70 women, 5 days, 240 kilometers: Amazon Indigenous Women’s Walk to Quito
(October 12-17, 2013)
Maloca, with Village Earth support, is organizing a campaign to support 70 Indigenous Women walk to Quito, in an effort to make their voice heard. This campaign was started at the request of one of the women who are organizing this Walk, a good friend and respected Zapara leader in Ecuador.
For five days, 70 indigenous women from Ecuador’s Amazon will walk from the rainforest town of Puyo to the capital Quito. Their journey will begin on October 12th. The women will walk through the towns of Shell, Rio Negro, Ambato, Banos, Latacugna, arriving in Quito on October 17th. These determined women, from the Zapara, Waorani, Shwar, Achuar, and Kichua nations, will walk 240 kilometers, from the Amazon lowlands to 9,350 feet high in the Andes.
These women will walk to Quito to protest against oil, mining and other destructive projects currently under development on their territory, to demand that their human rights be respected, including the right to free, prior and informed consent. Extractive industry projects affect the rainforest, on which the livelihoods of these women depends. They find themselves unable to feed their family by cultivating contaminated land or by having their land taken away. Most projects ignore indigenous women’s rights to participation and their voice is not heard. Extractive activities divide communities and weaken their social structure making them more vulnerable, while destroying the environment on which communities depend for survival.They will demand from the government to respect their rights, their territories and to consider the “life plans” (Planes de Vida) that their communities have developed in a collaborative way.
On October 10 and 11, Shwar, Huaorani, Zapara, Achuar, Kichwa women will participate in Puyo in a general meeting “Mujeres en Vigila por la Vida” (Women Protecting Life), followed by the walk to Quito.
What these women need is logistical support for the walk: money for food and lodging along the 5 day walk. These women have the ideas, the courage and their fight, however they lack resources.