Three young beneficiaries of the Bambuzonía project explain the reasons for promoting bamboo in their territories.
In the canton of ‘El Tena’, located in the Napo province in Ecuador, a group of young people raise their voices with a common purpose: promoting the use of bamboo.
They constantly work to create a new generation with greater social and environmental awareness. Their energy and knowledge are unwavering, constantly evolving to guide men, women, children and other youth toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable future. They are actively engaged at the local level through awareness-raising, the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and the implementation of adaptation and mitigation projects.
Despite the global situation due to COVID-19, which has not only caused the saturation of health services and interruption in education. Shakira, Cristofer and Joe, have transformed this scenario into an opportunity to defend the needs of communities and their environment, within the framework of gender equality and climate action, for a more sustainable world.
Thus, together with the Kiwchas de Napo “Amukina” women’s association, they collaborate in the implementation of bamboo nurseries, promoted by INBAR together with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Dary Aguinda, president of the Association, says that his vision was always to promote guadúa. “A friend told me about the Bambuzonía project and I decided to join in this activity because with this resource many things can be undertaken,” she adds.
And since then, together with women, men and young people from different organizations, they have worked on the construction of two nurseries: one in the Tomas Grefa community, on the way to Ongota Bajo, a place where 1700 bamboo plants have been planted, while in the second nursery, located in the Unión Venecia community via Misahualli, there are 1500 bamboo plants.
“I have always wanted to support women, men and young people from different organizations. I always motivate them to follow climate change projects,” adds Dary.
Her enthusiasm has captured the attention of young people such as Shakira Andy, 25, who lives in the Runashito community of Chonta Punta parish. For this young Kiwcha, community work is essential, which is why from her profession as an Environmental Engineer, she helps her loved ones and take care of the environment, what she calls her “home”.
“Hearing about the Bambuzonía project, I was quickly drawn to the handling and preservation of bamboo.” “It is a sustainable resource, good for different uses and I want to support my community in reforestation activities,” she says.
Shakira, despite her young age, knows that caring for the environment is valuing life, which is why one of her goals, after having participated in the implementation of bamboo nurseries and participating in INBAR’s training processes, seeks in the future to promote sustainable commercialization and continue reforestation tasks.
“In these participatory processes, we have seen gender equality, men and women are supporting each other.” “I want to bring together more young people and encourage them to conserve the environment because if we don’t conserve it now, we won’t have a future for our generations,” she says.
Starting a transformation under premises of environmental respect is also the path that Cristofer Andy Shiguango, 27, who is also part of the implementation of nurseries, travels. This young dreamer indicates that his entry into the project further expanded his knowledge regarding this natural resource.
“Information about the bamboo field school reached my community.” “In this training, I have understood the proper use and management of bamboo and the environmental and economic benefits of this resource,” he says.
His connection with the Amukina Association, beyond being an experience that allows him to nurture his knowledge, has allowed him to expand his professional horizons. “Thanks to this process with INBAR and Amukina, I have managed to expand my working network, knowledge and I have been able to continue to be involved in more projects,” he adds.
Cristofer knows that a total effort is a complete victory. For this reason, he is confident that each activity that he developed in the bamboo nurseries together with his colleagues will soon bring great benefits. “We all work to prepare and fix the nursery.” “Every effort invested will give us great rewards in the end,” he reiterates.
Away from conventional activities of people his age, he prefers to be ready and alert to any situation that may alter his territory. “I want to continue with the nursery and continue with reforestation activities on the riverbanks.” “We must make people aware of what is happening in the world.” “Now that we have bamboo, we must make the most of it because the damage is not only today but tomorrow,” he emphasizes.
To this, agrees his colleague Joe Cerda, 24 years old, who, despite having just finished his studies in Environmental Engineering, is clear that knowledge goes along with practice. He is also part of the development of the bamboo nurseries.
“It was interesting to learn more about bamboo, such as planting and harvesting.” “This is an innovative and sustainable way to fight deforestation,” he says.
Joe is confident that the smallest intention achieves great results. That is why he adds that his medium and long-term plan focuses on continuing to promote bamboo in his territory, he is convinced that beyond offering a new respite to the environment, the versatility of this resource will transcend borders even more.
These three young people want to leave a mark for future generations so that they understand that the earth does not belong to us, but that we belong to it and that the smallest action to take care of it will achieve the greatest results when you have the confidence that work as a team it enriches us as human beings.
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