Communities, Scientists, and Students Working Hand-In-Hand in The Amazon
Championed by Conservation Biologist and Political Ecologist, Dr. Nancy M. Dammann, this collaborative project works with a little known corridor of communities in the Peruvian Amazon to combat the growing pressures from extractive industries, violence, and illegal activities threatening biodiversity and livelihoods. Yes, little known, yet significant, as these communities are the gatekeepers of one of the world’s two largest bodies of freshwater and one of the greatest sources of biodiversity on the planet.
VASI has created a three-pronged approach: 1) Scientific Research Co-Authored by Collaborating Universities and Participant Communities; 2)“Pay-it-Forward” Scholarships, and; 3) Applied Projects, with strong participation from community leaders, families, and students of The Amazon.
On-the-ground research, along with the voice of the people, will guide resource allocation and direction. The communities’ first Applied Project is an Integrated Agroforestry Project that will organically produce wild and heirloom varieties of cacao (for chocolate), local fruits, and medicinal plants to support increased availability of traditional crops and reforestation of rare and ecologically important tropical hardwoods.
VASI, in the words of a local Peruvian teacher, is a vision from the Amazon (the lungs of the world) that proposes to help the world live in a way that is economically, culturally, socially, spiritually, and ecologically sustainable – and which includes and recognizes the rights of all people. We hope that this project will serve as a model or inspiration for collaborative projects in communities around the world. Please join us in supporting this good work!