Fundación Gaia Amazonas

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Public Statement 2017

Title Empowering Indigenous Authorities and Peoples in the Colombian Amazon to Guarantee Peaceful Governance in their Communities
Type of organization Non-governmental organization
Country Colombia
Duration  One year
IAF Funding   $50,000
Counterpart Committed $28,333
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
2,385
Primary program areas Education/training

Organization
GAIA is a Colombian NGO whose principal mission is to promote indigenous rights and the conservation in the Amazon. Its work focuses on the cultural empowerment of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region in Southeastern Colombia. GAIA has fostered grassroots organizational processes; has helped indigenous governments function in a framework of decentralization; and has promoted institutional cooperation in the tri-border area in the town of Leticia in southeastern Colombia.

GAIA’s governing board and executive director oversee daily operations. GAIA's staff includes professionals specializing in education, anthropology, biology, health care, law and other fields. GAIA has assisted 23 indigenous schools from the seven indigenous territories (resguardos) of Amazonas and Vaupes departments in gaining official recognition by Colombia's Ministry of Education, and has played a key role in developing bilingual and bicultural materials for classroom use. GAIA has received financing from the European Economic Community, the Swedish Society of Nature Conservation, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Austria and numerous other European donors.

Project Description
Fundación Gaia Amazonas (GAIA) is one of a cohort of IAF grantee partners that will support peace-building efforts at the grassroots level. GAIA will work with three organizations, which represent 40 local indigenous communities, located in the department of Vaupes, to prepare them to actively participate in peace-building activities through workshops and meetings with government officials. The project will reach 30 people directly and 2,385 community members indirectly. 

Rationale for Funding
Grassroots and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have an important role in building peace in Colombia. As Colombians begin to imagine a future without conflict, these organizations and their members must have their voices and proposals heard. To do this, they must have tools and spaces for learning and sharing, in this way building trust and relationships of mutual support among each other and with other actors in the country.

Learning Opportunity
This grant adds to a cohort of projects that support peace-building efforts at the grassroots level. The grant will give the IAF the opportunity to learn about how building trust and relationships of mutual support between grantee partners and other actors in the country can be a first step toward national reconciliation. These grants will also help the IAF to learn how to more effectively respond at scale to challenging opportunities such as the peace process in Colombia.