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.

Download the book (pdf)

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 14.24.49How to find and share community owned solutions

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.

Versions: EnglishFrenchSpanishPortuguese

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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.

Version: English

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Mistry, J. and Berardi, A. (2016). Complementing Indigenous community owned solutions with scientific knowledge. Science, 352(6291): 1274-1275.
  • Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Tschirhart, C., Bignante, E., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Robertson, B., Davis, O., Jafferally, D. and de Ville, G. (2016). Community owned solutions: identifying local best practices for social-ecological sustainability. Ecology and Society, 21(2):42.
  • Tschirhart, C., Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Bignante, E., Simpson, M., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Robertson, B., Davis, O., Verwer, C., de Ville, G. and Jafferally, D. (2016). Learning from one another: the effectiveness of horizontal knowledge exchange for natural resource management and governance. Ecology and Society, 21(2):41.
  • Oteros-Rozas, E., Martín-López, B., Daw, T., Bohensky, E., Butler, J., Hill, R., Martin-Ortega, J., Quinlan, A., Ravera, F., Ruiz-Mallén, I., Thyresson, M., Mistry, J., Palomo, I., Peterson, G., Plieninger, T., Waylen, K., Beach, D., Bohnet, I., Hamann, M., Hanspach, J., Hubacek, K., Lavorel, S. and Vilardy, S. (2015). Participatory scenario-planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies. Ecology and Society 20(4): 32. [online]
  • Berardi, A., J. Mistry, C. Tschirhart, E. Bignante, O. Davis, L. Haynes, R. Benjamin, G. Albert, R. Xavier, D. Jafferally and G. De Ville. (2015). Applying the system viability framework for cross-scalar governance of nested social-ecological systems in the Guiana Shield, South America. Ecology and Society 20(3): 42. [online]
  • 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.
  • Mistry, J., Tschirhart, C., Verwer, C., Glastra, R., Davis, O., Jafferally, D., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Bovolo, I. and Berardi, A. (2014). Our common future? Cross-scalar scenario analysis for social-ecological sustainability of the Guiana Shield, South America. Environmental Science & Policy 44: 126-148.
  • 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]
  • Mistry, J., Bignante, E. and Berardi, A. (2014). Why are we doing it? Exploring participant motivations within a participatory video project. Area.
  • 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]

Articles/Chapters in Press

  • Mistry, J., Tschirhart, C., Berardi, A., Davis, O., Bignante, E., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Robertson, B., Jafferally, D., Verwer, C., Glastra, R. and de Ville, G. Policies and practices: identifying synergies and conflict for Indigenous community sustainability in the Guiana Shield, South America. In: Barker, D., D. McGregor, T. Edwards and K. Rhiney (eds). The Caribbean Region: Adaptation and Resilience to Global Change. University of the West Indies Press, Kingston, Jamaica. (in press)
  • Bignante, E., Mistry, J., Berardi, A. and Tschirhart, C., Feeling and acting ‘different’: emotions and shifting self-perceptions whilst facilitating a participatory video process. Emotion, Space and Society (in press)

Other Outputs

  • Mistry, J. and Berardi, A. (2016).Community owned solutions for environmental governance. Geography and You, 16 (96): 8-11. [online]
  • Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Verwer, C. and de Ville, G.  (2015). Up-Scaling Support for Community Owned Solutions. A Project COBRA Report for Policy Makers. [online]
  • Tschirhart, C., Mistry, J., Simpson, M., Berardi, A., Verwer, C., de Ville, G. and Bignante, E. (2014). Report on best practice sharing, implementation and evaluation. [online]
  • Berardi, A., Bignante, E., Mistry, J., Simpson, M., Tschirhart, C., Verwer, C., and de Ville, G. (2014). How to find and share community owned solutions. A Handbook. [online]
  • Verver, C. and Mistry, J. (2013). Local farming solutions in the forests of the Guiana shield. COP19 day 4: Forests and Agriculture. Outreach: a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development. [online]
  • Mistry, J., Tschirhart, C. and Berardi, A. (2013). Report on best practice case studies. [online]
  • Mistry, J., Verwer, C., Tschirhart, C., Glastra, R., Davis, O., Jafferally, D. and Bovolo, I. (2013). Report on the cross-scalar social-ecological scenarios of the Guiana Shield. [online]
  • Berardi, A., Mistry, J., Tschirhart, C., Verwer, C., Glastra, R., de Ville, G., Davis, O., de Souza, C., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Xavier, R., Albert, G., Jafferally, D., Bignante, E. and Abraham, J.  (2013). Second report on the cross-scalar interactions and compatibilities governing sustainable development and ecosystem service management of the Guiana Shield: drivers of social and environmental degradation, and policy responses. [online]
  • Mistry, J. and Verwer, C. (2013). Participatory Scenario Development. Project COBRA Briefing No. 16. [online]
  • Mistry, J. and Jafferally, D. (2013). Ethics in COBRA. Project COBRA Briefing No. 13. [online]
  • Mistry, J. and Byrne, L. (2013). Briefing on future scenarios. Project COBRA Briefing No. 12. [online]
  • Mistry, J. and Veening, W. (2012). Community-owned solutions in the Guiana Shield forests. COP18 day 5: Forests. Outreach: a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development. [online]
  • Berardi, A., Mistry, J., Tschirhart, C., Abraham, J. and Bignante, E. (2012). Report on the cross-scalar interactions and compatibilities governing sustainable development and ecosystem service management of the Guiana Shield. [online]
  • Bignante, E. and Mistry, J. (2012). Participatory Video & Photo. Project COBRA Briefing No. 5. [online]
  • Jafferally, D., Mistry, J., Glastra, R. and Bovolo, I. (2012). North Rupununi in 2030: alternative future scenarios for the development of the North Rupununi. [online]
  • Davis, O., Bovolo, I., Jafferally, D., Mistry, J. and Glastra, R. (2012). Guyana in 2030: developing alternative future scenarios through Georgetown stakeholder participation. [online]