There is growing recognition that top-down solutions, usually under the control of professional experts, commonly fail, and that there needs to be more “horizontal” models of capacity building, in which knowledge is shared among communities themselves. Previous work by Collective members in the Guiana Shield, South America has shown that Indigenous community members were significantly more receptive to solutions emerging from, and communicated by, other Indigenous peoples, and that this approach was a significant motivating force for galvanizing communities to make changes in their community and the environment. This peer-to-peer knowledge exchange through the use of ‘inspirational’ stories of community and conservation success helped to provide a platform for people to reflect on the current conservation challenges in their community and find collective ways to address them.
Working across the five protected areas of Guyana – Kaieteur, Iwokrama, Kanuku Mountains, Shell Beach and Kanashen (Amerindian Protected Area) – the aim of this project is to undertake peer-to-peer knowledge exchange between protected areas Indigenous communities in order to share best practices for biodiversity conservation and to inspire communities to take action to current social-ecological challenges. This will be done through the development and implementation of a capacity building training course that uses participatory techniques, namely participatory video, to facilitate the sharing of solutions for biodiversity conservation.
The project links to a current initiative to develop a Traditional Knowledge National Action Plan for Guyana through a Darwin Initiative project. This policy, aimed at addressing the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 18 (traditional knowledge integration into conservation) and 2050 vision, is unique internationally, and has specific actions that relate to peer-to-peer knowledge exchange amongst Indigenous communities within Guyana. Thus, this proposed project will help to put some of the policy goals in action.
The project will run from June 2020 to May 2021.