Achuar // Amazon
Waves For Water has recently traveled to the interior or the Ecuadorian rainforest. The Amazon is home to an ancient people called the Achuar. The Achuar territory is vast and extends well past the borders of Peru. For many years their existence has been on the brink of extinction due to corporate extraction of the territory’s natural resources.
On our most recent trip to the territory we teamed up Belen Paez of the Pacha Mama Alliance and attended a large tribal council meeting in Wampuik. The people of the Achuar traveled to attend the meeting via small aircraft or walked through the forest with their families for several days. The meeting had an attendance of 500 community members. They discussed the elections of community leaders and ways to better their current circumstances. One of their main issues is access to potable water.
The Pacha Mama Alliance is a group dedicated to conserving the way of life and empowering the women of the Amazon. They have developed a large network accessing many of the Amazons remote indigenous tribes. Recently they have focused on educating and training a group of local Achuar women called the “Jungle Mamas.” One of their many objectives is maternal health. Since the majority of the Achuar families live in extremely remote parts of the forest the Jungle Mama’s travel throughout the region.
Recently, the Jungle Mamas team met with 19 Achuar women in the Achuar community of Sharamentsa for a 4 day follow-up community maternal health workshop. This group of women have spent the last seven months (since their first workshop in July) visiting over 20 Achuar communities throughout the territory. In some cases, they walk over four hours to provide prenatal care to expectant mothers living in the most isolated communities. With the group of women we trained in 2014, this brings the amount of Achuar maternal health promoters up to 43, who are visiting approximately 54 of the 73 Achuar communities. Of this number, our 43 maternal health promoters are directly impacting approximately 71% of the Achuar population to date (about 4,600 people). The total population is about 7,000 Achuar living in Ecuador. https://www.pachamama.org/advocacy/jungle-mamas
The Achuar are at high risk due to access to clean drinking water. Many of the logging and oil companies have added to deforestation leading to many health issues for the indigenous of the region. In order to protect the Achuar whose culture serves as guardians of the Amazon rainforest the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. The Achuar have a large child death rate related to access to clean drinking water. Most of the indigenous families in the region drink from the rivers. The rivers are a source of life in the forest and are being compromised due to deforestation and oil drilling. Many of the Achuar are getting sick due to parasites that have been introduced into their drinking water as well.
Waves For Water is working with the Jungle Mama’s to provide access to clean drinking water. Having access to potable water is a necessity in improving the lives of the Achuar people. It is imperative to have access to purified water for hygiene during childbirth.