This project helps the Wapichan people to legally secure and protect their ancestral lands. It also supports the community to maintain traditional forest knowledge and a traditional way of life. Size of Wales’ support will specifically support training and legal advice for the community, help monitor forest data and support schools to share traditional knowledge with younger generations. The community are also currently building a website to monitor and share their forest data.
As one community member, Leo Gomes, said “we make our living from our mother forest. She provides us with all the things we need ….it is like our storehouse. And the trees give us clean air to breathe from their green leaves. The bush contains the sacred areas, old settlement sites, ceremonial grounds, balata trails and former farming grounds of our fore parents. Those places are special to us.”
• Gold mining
• Infrastructure developments such as roads
• Governmnet of Guyana agreed in 2015 to enter formal talks with the Wapichan people
• 17 communities have developed a management plan and map
• Built a drone to monitor their forest lands
• Set up forest monitoring using smart phones