The main aim of this handbook is to promote community owned solutions by proposing approaches that respond to current and future challenges to sustainability, natural resources management and biodiversity conservation.
The handbook introduces key concepts and techniques which underpin a participatory and systems approach to community engagement.
Pantani Book – 33 Amerindian Tales from the North Rupununi, Guyana
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 that surrounded us. It felt like being walked through an old town, with its church, its streets and its main square. The place was buzzing with memories and legends, evidencing the close ties between local communities and their environment. Of course, this is a subtle relationship, one that does not immediately spring to the eye of the foreign observer. It is without material evidence, marks or scars. Instead, it is deeply spiritual and largely invisible. What appears as thousands of hectares of wild savannah, forests and mountains is in fact the result of a mutual relationship, where human beings shape their environment and their environment, in turn, influences who they are and what they believe in. No wonder Indigenous territories also happen to be amongst the most preserved habitats on earth.
Pantani – pronounced ‘pan-duh-nee’ — means “stories” in Makushi, the language of the Indigenous peoples of the North Rupununi, Guyana. It is also the chosen name for a digital storytelling project, which took place be- tween June 2014 and May 2015 with the help of local storytellers Lakeram Haynes, Grace Albert, Abigail Allicock, Kenneth Butler and Janissa Roberts. All stories were originally published online, on a blog called www.pantaniblog.org. This book proposes a selection of the best ones.
Up-Scaling Support for Community Owned Solutions
Having evaluated the impact of the community identification, recording and sharing process, Project COBRA has demonstrated that indigenous community owned solutions can offer practical instruments to address challenges in sustainable development and the management of natural resources. These solutions can be a source of inspiration for other communities, as well as providing an effective and popular intervention for policy makers and governments to support.
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- Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Bignante, E. and Tschirhart, C. (2015). Between a rock and a hard place: ethical dilemmas of local community facilitators doing participatory projects. Geoforum, 61: 27-35.
- Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Tschirhart, C., Bignante, E., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, Jafferally, D. and de Ville, G. (2014). Indigenous identity and environmental governance in Guyana, South America. Cultural Geographies, 22(4): 689-712.
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- Tschirhart, C., Berardi, A., Mistry, J., Bignante, E., Verwer, C., Glastra, R., de Ville, G., Davis, O., de Souza, C., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Jafferally, D. and Abraham, J. (2014). Las políticas de cambio climático y las prácticas locales sostenibles: una evaluación de sinergias y conflictos en el Escudo Guayanés, América del Sur. Redesma, 14, art. 9. [online]
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- Berardi, A., Tschirhart, C., Mistry, J., Bignante, E., Haynes, L., Albert, G., Benjamin, R., Xavier, R. and Jafferally, D. (2013). From resilience to viability: a case study of indigenous communities of the North Rupununi, Guyana. EchoGéo, 24. [online]