Communities in the páramos: local knowledge and capacities for the management of strategic ecosystems

Communities in the páramos: local knowledge and capacities for the management of strategic ecosystems

Colombia - 24 November, 2015

Strengthening the local knowledge and the capacities is a strategy that enhances the management of strategic ecosystems as it has been demonstrated by the results obtained in the project Communities of the páramos.

An integral view of the páramos, a high Andean ecosystem, was promoted by TBI Colombia through participatory action research and participative strategies related to health, education, and the strengthening of the economy, politics and organization of the páramos of Chingaza and Guerrero. The methodologies used included dialogues to exchange knowledge and experiences and learning by doing which enabled local institutions and knowledge holders to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to define their priorities in the construction of a citizen agenda for this ecosystem in the country.

After three years of activities, the project has developed numerous outputs that provide an holistic insight and understanding of the páramos and its inhabitants. This outputs are not only of interest and useful for local communities, but also contribute to the academic and policy making debates as the ways of living and subsistence in these areas are presented.

Participatory action research in the páramo

A strategy was developed to strengthen the participatory action research taking into account the knowledge, language and the experience the inhabitants of the páramos have and the results of these actions were documented. Among the topics documented are ecological calendars, organic cultivation systems in the páramos, reforestation strategies, climate monitoring, environmental history of the territory, history of local organizations and inventories with varieties of medicinal plants, fruit and timber trees, among others.

Publications: Series: Participatory action research in the páramo

Solidarity funds

Actions to consolidate local proposals for the sustainable management of the páramos were developed through a capacity-building program directed at establishing and managing funds to promote projects, based on a solidarity economy. Many organizations and associations participated in this process including water management, productive, women and ecotourism associations.

Publication: Solidarity and Self-management: an economic alternative for the communities of the páramos

Education pertinent to the context

The capacities of local teachers were strengthened through a program that invited them to develop integral classroom projects including knowledge and practices inspired in the páramos ecosystem. In this way, teachers began to develop projects related to their ecological context.

More information: Exploring the páramo ecosystem from schools

Publication: Experiences of education according to the context: understanding the páramo from the schools

Citizen Agenda

This Agenda resulted from a capacity building strategy directed to strengthen local governance. A certificate course was developed by the Universidad Central that enabled a multi-stakeholder dialogue to exchange information and to enhance decision making processes among different actors. This process included the concertation of proposals for planning and promotion of policies in the páramos among national institutions, communitarian organizations, civil society and the academy.

Publication: Citizen agenda about the páramos

Communication activities directed towards participation

Some activities were directed to generate communication products from a local perspective in order to guarantee an effective dissemination of adaptation strategies among local and institutional actors. Among the results obtained, are mural projects in municipalities, audiovisual documentation of the local aqueducts and the radio programme series “We are Monteluna: These are the voices and stories of the Chingaza páramo”.

More information: The radio from a youth perspective

Living in the páramos: A regional dialogue about this ecosystem

The project was the gathering place of very diverse Andean realities since it included Ecuador and Peru. The constant feedback on adaptation strategies from the country teams encouraged organizational collaboration, the positioning of the role of women and a more intense participation of communities in debates. The regional advisors and the work teams in each country developed methodological strategies to understand the vulnerability, the capacities and governance in the three countries and all theses experiences have been collected into a document.

Publication: Living in the páramos: perceptions, vulnerabilities, capacities and governance

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