Since the beginning of our work, our focus has been mainly on the cooperation and empowerment of women. Due to the times of colonisation and contact with the Nawa (non-indigenous people), women usually have fewer financial and economic resources, are less likely to be in leadership or decision-making positions and generally have a lower social status. Previous cooperation, development projects, etc. have mainly worked with men.
Consequently, support and cooperation with women is all the more urgent. The Huni Kuin women carry their own wealth of knowledge in the form of songs, stories and weaving patterns. Moreover, they make an essential contribution to everyday village life and ensure the coexistence of the communities.
Women's Association Ainbu Dayá
We have been approached several times with the wish for a women's association of our own. At the beginning of 2022, the time had come: together with the local women and our Brazilian lawyer Federico, we created an association structure that represents the women of the 36 villages on the Rio Jordão and Rio Tarauacá rivers. The women's association Ainbu Dayá ("the work of women" in Hatxã Kuin, the indigenous language of the Huni Kuin) was born.
The aim of Ainbu Dayá is to empower the women of the Huni Kuin and support them in their struggle to protect the rainforest and their traditions. Regular meetings of the women (Encontros das Mulheres Huni Kuin) create intensive cooperation and exchange between the women from different villages. Especially in the context of the current climate crisis and the acute threats to the rainforest, the cohesion, organisation and exchange between the indigenous villages and families are of great importance. Through the association, the women are strengthened in their leadership roles and perceived as representatives of their tribe. Through Ainbu Dayá we have a strong local partner organisation. The planning, organisation and implementation are largely carried out by the indigenous women themselves.
Project: Gathering of the Huni Kuin women
Regular meetings are a central instrument of the association. Only through direct exchange can knowledge be passed on between the generations and concrete problems be discussed. However, such meetings are a logistical challenge: women from 36 different villages need transport to the village hosting the meeting. . A meeting lasts about a week. It is planned, conducted and led by the Huni Kuin women themselves. Topics of the meeting are, apart from the consolidation of traditional knowledge, the current living conditions, such as water supply, hygiene measures, medical care, political situation, family and education.
The structuring of the women also facilitates cooperation with external partners.
The first assembly will take place in April 2023. Thereafter, further assemblies are to take place at least every 2 years. While the focus of the first assembly is solely on Huni Kuin women, exchange and empowerment, future assemblies should also invite representatives of neighbouring indigenous tribes.