FEATURE STORY

Indigenous Communities define their priorities for development and access financing

October 15, 2012


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For indigenous families of Paraguay, access to water is one their highest priorities.

Renato Nardello - World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Access to drinking water and electricity are their main needs.
  • More than 3.000 families will benefit from the funds.
  • The funds can be used to improve their supply of utilities as well as for the diversification of their production for self-consumption and income purposes.

Secundino Vera remembers that until a couple of years ago he used to walk with his family a few kilometers and get to the Say’ju stream to bathe and even to get water from its source.  Today, his greatest concern is to make sure that his grandchildren do not get close to the stream. And why is that?  Its water is contaminated mainly as a result of the spraying of crops that grow close to the community, and it is no longer a safe source of water.

Vera is the president of the Association of Indigenous Communities of San Pedro (ACISPE) and one of the leaders of the community of Santa Isabel Yasy, an indigenous ava guaraní community established in the department of San Pedro, at about 300 km. of the capital city, Asunción. In this community, 151 families have organized themselves to carry out a Community Investment Plan with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, through the Sustainable Rural Development project which has financial and technical assistance from the World Bank.

Secundino’s community will have access to an investment fund of USD 40.000 that will be used to improve the system that supplies and distributes drinking water.


" Water is essential to us, not only to care for our health and that of our children, but also for the production processes of the farm and to care for our animals. "

Secundino Vera

President of the Association of Indigenous Communities of San Pedro (ACISPE)

The investment fund – to which they had access after submitting a development plan – will also allow them to improve the supply of electricity, diversify the production of the community, not only for their own consumption but also to sell it, and will also be used to improve the sustainable management of their natural resources.

“What we value the most about this project is that the starting point was a consultation with us, and it is the first time that we work this way, the first time we are asked what we need, what our priority is, and we ourselves come up with plans, we define in what to work and how to work” explained in Guaraní the indigenous leader.

Throughout the project, 60 additional indigenous communities of the departments of San Pedro and Caaguazú will benefit, which represent about 3.000 families and approximately 13.000 people.

The activities that will be financed are mainly to cover their basic needs, which are not covered, as well as to improve the standards of their homes, to build their cooking fireplaces and to improve the distribution systems of drinking water and electricity. Likewise, in terms of production, they will be helped to improve their production for their home consumption as well as for income purposes.  In environmental terms, the creation of community forest nurseries, protection barriers against large-scale spraying of agrochemicals, the management and recovery of soils and reforestation of forests will be promoted.


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