Building community appropriation of the territory in Calamar

Building community appropriation of the territory in Calamar

Colombia - 16 December, 2022

Local research, exchanges among elders and the development of pedagogical territorial projects are some of the actions taking place in the municipality of Calamar, Guaviare, to enhance the community appropriation of management and restoration processes in the territory. All these processes developed by Tropenbos Colombia include the participation of women, youths, children and elders so the management of territory and the interaction among communities becomes more active and thus contribute to territory ordering processes by organizations such as WWF Colombia, our strategic partner in the region.

Local research is a tool for the inclusion of local knowledge, practices and experiences in formation, conservation, restoration and ordering processes in the territory

In the past months, we have developed 10 local research projects with indigenous, afro and campesino communities. These projects show the knowledge they have about the forest products and about cultivation systems as well as important touristic sites

Local research promotes participation, dialogue, governance, and actively involving communities in the territory management. These projects were also a means to show the diverse identity of Calamar and Guaviare: A territory where different cultures and worldviews live together with different stories of settlement.

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These research projects have become a management tool that facilitated intercultural exchanges and invites people to recognize the diversity of knowledge in their own territory. Intercultural dialogues are also a means to strengthen community bonds in the municipality.

The goal in 2023 is to include the visions of these local research projects in the property regime evaluation of the municipality so communities can improve and make the necessary adjustments to make traditional productive practices more sustainable.

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A next step in the social appropriation process in the conservation and restoration initiatives is to develop intercultural exchanges among elders and local educators. In these meetings, indigenous, campesino and afro communities show their research and discuss ways to include them in the schools in Calamar.

Participative research and veredal planning and didactic tools to facilitate participation

The dialogue scenarios generated by local research have also been the base to rethink the methodologies used by organizations such as WWF Colombia and the government of Guaviare in property regimes.

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In this sense, the dialogue and learning dynamics make collaborative learning and experience exchanges an everyday practice making emerging processes easier to approach in a participative a collaborative manner.

In the participative workshops on property regulation with communities, local leaders and inhabitants are working in the characterization of their territories with tools such as maps. This has made the communities understand the complexity of their territories and discriminate the necessities they have with more precision.

The participation of women, youths, children and elders

The social appropriation of the territory is also the result of wide, inclusive and regular participation in decision making about the present and future of the places we inhabit. This project proposes actions with women, youths, children and elders so their knowledge and worldviews is recognized.

Local reseach and life projects have been a means for them to identify their voices and presenting them in planning scenarios, in restoration initiatives and in local government meetings in general such as campesino or indigenous associations.

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Territory pedagogical projects in education institutions

In order to enhance a sense of belonging to the territory, students, parents and teachers are building school projects to connect historical, productive and environmental processes with the support of Tropenbos Colombia. Education institutions are key platforms to generate social appropriation and ideal to become scenarios of critical reflections about the present and future of the territory.

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They are also a place where different generations meet through knowledge and where new visions emerge through discussions and renewed understandings of social and environmental issues in the region. Tropenbos Colombia is promoting the strengthening of curricula through the territorial pedagogical projects methodology in three education centers in Calamar. These processes promote the development of research projects within the education institutions.

These research projects have the following characteristics: 1) they are intercultural, which means they learn from the rich local context through knowledge exchange and the planning of curricular activities including students from different cultural backgrounds; 2) they combine scientific and local knowledge; 3) they build upon the curricula; and 4) they are interdisciplinary.

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Today, teachers and students the territory as a learning environment and they recognize they can have an impact in governance through their research. These research projects have become an opportunity to facilitate intercultural and inter-communitarian meetings, also exchanges among education institutions and among elders or knowledge-holders and the mobilization of students to places of interest such as the Indigenous Resguardo El Iltla in the frontier of the National Natural Park Chiribiquete.

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