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Pachamama Alliance’s Achuar Partners Close Their Territories in Response to COVID-19

April 03, 2020 | By The Pachamama Alliance

Indigenous community in EcuadorPhoto by Jake Matthews.

As health experts around the world advise people to self-isolate and remain at home, our Indigenous partners have taken the necessary steps to abide by these recommendations in order to keep their communities healthy. 

To protect their communities, our Achuar partners in the rainforest closed their territories to visitors on March 11. They too are practicing physical distancing and have cancelled gatherings and modified ceremonies to stay protected. After they closed their borders to outsiders except for medical personnel, this left some traveling Achuar community members unable to return home. We are unsure at this time if they will need logistical support from Pachamama Alliance in order to shelter-in-place outside of their communities, but we are staying in close contact with the team at Fundación Pachamama and we will lend support however possible. 

Our team in Ecuador is still working under that country’s strict shelter-in-place policies. As the virus spreads throughout Ecuador, concerns about the devastating impacts on vulnerable indigneous communities continue to grow. The team at Fundación Pachamama is working alongside indigenous organizations and governing councils to create an emergency plan that would alleviate the effects of the virus and its spread to indigenous communities. 

Although the work in Ecuador has had to shift in response to COVID-19, the commitment to preserve the Amazon rainforest remains the same. The work on the Sacred Headwaters Initiative bio-regional plan continues to move forward with the research and writing now all being done remotely.

Given the unpredictability of this moment in time, we anticipate more changes to come as our Indigenous partners adapt to the evolving situation. You can stay up-to-date on these changes by subscribing to our newsletter.