicists of Canelos, showing how in the process of practicing ceramics it was possible to touch on many health issues, and how the transmission of this traditional knowledge between the mature and the young women allows a reaffirmation of cultural identity. Furthermore, the promotion of indigenous culture enhances the self – esteem, confidence, and the capacity for self management of those who practice it.

Video on youtube :
Audiovisual (13 min.) Edited by Sacha Warmi Muskuy for the sharing of the activities and the results obtained for the project: “Possibilities for development from one’s own culture with an intercultural vision.”

July - August 2017

Women, family and territory programme: supporting the group Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna

In the month of July, Ernestina Vargas, the president of the group Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna, from Canelos, took part in the seminar “Giving birth; amongst wisdom, power and tradition”.

The relationship between the formal health system and the indigenous midwives goes a long way back. In the last few years, there has been a new approach between the state and traditional midwives. Nevertheless, indigenous women don’t feel that they receive the treatment and recognition they disserve from the formal health system. The issue of receiving a fair economic compensation for the important work they do, still isn’t resolved. Meanwhile the midwife’s role remains key with regards to reducing maternal/infant mortality and reducing the excess number of caesareans in the world.

SWM provided support to coordinate the trip and the participation of Ernestina in the event. Soon Cipacuna will do a publication about the event…

Fundraising campaign to support the group Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna

The multidisciplinary centre for investigations of traditional wisdom CIPACUNA and Sacha Warmi Muskuy join forces for the launching of a campaign to support the group of Kichwa women Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna in Canelos. The goal of this campaign is to fundraise $1500 to cover the administrative costs for the legalization of this women’s association, as well as to be able to set up a fund to purchase a stock of unique ceramic pieces from the women of Canelos, which will be exhibited in their ceramic workshop and at the centre Sacha Warmi.

More news about this campaign in the following news bulletin...

Intercultural health program

“Many reports and studies from around the world, show that on a daily basis, indigenous people suffer from considerable levels of racism and discrimination from the occidental health services, amongst other factors, due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the indigenous cosmovision with regards to health.”

(State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2009)

The programme of intercultural health is been carried out together with the association of indigenous communities of Arajuno, ACIA, in the province of Pastaza and with the Ceibo Alliance in Lago Agrio, who integrate and work with Siona, Siekopai, Ai’Kofan and Waorani communities. Furthermore various activities and conversations have taken place, with other kichwa communities in the province of Pastaza and Napo.

Arajuno Region

The 22 of September, in coordination with the association of indigenous communities of Arajuno, ACIA, we gathered up with 11 people from 6 indigenous communities and one of the leaders from ACIA, to begin a process of reflexion regarding barriers to access formal health services. Within this group, were various women from the “Midwives Association of Arajuno”.

Women from the Midwives Association of Arajuno, expressing themselves during the meeting on the 13th of September.

On the occasion of the meeting, the proposal to train intercultural health agents was socialized with the participants. Such training responds to the need to create more capacity within the communities, so they play a more direct and active role in maintaining a good health.
For this, the participants consider important and necessary, to strengthen their own traditional health system. They also agree that an intercultural dialogue should be promoted with the formal health system, to reach a more harmonious relationship. The hope is that this step can help reaching better current health and living conditions in the communities. This requires collaboration from both traditional and occidental medicine, even if right now it is not exactly clear on how to reach this cooperation.

Furthermore there still exists a legal gap, where even though constitutional recognition of the value and importance of traditional indigenous medicine does exist, and its use is being promoted through the ministry of health’s model of comprehensive healthcare, there doesn’t exist the appropriate mechanisms for the traditional medicine providers to receive a fair economic compensation for their contribution within a global health system, which in fact already integrates both kinds of medicine.

The formation of intercultural health agents programme put forward, is a first step toward the possibility of creating a professional career for indigenous students from the communities, with the hope to one day become a university engineering degree in intercultural health.

Relationship with the Health district of Arajuno

At the start of 2017, began a process of information transfer and cultural awareness training, amongst the healthcare professionals that work at the health centre of Arajuno.
These activities support the ministry of health’s proposal for a model of comprehensive healthcare (MAIS-FCI), for the development of greater intercultural competencies amongst the healthcare staff of the operative units of the established health system.
The meeting enabled to discuss and agree on alternative solutions to the difficulties experienced in the last months. It was agreed to extend the training on interculturality to the administrative staff of the health district, ensuring also the presence of the directors from the 5 operative units in the area, as well as the technicians in primary healthcare (TAPS) who cover that area. The health district committed themselves to carry out and fulfil these agreements.

Ceibo Alliance

In coordination with Ceibo Alliance, we continue to support the Siekopai community in Sewaya, with the medicinal plant garden and audio-visual documentation of the elders’ wisdom on plants of important cultural value.

“The lessons learned are that the promotion of indigenous medicine increases self esteem of its practitioners and strengthens the identity, confidence and self-management capacity of indigenous people”.

(State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2009)

It is expected that this project will be able to play role in motivating other communities of Alianza Ceibo to take an interest in the topic of health, traditional medicine and interculturality.

The project of the community medicinal plant garden of Sewaya is mainly part of the vision of one woman: Fanny Piaguaje

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