Chuyayaku is a small, rural, indigenous community located in a valley in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Thirty families live in the community, scattered around a central field, school, and medical outpost. The majority of residents live as small-scale subsistence farmers. The community has been directly impacted by the introduction of a road since 2012, which opened up access to regional markets; however, without existing economic activities in place, the community has not identified many benefits. The community is now struggling with how to manage new economic activities, natural resource extraction, and traditional practices.
The project seeks to help the Chuyayaku community identify what resources they have and decide together how to best manage those resources. Community members will attend a series of workshops focused on topics such as community history, basics of mapping and zoning, identifying and mapping community landmarks, and finding solutions to natural resource management conflicts. At the end of the workshops, they will work together to create a map of the community’s resources, which will be used to develop future projects focused on sustainable natural resource management and development.
Community members attended two workshops, where they discussed the history of the community, future visions and goals for the community, and how to create hand-drawn maps. With information from baseline surveys about family size, general land use, crops, and hunting areas, the community has started their base map. Six men from the community embarked on a GPS expedition, where they discovered areas they had not previously explored. Once the map is complete, the community will discuss the priorities and goals for sustainable development.
"The map project is having a lot of success. The community is very interested and has a lot of hope for future advancements thanks to this map." - Rodrigo, Project Leader