In March, 2012, within the framework of the Programa Conjunto Sector Privado y Desarrollo de la Región Brunca, and in coordination with the United Nations for Development Program (UNPD), the Outreach and Environmental Education Program (OEEP) for Las Cruces carried out a Workshop on Good Environmental Practices in six Indigenous Territories belonging to four different ethnic groups in the southern region of Costa Rica.
Among the assistants there were 19 people from La Casona reservation (Ngöbe-Buglés) including traditional healers, midwifes, artisans and cultural advisers; 7 people from the Salitre Territory (Bribris) from the Brìbripa Kanèblo Organization that is working in ethnoturism; 12 participants from Cabagra (Bribris), the majority high school students and teachers; 9 people from the Boruca community (Brunkas) including artisans and farmers, 14 people from the Térraba community (Teribes or Naso Brorán); and 16 participants from Rey Curré (Brunkas).
This workshop was developed in two working sessions within each community. Starting with a discussion group session about environmental problems in their own village, the group was also able to propose some possible solutions from their own perspective. Later, the talk was reinforced with an informative lecture about global and national environmental statistics and the adoption of better environmental habits at the domestic and agricultural level, illustrated as well with videos and images projection.
The second session consisted on a one day tour to visit 3 successful projects at the southern region of the country, which have been working in local sustainable development. The selected projects were the Asociación de Productores La Amistad (ASOPROLA; http://www.asoprola.org/ ), Asociación de Mujeres Organizadas de Biolley (ASOMOBI; http://www.cegesti.org/casosexito/asomobi.pdf ), and the Proyecto Orgánico Bio-alternativo La Amistad (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1446862687395.2063721.1108001656&type=1 ) all located in the buffer zone of the La Amistad International Park, in Biolley, Buenos Aires. Such projects have been characterized by having a focus in conservation, working with organic or sustainable production of services and products, and by promoting local development including rural tourism. The participants were able to ask questions about the different processes (farming organic coffee and vegetables, producing organic shampoo and creams, honey, crafts, etc.) as well as the main obstacles and needs that these projects have faced.
With the involvement of OTS, some of the expected results were:
- Active participation of small businesses that work in ethnotourism and artisan production, and community institutions or organizations in order to raise awareness about actual environmental problems at the local and global level.
- Inform and transfer basic knowledge about viable alternatives at the local level that could promote the usage and application of better environmental practices and technologies in the indigenous communities.
- Provide examples of some low cost environmental technologies and easy effort practices that can be applied at the domestic level, and present some ethnotourism projects in indigenous territories.
The participants showed great satisfaction with the inter-exchange experience and a strong interest in replicating similar activities and practices in their own communities in order to promote more responsible ethnotourism. Pictures here
To see the pictures of the activity press here.