(Weaving our Networks)
Indigenous led rapid response network
Saphichay has initiated the first indigenous led rapid response network in Junin called Away which in Quechua mean “to weave”. The purpose of this network is to provide much needed support to indigenous communities that are in conflict zones.
What do “conflict zones” mean?
Conflict zones are areas in which private or state run extractive companies are threatening the wellbeing and rights of indigenous communities in order to extract natural resources or land grab indigenous territories. For example, mining & oil companies as well as hydro electric companies, paper, palm oil, timber companies.
Whom makes up AWAY?
The indigenous communities in conflict zones and urban indigenous and non indigenous communities that want to stand in solidarity with these communities. Allies come in all forms from individuals, collectives, artists, student groups, organizations etc.
How is the support provided?
These communities are often seen as “easy” targets because they are very removed from urban areas where very few people find out what is happening in their communities. Making their struggle visible is one step in which this network provides support the other way is in being the bridge between the communities and their needs and connecting them to people that can fulfill those needs.
What communities does AWAY work with?
Currently we are focused in the region of Junín and the intention is to spread into all the other regions that have communities in conflict zones. The communities involved include, but are not limited to, Wanka, Chanka, Ashaninka, and Ya’nesha. They are located in the central Andes as well as the central rainforest.
What are the long term goals of AWAY?
Our long-term goal is to establish a high functioning, rapid-response network in all the regions of Peru that have indigenous communities in conflict zones. A rapid-response network is a means to quickly disseminate information on events and critical community survival needs, by use of phone trees, websites, and encrypted text. The network serves as an effective and timely tool for indigenous communities facing environmental and or human rights abuses so they are able to quickly rally support, solidarity, medical help, and legal aid. In addition, the network serves to raise awareness to the abuses that indigenous peoples are subject to, and provides an independent platform for sharing such abuses.
What are the short term goals of Away?
Our near-term goal is to pilot this rapid-response network in Junin. Activities include: legal-rights workshops for urban and rural indigenous community members; photography and video-recording training for rural community members; and an interactive mapping website to allow urban and rural community members that are part of the network to upload updated information about the events taking place in conflict zones. We are aware that when indigenous communities do not have secure access to their territories their bio- cultural survival is at risk. This network aims to use the access to resources easily found in the city for rural communities that are at risk. This is the first ever attempt at creating a rapid response network connecting urban and rural indigenous communities. The inclusion of urban natives helps in shift the current relationship that exists between the two communities; from one that is separate, complacent and fairly unaware of all the issues at hand to being active allies in protecting the rights and securing the existence of rural indigenous communities.
To establish the pilot network in Junin it will take approximately 6-8 months. The interactive mapping website would grow apace with the amount of communities that join the network. We have already identified a few communities that are interested in being part of the network. The implementation of the photo and video-recording training workshops is dependent on the availability of necessary equipment. In a year’s time we should have a sizable, trained and functioning rapid-response AWAY network. At the moment we are working with Timby a Canadian company that provides a program to help map, collect and organize community based organizing monitoring.
Rural community La Libertad
Concepción, Junín – Perú
Rural community Ahuac
Chupaca, Junín – Perú