Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest guarded by All-Female Patrollers

The Yuturi Warmi, a group of indigenous Kichwa women in Ecuador, is dedicated to protecting their land in the Amazon Rainforest from extractive industries. Their efforts have successfully maintained the purity of their region despite external pollution threats.

Named after the resilient Yuturi ant and the term “Warmi” (woman) in Kichwa, the group which was formed in 2020, embodies strength and defense. The Yuturi Warmi patrol their land, covering up to 10 sq km, ensuring it remains uncontaminated. The group includes farmers, homemakers, artisans, and students. They meet weekly to share monitoring practices and address community concerns, driven by a deep connection to nature.

The group combats threats from legal and illegal mining, which have significantly increased in the region, leading to environmental and health risks.  Despite having collaborated with advocacy groups to expose illegal mining, resulting in a court ruling for environmental repair in 2022, the government action remains insufficient so the community continues on self-reliance.

Equipped with camera traps and drones, the women patrol monthly, documenting and reporting illegal activities. They rely on community support and non-violent methods, focusing on raising awareness and legal advocacy.

The Yuturi Warmi's work goes beyond environmentalism, advocating for policies that integrate cultural and environmental preservation. Their model of female leadership offers for other communities.

The group's activities foster a supportive and empowering environment, promoting independence and alternative income sources through artisanal crafts. Their goal is to extend this transformative model to other indigenous communities.

Photo: (c) Yuturi Warmi

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20240503-the-indigenous-women-fighting-mining-in-ecuadors-amazon

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Author: Sylvia Jacobs

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