Help Communities Working to Protect the Amazon Address and Recover from Covid-19.

VASI's founding communities have created a coalition to address and recover from COVID19 and continue their work to protect the Amazon, the lungs of our world. WIll you join them?

Help Communities Working to Protect the Amazon Address and Recover from Covid-19. image

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VASI's founding communities have created a coalition to address and recover from COVID19 and continue their work to protect the Amazon, the lungs of our world. WIll you join them?

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

There is no warm clean running water to wash hands, only 3 MD's (for an area the size of the state of Delaware), and limited ability to evacuate sick people to a hospital--but our founding communities have formed a coalition of generous donors such as yourself, local and provincial authorities, businesses of children of these communities, other non-profits, and more to help them to protect themselves and their neighbors during this pandemic and to continue their work to protect the Amazon.

Last year, our world was shocked by reports of extreme numbers of fires in the Amazon Now the whole world is facing an unprecedented pandemic and even more fires are burning. Many are wondering about our world's ability to continue to support us.

Here at VASI, we believe that a bright and sustainable future can exist, and that to create it we must be willing to all work together. 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 was founded by a group of nine communities in the Peruvian Amazon, students, and scientists as a means to address the threats of biodiversity loss, climate change, and extreme poverty. As together we face this global pandemic, we rely even more on our history of collaboration and our vision of a world with a bright sustainable future.

Our vision draws on the ancient wisdom of local peoples--communities that recognize that we are all interconnected, that the forests and lakes and rivers and oceans are a part of humanity, and that our future depends on their protection.

Outbreaks of diseases such as Covid-19, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever (more than 8000 cases in Peru in the first three months of 2020) 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. A continued campaign to address and recover from Covid-19 in the communities. Working with a broad coalition led by community members and including: local and provincial government authorities, private businesses, other non-profits, and generous donors, VASI has been able to provide protective gear and basic medicines. Now we are focussing on the immediate and long term need of:

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. Right now, the district of Sarayacu, a roadless area the size of Delaware with ~70 towns,3 MDs, no ambulances, and an extremely limited capacity to evacuate someone in the case of an emergency. Some areas are more 24 hours away from a hospital by commercial ferry. These river ambulances will serve for years, if not decades, to help people in life-threatening situations reach emergency care. They will also serve to transport medical personnel to outlying communities to provide preventative care and education, and to facilitate the integration of traditional local medicine with pharmaceutical medicine.

2. Student programing, leadership and conservation training. Most of us realize how hard the pandemic has been for young people—virtual education and social isolation is difficult everywhere. Our students are resilient. COVID19 has brought new hurdles. Students have been cut off from school and their classmates, isolated in sometimes violent households, and no longer have access to the communally prepared free meals. In our founding district, technology is not available to facilitate remote learning, and in the cities our university students are just beginning remote classes (having missed one semester).

Yet, despite these hurdles, VASI's student members are helping to create a plan to address the needs caused by COVID19—ways for students to safely connect with each other and provide peer support, help connecting students with government services and virtual education programs, creating opportunities to provide virtual exchanges between US based students and students from the communities, and beginning to develop a virtual leadership and conservation training.

3.VASI's third main priority for the next 12 months is to help the communities develop more sustainable local food systems. The pandemic has highlighted this need. As part of this VASI is:

Continuing a massive land titling campaign--helping local small farmers gain their legal rights to the land and can invest in sustainable conservation oriented forms of agriculture.

Developing An integrated agroforestry project--i.e. a project to support local farmers as they focus on growing organic tree crops including: cacao for chocolate, tropical fruits, and rare timber species. These "agroforests" decrease the amount of fires burning ever year, provide habitat for many species of wildlife, and provide a stable income to local farmers.

Facilitating a community based fisheries management project--a project so that local fishing families leadership in managing the fisheries becomes recognized and legally supported. This will allow them to gain a sustainable income from their fishing, increase and stabilize the fish populations, and act as a nursery for important fish species that migrate throughout the Amazon.

4. Finally we continue developing an online network to connect communities around the globe with outside experts, resources, ideas, and more so that local communities gain access to support needed to bring their initiatives to fruition.

For more information, please visit www.proyectovasi.org and sign up for our newsletter.

VASI enjoys 5013c status through our fiscal sponsor Utopia Foundation. All donations are tax deductible. UTOPIA Foundation covers 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