Conservation is about power.
More precisely it is about the governance of land and how different interests get a say on that governance. Important questions for any conservation initiative therefore relate to who exerts power, how they do it and, critically, if important voices are missing how they be brought to the table?
Power, of course , is never evenly distributed in any society. Who you are, where you come from, where you live and what language you speak all go towards determining your ability to influence the way resources are managed.
Imagine then, you are a woman, from a minority ethnicity and a poor family, living in an area remote from you country’s centre of power. What are the chances of your voice being heard when decisions are made on the management of the forest and farmland upon which your community depends? You probably don’t need me to answer that question for you.
Luz Mery, a woman from the Huitot- Murui indigenous group living near Leticia in the Colombian Amazon fits that description. It is therefore really heartening to read the story of how she came to be a key person in organising local in puts into conservation planning and territorial governance. The story was brought to my attention by Carmen Candelo – from our Colombian office – who knows plenty about the role of women in Colombian conservation and who helped develop the ‘conversatorio’ process designed to bring marginalised voices to the fore.
You can download that story here in English or Spanish.
It’s not a typical conservation-type document, but rather a journey with Luz Mery through her life and her involvement in giving a voice to her community in the governance of the a fast changing corner of the Amazon.
Enjoy, and find more at @AmazonWWF_UK