For the first time, the Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery has selected two repair partners to support for 2023-2024. These repair partners are Sararo Ecotourism Community-Based Development Program, which is a new partnership, and the Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, who was our repair partner in 2019-2020.
The Sararo Ecotourism Community-Based Development Program is located in the village of Zabalo, Ecuador. Sararo is the Cofan word for giant river otter. This program keeps people on the land, youth in the village, and enables the Cofan to maintain their traditional life ways of hunting, fishing, gathering , cooking and artisan craft making.
The program could benefit from an injection of funding after suffering a huge hit during the global pandemic. Funds could be used to support investment in infrastructure, develop marketing channels and promote community development.
The village of Zabalo has approximately 200 inhabitants. The community has legal title to about 160,000 hectares of primary rain forest surrounding the village. The forest is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. The Cofan consider themselves the “guardians of the forest”.
This program has encouraged young families to remain on the land, and the funds would provide a significant boost during a difficult time, helping stabilize the program and providing a viable alternate to employment in extractive industries or narcotrafficking.
Suriname Indigenous Health Fund (SIHF) is the second repair partner for 2023-2024. SIHF affirms self-determination by supporting indigenous communities as they define their own priorities and initiatives concerning private and governmental land development programs impacting their health and traditional way of life. The focus of SIHF includes human rights, land rights, the social determinants of health, community health and environmental health.
From Dan Peplow, Co-Director of SIHF:
In addition to our support for community-led self-diagnosis of issues threatening their survival in an area being colonized by foreign investors, SIHF is also working with the Head of the Geneva Office of the United Nations Office for Project Services. We will be attending the G7/G20 Health Summit and will be proposing a “Health & Finance Working Group”, to address the, “misalignment between community health at a regional scale in the Americas and finance”. To this end, to this end, we are also in communication with executives at Orea Gold and Columbus Gold. Our focus is on mercury that is responsible for what amounts to a global environmental and public health crisis that is not amenable to redress through the expansion of health services and can only be addressed if WHO’s Health in All Policies, Framework for Country Action, is extended by the G7 and G20 to policies at the supranational level.
We look forward to new and deepening partnerships with these two groups.