Latest news about the Collective, our fieldwork, experiences and learning

Building capacity for improved inclusion of traditional knowledge

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The Darwin Project in Guyana – “Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice” this week facilitated a training course specifically aimed at building the capacity of decision-makers in the area of traditional knowledge. All project activities are aligned to support progress towards the achievement of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Aichi target 18. This course addresses the urgent call for increased levels of awareness and efforts to promote the inclusion of traditional knowledge at the national level. The … Read More

Erasmus+ trainee Julia Jung joins the Collective

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We are delighted to welcome Julia Jung who has just started a 6 month Erasmus+ traineeship with the Cobra Collective. In this article, she tells us a little about her interests, expectations and first week! I have a background in marine and freshwater biology, and my recently completed Master’s thesis focused on using an action research approach for addressing coastal management in Sri Lanka. Dr Andrea Berardi was one of my supervisors and while working on my thesis, I became … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional knowledge directly supports conservation efforts

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  It has been a delight to have shared several videos that have been produced through the on-going Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation project here in Guyana. As you have seen, these videos showcase a wide array of the traditional knowledge and practices possessed by Guyana’s first peoples – Amerindians. From their unique foods and how they are prepared, to their knowledge of traditional medicines, or from their handicraft making skills to their use of traditional tools that support … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Elders are the community’s historians

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  Elders are important members of Indigenous communities. They possess decades of knowledge linked to the history of their village and the many cultural and livelihood practices that are passed to the younger generation through demonstrating know-how, storytelling and other cultural activities such as dancing or ceremonial rituals. One wise proverb truthfully states: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground”. Community elders – both male and female – have a wealth of knowledge which, especially today, is … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional tools

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  Traditional tools are an essential aspect of Indigenous life, even to today. From the use of clay for pottery, making of warashees, matapee and mats from various palm tree leaves by weaving or plaiting, or crafting bows and arrows for hunting purposes, we see a wealth of knowledge about the natural resources needed and the skills to craft the products. This knowledge is not well documented, but rather, as most traditional knowledge is, kept alive through the share of … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Importance of Cassava bread making

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As highlighted in one of last week’s featured videos, cassava is an important crop that is cultivated by the Indigenous peoples of Guyana. Cassava bread and farine are well known foods of Indigenous peoples here. Both are made from the cassava root after being grated and squeezed dry using a matapee. From there, baking produces the cassava ‘bread’, while frying produces the farine. Both end-products are known to last for long periods before being unsuitable for consumption if stored properly. … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Uses of the lime tree

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  Today we will focus on yet another facet of knowledge that Indigenous peoples possess – knowledge and use of traditional medicine. These are usually associated with the various parts of a plant or tree – the fruit, seed, leaf or even its bark. Such knowledge has no doubt been crucial to their health and wellbeing over the centuries. This is especially true given the fact that Indigenous peoples are well known to live great distances from hospital facilities. While … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional uses of cotton

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  Indigenous peoples are skilled in the art of creating many different handicrafts from a variety of materials. These skills, as is the case with most other traditional customs, are passed from the elders to younger generations. Some handicraft skills are customarily practiced by the men while others are specific to women. For example, males are more known to engage in handicraft skills associated with woodcraft, such as totem poles and making of traditional weapons – bows and arrows and … Read More

Learning lessons from integrated fire management in Venezuela

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As we start drawing together data and evidence from Indigenous fire management in Venezuela as part of the LANDMARC project, Collective member and project leader, Bibiana Bilbao, presents some thoughts to Diálogo Chino on what we have learnt so far, and the potential lessons for neighbouring countries such as Colombia. Read the article here: https://dialogochino.net/es/clima-y-energia-es/36931-lo-que-colombia-esta-aprendiendo-de-venezuela-en-manejo-integral-del-fuego/

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Story of Horse Pond

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  Storytelling is one way in which Indigenous people pass knowledge down through the generations. It is an ongoing process linking the past to the present, and the present to the past and future. Storytelling is therefore important in transmitting essential and critical knowledge for survival and ensuring a healthy and sustainable community. Stories have many functions. They help to provide guidance on how people should behave and understand their responsibilities to their neighbours and the environment. They acknowledge the … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Importance of Parakari

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  The root crop, cassava, is integral to the way of life of Indigenous people in Guyana. It is the source of a multitude of products, such as cassava bread, farine, casareep and a variety of beverages. In fact, all families in the community likely have a small cassava farm. The variety of cassava most notably is referred to as ‘bitter cassava’; it contains cyanide, so to consume it without first properly processing it would have deadly consequences. This is … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: The story of Elka and Christianity

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  Our next video represents the historical stories that can be told about a people. In this case it is the impact one man can have on his community. The story is of Elka of the Wai Wai. Elka was a great Wai Wai Chief of recent history who changed the spiritual course of his community. Called to be a Piaiman or shaman, Elka spent many years training to hone his craft. He was believed to be a very powerful … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional fishing in Katoka Village, Central Rupununi

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  Are you looking for some tasty fish for your tuma? Then Katoka is the place to go! Katoka is an Indigenous village located on the right bank of the Rupununi River. The name Katoka is said to have been derived from a jaguar that was seen by a fisherman at the mouth of the creek where he was fishing.  The jaguar looked as white as cotton. With such a rare sight, the fisherman abandoned his fishing plans and ran … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: How they do it in Fair View Village, Rupununi

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Fair View Village is the only Indigenous settlement located within the protected area of the Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve. Fair View began as a family homestead when Arthur Andries requested permission to build his home on the left bank of the Essequibo River at Kurupukari. Arthur Andries was a punt driver, moving people and cattle across the Essequibo River during the Cattle Trail Days. Arthur and his extended family lived in the location even when the cattle trail closed in the … Read More

Amerindian Heritage Celebrations 2020

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Amerindian Heritage is an annual celebration of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples throughout the month of September. It is linked to Guyana’s first Indigenous Parliamentarian, Stephen Campbell from the Arawak nation of Moruca (Santa Rosa) in the north-west region of Guyana, who was sworn into Parliament on September 10, 1957. Every year Guyana’s Indigenous people take time to remember his achievements at a time when there was little to no representation of the rights and interests of Indigenous people in Guyana. The … Read More

LANDMARC kicks-off!

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What is the realistic potential for agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors to enhance the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere? This question will be answered by the LANDMARC research project, which officially started on the 1st July 2020. Funded by the European Commission, the nineteen LANDMARC consortium partners will spend the next four years (2020-2024) working to: Estimate the climate impact of land-based negative emission solutions, for example in agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sectors; Assess the potential … Read More

Coping with Covid-19 in the North Rupununi

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It was the early part of March 2020, and we were in the midst of the national election season. All the communities were excited about who would be the next President. There was tension between the different political party supporters., and it was not long before we realised that there were issues with reporting the final results of the elections. And in all of this turmoil there came the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus otherwise known as Covid-19. The messages … Read More

Our solutions are in nature

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“Our Solutions are in Nature” – what an appropriate theme for this year’s International Day for Biodiversity! The Convention on Biological Diversity highlights that ‘our biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we all face. From nature-based solutions to climate, to food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future’. The year 2020 can be deemed as a year of opportunity and solutions for biodiversity. It is the final … Read More

Creating shared futures together

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New AR App Allows Belfast Communities to Collaboratively Design their own Presents and Futures This week a new ground-breaking app will be publicly released for community members in Belfast and potentially around the world to work together to transform their communities. Called “Shared Futures” it enables people to redesign their present and futures through innovative AR 3D mapping technology. This app was developed through a partnership between the Belfast Interface Project, Professor Peter Bloom, the technology cooperative Animorph, and Cobra … Read More

Building capacity to use drones for mapping

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Since 2017, the Cobra Collective has been working with members of the Rupununi Wildlife Research Unit to map the precise location of the hydrological link between the Amazon and Essequibo basins – one of only two places in South America where the waters from the Amazon basin mix with waters from another watershed. This mixing of waters occurs in the Rupununi Wetlands of Guyana, enabling the development of one of the most aquatically biodiverse regions in the world, with over … Read More

Languages without borders

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In Guyana, many of our Indigenous Nations reside along the borders of our country and have a strong familial and cultural link to the Indigenous groups that live in Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname. In the current times of hardship faced by many Venezuelan Indigenous groups, cross border languages are being used to provide assistance that is in dire need. International Mother Language Day (celebrated on the 21st February each year) is designated to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism. … Read More

Pilot training in traditional knowledge integration for local stakeholders in Guyana

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As the Darwin Initiative project ‘Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice‘ completes year three of implementation, the project team found themselves extra busy as 2020 began. Lots of work went into fine-tuning and finalizing material for the training course “Traditional knowledge integration for conservation and development”. Aimed at representatives of governmental organizations, civil society groups/NGOs and Indigenous leaders, the course aims to build capacity of stakeholders, not only be more knowledgeable of traditional knowledge, but also to better … Read More

Progress towards greater recognition and integration of traditional knowledge in Guyana

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The Darwin Initiative ‘Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice‘ project has been working closely with Indigenous communities associated with protected areas in Guyana since its commencement in September 2017. The focus has been on the valuable role of traditional knowledge for maintaining cultural heritage, and the application of such knowledge, practices and innovations towards improving the management of the country’s natural resources. As highlighted in the country’s Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040, “Traditional Indigenous knowledge is valid … Read More

Bridging the north south divide

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There aren’t many opportunities for young people from the North and South Rupununi to meet, share information and spend time interacting with each other. In this article, we hear from Marshalla Perry from Maruranau Village in the South Rupununi, who spent three months as an intern on the Darwin traditional knowledge project, based at the NRDDB office in the North Rupununi. It has been with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to work with the NRDDB team through the … Read More

Hearing from community researchers – testimonials from the Darwin Traditional Knowledge project

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Much of the work we do is through local community researchers. These peer researchers are recognised members of, and have kinship, ties, and alliances, with the Indigenous communities with whom research is taking place. They play a vital role in ensuring that the information collected is representative, respectful of different views and opinions, and that the research process is community owned. Here we hear from some community researchers working on the Darwin Traditional Knowledge and Conservation project about their experiences, … Read More

Using MAZI’s to stimulate discussions on traditional knowledge

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As part of the Darwin Initiative project ‘Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice‘, local Indigenous communities are making videos on their traditional knowledge and their relationship with protected areas. However, it is difficult to share and discuss these videos because of the lack of or unreliable internet access within some of these remote locations. Currently, the initial enthusiasm and momentum resulting from Darwin project video screenings is lost as the participating communities do not have the means for … Read More

A journey up the Rupununi River for fieldwork in Apoteri and Rewa Villages – Part 2

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Onwards to Rewa, through the eyes of Grace Albert, Cobra Collective Consultant, Darwin Project The next day, we were on our way to Rewa Village where we would repeat a similar process of working with the local community researchers (their names are Devon and Peggy). The focus of Rewa’s community owned solution (COS) video is ‘traditional farming’. Fortunately, the journey to this community was sunny, unlike our boat ride a week before. This allowed us to really enjoy the beautiful … Read More

A journey up the Rupununi River for fieldwork in Apoteri and Rewa Villages – Part 1

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Working in Apoteri, through the eyes of Sean Mendonca, Policy & Technical Coordinator, Darwin Project It began with me jumping into a bus in Georgetown on a Monday afternoon. I arrived at my destination at about 8:30am – many hours later – the next morning in Annai Central. As I step out of the bus my excitement grows. It is a welcome break from my daily routine of sitting behind a computer screen in the office, and more importantly, I … Read More

My first community visit as a researcher

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Ena George joined the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) as a community researcher for the Darwin traditional knowledge project at the start of the year. As a young community researcher, here she reflects on her first community engagement visit. It was a day I will always remember – 20th May 2019. I had been in anticipation of this day because it would be the first time that I would travel to Crashwater village as a researcher. That morning, as … Read More

Mental health project kicks off in Guyana

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Over one billion people globally struggle with issues related to mental health, including depression, substance abuse and self-harm. Lack of research in implementation and policy change is further impeded by stigma, capacity shortages, and fragmented service delivery. In collaboration with Guyanese communities and stakeholders, and funded by the British Academy, the Cobra Collective is participating in ARCLIGHT (‘Action Research Community Led Initiative Guyana Health Team’), an ambitious new research project which will develop, implement and evaluate a capacity building and … Read More

How Indigenous knowledge contributes to Mother Earth

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Mother Earth is a common expression for our planet in a number of countries and regions. It is intended to reflect the inter-linkages that exist among the natural world and people. These include the interactions and interdependencies between the many natural processes occurring around us every day and all other living things. The Earth’s ecosystems provide the entire planet with fresh air, clean water and a host of other services which people benefit from – sometimes even unknowingly. Sadly, due … Read More

Indigenous knowledge and conservation management

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On the 9th April 2019, the project leader, Prof. Jay Mistry and co-leader Dr Lisa Ingwall-King, presented at the Zoological Society London (ZSL) symposium on Indigenous knowledge and conservation management: challenges and opportunities. Using the Darwin Initiative project ‘Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice‘ as the focus of their talks, they showed the importance of integrating Indigenous knowledge for biocultural conservation and how participatory video can shed new light on the contribution of Indigenous knowledge to biodiversity conservation. … Read More

Travelling South: my first field trip

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Betsy Alvin, an intern on the Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation in Guyana project, reflects on her visit community visit. Well! This was my first experience on a field trip going anywhere to do project work. Mr Bernie couldn’t go because his mom was ill and Ms. Rebecca couldn’t go by herself so they called me and said to pack because you are heading south. Going along with us would be Mr Neville Adolph, the new project community liaison … Read More

COBRA Co-Director Jay Mistry wins £10 million Leverhulme Research Centre award

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We are thrilled to announce that our colleague Jay has been awarded a £10 million Leverhulme Trust grant to set up a new research centre on Wildfires, Environment and Society. Here is an extract of an interview Jay gave at Royal Holloway. We understand that you and your colleagues have recently won £10 million funding in the 2018 Leverhulme Research Centre awards on a project for; Wildfires, Environment and Society. Could you tell us a bit more about it? I’m … Read More

Parikwarunawa – Land of the heavy breeze!

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Continuing our trip, we moved from Maruranau to Parikwarunawa. Just after concluding the video screening, the team began packing to make an early departure the next day. Sigh! But it was not time for home and more so Christmas yet! But it was on my mind as we packed. We left on the 11th December for the next village clear back across the savanna to the south central district of the Rupununi. Close to Lethem that you could almost touch … Read More

Pantani Book – 33 Amerindian Tales from the North Rupununi, Guyana

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If you happen to visit the Rupununi region of Guyana, and take a hike with a local guide, it is likely you will hear plenty of fascinating stories and legends, as it happened to me. At the end of January 2014, I travelled to the south of Guyana with a group of researchers and had an opportunity to visit a place called ‘Skull Mountain’. During the trip, our local guide shared many tales and stories about the rivers, and valleys … Read More

Kaimen! Working with the Wapichan from the South Rupununi

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A team consisting of three – Ryan Benjamin, Rebecca Xavier and I (Grace Albert) – departed the north savannas for our journey to the south savannas on the 1st December, 2018. Driving through the North Rupununi Wetlands left the feeling of going away for a while. Bearing in mind, we were indeed going to be away for about 20 days.  The team overnighted in the township of Lethem to do our grocery shopping. The next day, after lunch, we were … Read More

Engaging Communities to ensure Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC)

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On-going community outreach in the Rupununi Community engagement continues, as the Darwin Initiative project focused on the Traditional Knowledge and its role in Biodiversity Conservation, seeks to ensure a Free, Prior and Informed Consent process. Project team member Grace Albert shares her experience after completing Kanuku Mountains community visits. Recently, a team from the Darwin project visited the communities in Central Rupununi, Region 9, thus completing our round of visits to all communities associated with the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area. … Read More

Participatory video empowering Indigenous youth

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Celebrating the United Nations International Youth Day Read our article in the latest Darwin Initiative Newsletter which features how our on-going project activities are seeking to empower youth in Indigenous communities. The article shows how the project is engaging young people through participatory video to explore how traditional knowledge contributes to conservation and the relationship between Indigenous communities and protected areas. It highlights the benefits of participatory video in providing skills and confidence to young people to research their own … Read More

Screening community videos with policymakers

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Phase 2 – analysing films and collating information http://projectcobra.org/wp-content/uploads/Integrating-traditional-knowledge-02.mp4 Over the past year of the project, Indigenous communities in the protected areas of Guyana have begun making videos on the importance of traditional knowledge to these places. This video showcases the next phase of the project which involves analysing the videos and collating the information into short videos to be screened to policymakers in Georgetown.

Looking Ahead: engaging the policy makers

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Community engagement has been going well and the team is working toward fine-tuning the first set of Community Videos that will be screened to decision-makers. As that time approaches, the team benefited from some more training. The communities of the North Rupununi have captured their opinions through participatory video on issues related to traditional knowledge and protected areas. As the final videos are being compiled, we have begun to think about the process of engaging the policy makers. To do … Read More

Documenting community owned solutions in the North Rupununi

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In April and May, the NRDDB Darwin Team visited the North Rupununi villages associated with the Iwokrama Forest to begin documenting their community owned solutions for managing the protected area. Bernie Robertson, NRDDB Community Researcher reports on their activities. During the trip, the team provided additional training to the community researchers in using transcripts to sort their videos. They also assessed progress made in making the three videos on traditional knowledge and protected areas. Following this, they began working alongside … Read More

Photostory: Engaging Indigenous villages around the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area

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  http://projectcobra.org/wp-content/uploads/Photostory-_-Outreach-to-KMPA-associated-Villages2.pdf In the month of May, a team conducted an outreach to Villages associated with another Protected Area in Guyana. The main goal was to share information about the project regarding its scope and benefits in relation to the aim of better recognition of and practical applications of traditional knowledge to local conservation efforts. This photo-story gives you some insight into the team’s recent journey to some of the Indigenous Villages in the South Rupununi who have a vested … Read More

International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) 2018

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Celebrating 25 years of ‘Safeguarding Life on Earth’! As we celebrate the world’s diverse variety of life, IDB 2018 is an opportunity to raise awareness about the growing threats and challenges facing biodiversity. Action is needed now more than ever, and traditional knowledge can play an important role in this process. To read the article online click on the link below: https://issuu.com/gytimes/docs/guyanatime_20_may_2018 (see page 14)

The integrating of traditional knowledge into national policy project continues to touch communities

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Communities using participatory video to communicate with policy-makers Darwin Project: Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice is one-year into its community work. Communities that have already been trained are making their videos. Work scheduled to engage communities associated with other Protected Areas in the coming months. Very exciting! The NRDDB team is still on the go; communicating with and visiting communities of the North Rupununi and afar, working to building capacities and enhancing the skills of the young … Read More

Masakanarî Village: The Unexpected

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Engaging with Guyana’s only ‘Community-Owned’ Conservation Area The Darwin field team recently visited the Wai Wai indigenous community of Masakanari in the Kanashen District. Full support for the TK project was evident as community members participated in training and had a chance to engage their fellow community members through interviews as they practiced what they were learning about participatory video. Author – Bernie Robertson It was decided! We were going to the end of Guyana, Konashen – Wai Wai Territory … Read More

Review of traditional knowledge within Guyanese policy

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  Review-of-TK-within-Guyanese-policy_1718 This working paper presents a policy review method that has been developed to assess the level of integration of both traditional knowledge and Indigenous peoples rights in Guyana’s policy and acts. The report provides a baseline of how well traditional knowledge and Indigenous peoples rights are integrated and will serve as a comparison for annual policy reviews over the next four years, and thus enable the Darwin project to measure if the level of traditional knowledge integration is … Read More

Community engagement in the North Rupununi, Guyana

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http://projectcobra.org/wp-content/uploads/Integrating-Traditional-Knowledge_low.mp4   This video shows the first phase of community engagement in the Darwin Initiative funded project “Integrating Traditional Knowledge into Conservation in Guyana”. Focused on the North Rupununi communities associated with the Iwokrama Forest protected area, it highlights how involving young people as researchers in their own communities can increase understanding and value for the role and importance of traditional knowledge for conservation.

Wildlife conservation: the role of traditional knowledge

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Let’s talk about World Wildlife Day! It was in 2013 that this special day was first announced by the United Nations General Assembly. It was first observed in 2014 and has since served as the official day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild population of flora and fauna. While the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) has its International Day for Biological Diversity, World Wildlife Day celebrated on March 3 annually, is observed in connection with the Convention … Read More

Voices of the communities

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Feedback on training and working with participatory video Between November 2017 and January 2018, the NRDDB Darwin Team visited four North Rupununi communities to provide training in participatory video techniques. The communities were Apoteri, Aranaputa, Fair View and Rewa. The training introduced participants to the techniques used on capturing and editing videos. The participants then got the chance to plan, capture and edit short videos on a topic of interest. On completion of the training, two persons were chosen to … Read More

Reviewing global action plans for traditional knowledge

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Helping to inform policy plans in Guyana Jennifer Rose, an intern at Royal Holloway University of London, spent January 2018 researching traditional knowledge policies worldwide. Jenny is greatly enthused by the potential of traditional knowledge in preserving cultural heritage and informing research. Her research found that there have been great efforts to protect traditional remedies and adopt low-cost sustainable initiatives in environmental management. However, policies are often too generic and simplify the complexities of traditional knowledge. This results in lack … Read More

Traditional Knowledge in Guyana: Let’s talk about Wetlands!

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Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2018 As we join the world in observing World Wetlands Day, let us reflect on the important role they play in supporting and maintaining healthy ecosystems that contribute to human health and well-being. We need to also recognizing the significant linkages of these unique ecosystems to the life of Indigenous peoples and their role in helping to protecting them through traditional and cultural activities. Traditional Knowledge in Guyana: Let’s talk about Wetlands! Guyana, as ‘Land of … Read More

Traditional knowledge challenges and community owned solutions

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Exploring issues and opportunities Building capacity was not the only activity the local North Rupununi District Development Board team was engaged in during their visits to the communities of Apoteri, Rewa, Aranaputa and Fair View. The team also worked with community members to explore the challenges they believed they were facing when it came to their traditional knowledge. The villagers were asked to work on two main tasks. The first was to identify challenges to traditional knowledge related to both … Read More

Building capacity in participatory video in the North Rupununi

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First phase of community engagement on traditional knowledge and protected areas kicks off One of the main goals of the Darwin project is to build the capacity of community members in documenting community owned solutions through the participatory video technique. Over the course of the last four weeks – 19th Nov to 16th Dec – the North Rupununi District Development Board project team, supported by Claudia Nuzzo of the Cobra Collective and Deirdre Jafferally of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ … Read More

Learning and planning together for action on climate change mitigation and adaptation

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Intercultural and participatory solutions for Canaima National Park, Venezuela “This is a unique event in Venezuela, promoting intercultural and participatory approaches to climate change governance”. These were the words of Vice-minister for Ecosocialista del Ambiente, Renzo Silva, at the opening of the workshop ‘Desarrollo de herramientas interculturales y participativas para la implementación de planes de mitigación y adaptación al cambio climático en el Parque Nacional Canaima’ at the Cuartel Central de Bomberos Florestales de INPARQUES, Pajaritos, Caracas. Venezuela is highly … Read More

Getting Creative

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Videographic training at Bina Hill, North Rupununi, Guyana Claudia Nuzzo, participatory video expert from the Cobra Collective, joined the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) Darwin Team at Bina Hill, North Rupununi to work on their video and editing techniques before they head into the communities to begin community research and build local capacity. The NRDDB Team, who previously worked on the COBRA Project, are using this opportunity to build their repertoire in how to edit more dynamic videos, as … Read More

Free, Prior and Informed Consent Process begins in the North Rupununi for COBRA 2.0

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The team from the North Rupununi District Development Board began visiting the communities of the North Rupununi District to introduce a new project that is of much interest to the communities. Dubbed COBRA 2.0, the project entitled “Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice in Guyana,” began implementation on 1st July 2017. The project aims to address the goal of Aichi Biodiversity Target 18 which looks at developing a national action plan and process that would allow for the … Read More

Being Amerindian Today

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Livelihoods, Technology, and Dynamic Indigenous Knowledges New publication in the Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers. http://projectcobra.org/wp-content/uploads/Being-Amerindian-Today_Elisa-Bignante-2017.pdf This photo essay explores the diffusion of technologies and new commodities within the Indigenous communities living in the Amazon forest of Guyana, South America: the Makushi people who inhabit the northern area of the Rupununi river region, and the Wapishana people who live in the southern area. It is published in the 2017 Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, … Read More

Developing a theory of change for traditional knowledge and conservation

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First partner meeting in Georgetown, Guyana The Darwin Initiative inception meeting took place on the 6th September 2017 at the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs and gave project partners a first chance to discuss the key aspects of the project face-to-face The meeting was also attended by Minister Sydney Allicock, who had insightful comments and inputs into the project goals and impacts. He emphasised the importance of using more locally, Indigenous owned words to describe the project, particularly relevant to … Read More

Darwin Initiative project launched in Guyana

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British High Commission hosts launch of project in Georgetown At his residency in Bel Air, Georgetown, British High Commissioner Greg Quinn began the evening of presentations and video screenings, followed by project partners, and culminating with Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, emphasising the need for a national plan for traditional knowledge, a key output of the project. Read media reports of the event here: http://gina.gov.gy/integrating-traditional-knowledge-project-officially-launched/ http://demerarawaves.com/2017/09/05/guyanas-indigenous-amerindian-traditional-conservation-strategies-may-be-shared-with-guiana-shield/ http://www.inewsguyana.com/integrating-traditional-knowledge-project-officially-launched/ See article in Stabroek News:  

Protecting and promoting traditional knowledge on UN Indigenous Peoples Day

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10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the international community ten years ago. The Declaration expresses the rights, freedoms and standards for survival, dignity and the well-being of Indigenous peoples. Today marks the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 370 million Indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. … Read More

Launch of Darwin Initiative project

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Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice in Guyana Working in Guyana, this project will address Aichi Biodiversity Target 18, incorporating traditional knowledge [TK] into biodiversity policy for poverty reduction, by 1) evaluating TK integration using case studies focused on protected areas management, 2) building institutional capacity in TK integration, and 3) developing a National Action Plan for TK. Download the project flyer here: Darwin Flyer

Report on intercultural and participatory fire management

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Activities and outcomes from meeting in Brasilia, March 2017 This report outlines the main activities, findings and recommendations from the meeting held in Brasilia, Brazil in March 2017, on intercultural and participatory fire management. The meeting involved Indigenous and traditional peoples, scientists and government agencies. MIF Brasília 2017 (VF)

Perspectives on intercultural and participatory fire management

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Participatory video facilitated by Indigenous participants http://projectcobra.org/wp-content/uploads/Brasilia-March-17-Fire-Management.mp4 This participatory video presents the diverse views of the participants of the intercultural and participatory fire management meeting in Brasilia, Brazil in March 2017.

Conversations on fire management

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  Bringing together different perspectives for more participatory and intercultural fire management A ‘Fire Management Week’, 11 -17 March 2017, in Brasilia, Brazil aimed to promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences on fire management among representatives of Indigenous peoples, quilombolas, and traditional communities in Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana, researchers, and public policy managers. The aim was to discuss the aspirations and expectations of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities on how to conduct fire actions within their territories. The week … Read More

Climate change planning workshop takes place in Caracas, Venezuela

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Designing climate change action plans: integrating perspectives from Indigenous peoples, academia and government institutions in Canaima National Park, held on the 23, 24 and 25 January 2017. Workshop brings together government authorities, scientists and Indigenous leaders to explore how the Canaima National Park and its inhabitants can mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The workshop, held on the grounds of Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC) and funded by the British Embassy in Caracas, was opened by … Read More

The Pemón Indigenous elders are also scientists: their knowledge is key in environmental conservation

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Disseminating the value of ancestral Indigenous knowledge for the conservation of tropical forests and Participatory Fire Management in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Radio interview with Dr. Bibiana Bilbao Universidad Simón Bolívar and Mayor Miguel Matany, Commander of the INPARQUES Firefighters Corps in the Program: “Date con la Ciencia” (Come and learn together with the Science) led by Dr. Guillermo Barreto, Vice-Minister for Research and Application of Knowledge, Ministry of Popular Power for University Education, Science and Technology https://twitter.com/fonacit_ve/status/776271767463755777 ‘Date con … Read More

New advances building the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management in Venezuela (Part 4)

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Meetings and workshops with authorities and officials of Venezuelan government institutions: Forestry Firefighters Corps, National Parks Institute (INPARQUES), Ministry of Popular Power for Ecosocialism and Waters (MINEA) New advances and agreements with Venezuelan government institutions and policy makers for the construction of the Intercultural and Participative Fire Management in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Durante el año 2016, el grupo de investigación venezolano del proyecto financiado por la Academia Británica con el objetivo de “desarrollar un ‘caso’ para integrar las prácticas … Read More

New advances building the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management in Venezuela (Part 3)

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Meetings and workshops with authorities and officials of Venezuelan government institutions: General Direction Sectorial of National Parks, National Parks Institute (INPARQUES), Ministry of Popular Power for Ecosocialism and Waters (MINEA) September 22, 2016 New advances and agreements with Venezuelan government institutions and policy makers for the construction of the Intercultural and Participative Fire Management in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Durante el año 2016, el grupo de investigación del proyecto financiado por la Academia Británica con el objetivo de “desarrollar un … Read More

Facilitating a dialogue on climate change in Venezuela

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Bringing together different perspectives for climate change planning for the Parque Nacional Canaima September 13, 2016 This project aims to engage government authorities, scientists and Indigenous leaders to integrate community owned solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change in the Parque Nacional Canaima, Venezuela As a post Paris agreement, the UK set the objective to support the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s), which are put into practice through mitigation and adaptation plans. The role of science research in … Read More

New advances building the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management in Venezuela (Part 2)

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Meetings and workshops with authorities and officials of Venezuelan government institutions: General Direction of Hydrographical Basins Conservation, Ministry of Popular Power for Ecosocialism and Waters (MINEA) September 15, 2016 New advances and agreements with Venezuelan government institutions and policy makers for the construction of the Intercultural and Participative Fire Management in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. During year 2016, the research group of the “Building the case for integrating Indigenous and academic knowledge into a participatory and sustainable fire management policy”  project, … Read More

New advances building the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management in Venezuela (Part 1)

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Kavanayen Pemón Indigenous Community workshop and Assembly September 1, 2016 New advances and agreements in the Pemón Indigenous community of Kavanayén, Gran Sabana, for the construction of the Intercultural and Participative Fire Management in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. During year 2016, the research group of the “Building the case for integrating Indigenous and academic knowledge into a participatory and sustainable fire management policy” project, supported by British Academy, UK,  and coordinated by the Royal Holloway University of London and Simon Bolivar … Read More

Presentations to the scientific community of the Guiana Shield

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IV International Society of the Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG) Congress, Guyana August 13, 2016 IV IBG Congress AbstractsPDF The IV International Society of the Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG) Congress took place 8-12 August in Georgetown, Guyana and we presented work on fire management, community owned solutions and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange. The Congress provided a unique opportunity to share our findings with academics and practitioners working both within the government and non-governmental sectors on issues of conservation … Read More

Electricity Generation as a Community Owned Solution – Webinar

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For the last 20 years, Andrea Berardi has been working with marginalised communities in strengthening their governance of local resources so as to promote ecological sustainability and social justice. Having experienced the disastrous failures of imposed top-down and centrally designed development interventions,  Andrea has engaged communities in developing and implementing grassroots interventions: ‘community owned solutions’. In this webinar, Andrea presents a generic organisational model for community owned solutions, and uses the example of electricity generation to compare and contrast the … Read More

Integrating Indigenous fire practices within government fire management policy

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First International meeting of the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network. January 26, 2016 Parupa 2015 – Fotohistoria – Photostory – Fogo – RedePDF   This photostory revealed scenes and activities of the first meeting of the “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network” that took place over four days in July 2015 at the Parupa scientific station, Parque Nacional Canaima, Venezuela. This workshop joined together 60 participants, belonging to more than 25 government and academic institutions and indigenous communities from … Read More

Festival de cine: “Somos todos parte del ecosistema: la voz de las comunidades a través de la imagen”

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Una perspectiva diferente en un Congreso de Ecología en Venezuela December 27, 2015 The film festival was held during the XI Venezuelan Congress of Ecology, from 11 to 12 November in Margarita Island, Venezuela. The festival allowed conference participants, mostly scientific experts in the field of ecology, to engage with the perceptions and socio-environmental realities experienced by local and Indigenous Latin American communities and the power of participatory video techniques developed by Project COBRA to identify community owned solutions. Por … Read More

“El valor de la integración del conocimiento local y científico en la investigación ecológica”

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Simposio en el XI Congreso Venezolano de Ecología, Margarita, Venezuela December 27, 2015 Programa Simposio Margarita VenezuelaPDF “The value of the integration of local and scientific knowledge in ecological research” Symposium was held under the framework of the XI Venezuelan Congress of Ecology, on November 10, 2015, in The Island of Margarita, Venezuela. The symposium, coordinated by Bibiana Bilbao, from the Simon Bolivar University and Jay Mistry, from Royal Holloway, University of London, aimed to gather the experiences of different … Read More

Community owned solutions for fire management in tropical forest and savanna ecosystems

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Working paper 1 – Developing a case for integrating Indigenous fire practices within government fire management policy December 21, 2015 Working-Paper-1-Indigenous-fire-management_SpanishPDF Working-Paper-1-Indigenous-fire-management_PortuguesePDF Working-Paper-1-Indigenous-fire-management_EnglishPDF Fire plays an increasingly significant role in tropical forest and savanna ecosystems, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and impacting on biodiversity. Emerging research shows the potential role of Indigenous land use practices for controlling deforestation and reducing CO2 emissions. Analysis of satellite imagery suggests that Indigenous lands have the lowest incidence of wildfires, significantly contributing […] Fire … Read More

Training researchers in Venezuela

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1-day Cobra training in Caracas November 23, 2015 On the 7th November 2015, a one-day training course on Cobra’s community owned solutions approach was held at the IDEA research centre in Caracas, Venezuela. The twenty participants were from a range of research backgrounds including biology, sociology and anthropology. The training was part of the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management project and centred around an introduction to the COBRA Handbook, which provides detailed and easily accessible explanations on key concepts and … Read More

Taller en Caracas, Venezuela: ¿Cómo encontrar y compartir soluciones comunitarias propias?

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La perspectiva de un participante November 23, 2015 Recientemente apoyamos desde la IBG-Venezuela/ACOANA la organización y ejecución del Taller de entrenamiento para facilitadores comunitarios: ¿Cómo encontrar y compartir soluciones comunitarias propias? Un nuevo enfoque para la participación comunitaria (7 de noviembre 2015), impulsada con perseverancia por el equipo COBRA, liderado en esta oportunidad por Jay Mistry, con el apoyo de la profesora Bibiana Bilbao (Universidad Simón Bolívar), en su visita a Venezuela.   Participé en el taller con interés renovado … Read More

Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network

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First meeting report – Integrating Indigenous fire practices within government fire management policy This report (available in English, Spanish and Portuguese) provides information of the activities that have been carried out during the first meeting of the “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network” with regards to Indigenous fire management with researchers, government authorities and Indigenous representatives (60 participants in total) currently working on Indigenous fire management in Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana and the UK – this workshop took place over four … Read More

First meeting of the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network

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  Sharing experiences and developing action plans Between the 8-11 July 2015, more than 60 Indigenous, institutional and academic representatives from Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana and the UK came together at the Estación Científica Parupa, with the support of the Comunidad Indígena Kavanayén, Gran Sabana, Venezuela. This first meeting of the Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network aimed at exploring ‘community owned’ Indigenous fire management i.e. fire management practices that emerge out of the traditional wisdom and experiences of Indigenous communities … Read More

Kapoto at the start of the dry season

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  Kremkrem team meet to map and record traditional and prescribed fires In June 2015, partners of Project Kremkrem met in Aldeia Kapoto, a beautiful area of cerrado (savanna) that burns every year….. Following an evaluation visit by project partner Andrea Berardi in November 2014, it became clear that the Indigenous researchers working on the project required further capacity building to carry out project tasks, and that more work needed to focus in the Kapoto area of the Indigenous territory … Read More

Project Kremkrem kicks-off in Brazil

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  Partner meetings and training in Project Cobra approaches In April 2014, partners of Project Kremkrem met in Aldeia Piaraçú, Mato Gross do Sul to initiate the project….. Photo Jay Mistry – Creative Commons “Considero a presente iniciativa um marco sem precedentes no Xingu. A ação antrópica e o desmatamento gerados pelo agronegócio têm potencializado, dia após dia, a sensação de insegurança entre os metyktire. O projeto é oportuno e chega em boa hora, oferecendo metodologia adequada com tecnologia de … Read More

El Proyecto COBRA y las técnicas fotográficas participativas

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Foro de Biodiversidad Cordoba – 24-25 Septiembre 2013 September 27, 2013 El proyecto COBRA ha sido expuesto en la Universidad de Córdoba , dentro del X Foro de Biodiversidad (24-25 de Septiembre 2013) promovido por el Comité Español de la UICN, enfocado en el diseño de modelos de sostenibilidad por las administraciones locales y en el manejo de los recursos naturales frente a los desafíos medioambientales. Project COBRA – Creative Commons El proyecto ha sido presentado conjuntamente con otros  dos … Read More