Join Amazonian Communities in Creating a Sustainable Future

World leaders say that the Amazon is crucial to preventing climate collapse. Will you support local communities as they lead the way?

Join Amazonian Communities in Creating a Sustainable Future image

World leaders say that the Amazon is crucial to preventing climate collapse. Will you support local communities as they lead the way?

VASI supports and amplifies the work of local communities to protect the Amazon and create a sustainable future.

With a 96% success rate (in which evacuated residents have been able to return to normal activities in their communities) VASI’s River Ambulance Project is increasing access to quality healthcare for rural Amazonians working to defend the Amazon. The project underlines the impact made when tools and support are provided to communities as they design their own solutions to pressing problems of global impact.

Here at VASI, we believe that a bright and sustainable future can exist, and that to create it we must shift from common practices and top-down approaches, to a new collaborative way of working that recognizes local communities' voices and stands with them as they lead.

VASI (Amazonian Vision for an Integrated Sustainability) is a community founded and community led non-profit with US 5013c status through our fiscal sponsor Utopia Foundation. We work by connecting rural and isolated communities with outside resources to execute locally designed solutions with global impact. Local and Indigenous cosmovisions guide our work and recognize the inseparability of human and ecosystem health and well being and the power of collaboration, equity, and transparency.

VASI’s currently focuses on three main programs: (1) access to quality culturally-integrated health care and education, (2) sustainable livelihoods focussing on food sovereignty, and (3) collaborative scientific research. Each of our programs nourishes and contributes to the others.

Outbreaks of diseases such as Covid-19, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever underline the need to help maintain intact healthy ecosystems and sustainable local food ways. All of these diseases have roots in the destruction of habitat, and pandemics such as Covid-19 threaten food distribution. But together, we can work to maintain healthy ecosystems and create sustainable local food systems.

Our work has begun in the Peruvian Amazon, and with time will spread to other communities and vulnerable ecosystems.

Our current projects include:

1. VASI Community Health Program. During 2020, VASI built a broad coalition led by community members and including local and provincial government authorities, health professionals, and private businesses, other non-profits, students, medical professors, and doctors from Peruvian and US universities (including Stanford, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Harvard) and generous donors. Together we provided protective gear and medicines and launched the first public River Ambulance System in the Peruvian Amazon. Now with three boats launched we are:

Implementing River Ambulances--Boats to Save Lives. COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for access to medical care, and in this region that means travelling by river. The district of Sarayacu, is a roadless area the size of Delaware with ~70 towns, 3 MDs, and 15 health posts. Before these boats existed it often took more than 24 hours to reach the nearest hospital. We have outfitted three speedboats to serve as safe river transports, now we need to implement them with medical and ambulance supplies, equipment such as oxygen, defibrillators, and more basic supplies such as IV’s and suture kits. These river ambulances will serve for years, if not decades, to help people in life-threatening situations reach emergency care.

The boats serve multiple functions: transporting people with emergencies, returning with medicines and medical supplies, and transporting medical personnel to outlying communities to provide preventative care and education and to facilitate the integration of traditional local medicine with pharmaceutical medicine.

Supporting Preventative and Basic Health Care Campaigns. Using the River Ambulances, local health care professionals are visiting all of the communities, including the 55 communities without a local health care professional to provide preventative and primary care. For some communities, these visits have been the first time a nurse or doctor visited the community in five years.

Training Community Health Promoters—Creating and implementing a curriculum to train community members to act as first responders, provide preventative, and basic care in their communities. The curriculum will combine traditional and plant-based medicine with conventional and pharmaceutical modalities.

2. VASI’s second main priority is re-enforcing and promoting sustainable local food systems and food sovereignty. As the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, access to locally produced nutritious food is fundamental to community health. VASI is:

Developing an Integrated Agroforestry Project--i.e. a project to support local farmers as they focus on growing mixed organic tree crops (including cacao for chocolate, tropical fruits, medicinal species and rare timber species) together with the management of native stingless bees (important pollinators that also provide a culturally important medicinal honey). These "agroforests" decrease the number of fires burning ever year, provide habitat for many species of wildlife, regenerate soils, protect water sources, increase local food sovereignty and nutrition, contribute to local community health, and provide a stable income to local farmers.

Facilitating a Community-Based Fisheries Governance Project--a project so that local fishing families and communities gain the legal rights to manage the fisheries. Worldwide, community-based fisheries governance has been shown to be extremely effective—leading to better nutrition, increased incomes, stabilization of fish populations, and the creation and protection of natural nurseries for migratory fish.

VASI’s founding communities have dedicated decades and centuries working to make sure that the lakes in which they fish remain healthy, unfortunately Peruvian law, does not support their work.

Collaborating with partners in Peru, Brazil, and other Amazonian communities, VASI is working to support the communities in their efforts to gain these important legal rights and to contribute to the region wide conversation to elevate the role of communities in creating a truly sustainable Amazonian wide fisheries plan.

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VASI enjoys 5013c status through our fiscal sponsor Utopia Foundation. All donations are tax deductible. UTOPIA Foundation covers, free of charge, many of the expenses of receiving donations and maintaining non-profit certification. As a result, each of your donations has a greater effect. To avoid all transaction fees, you can send us a check at Utopia Foundation, 123 W. Front Street suite 2B, Traverse City, MI 49684. Please, write VASI in the notes or Memo section.

EIN: 52-2392335