Médio Juruá receives political training course for young leaders in the territory

Initiative aims to strengthen youth skills to become agents of transformation in their communities.

Last month, the community of Bom Jesus, located in the Médio Juruá (AM) region, in the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve, received more than 100 participants from different local communities to participate in political training. With the aim of rescuing territorial identity and the struggle to guarantee rights, which began between the 70s and 80s with the Base Education Movements (MEB), the first module of the course began a complete training focused on the development of young leaders. 

?The course highlights the importance of youth empowerment and investment in programs that enable young people to become agents of change in their own communities and territories. It is important that they understand the role and responsibilities of young leadership in the Amazon region and how they can be catalysts for local civic and political engagement?, declares Raimundo Cunha, president of the Association of Extractive Residents of the São Raimundo Community (Amecsara) and one of the young people leaders in the region. 

The course is an initiative of the Middle Juruá Territory Forum (TMJ Forum), carried out by Amecsara and the Juruá Institute, organizations that strengthen production chains and coordination in the territory, and is supported by partners such as: Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation ( ICMBio), Juruá Middle Territory Forum, Sitawi, SOS Amazônia and Brazil-Germany Cooperation for Sustainable Development (GIZ).

Community organization, democracy and citizenship

The first module brought participants an immersion and enabled a journey of discovery about the importance of leadership in community social organization. With a focus on establishing fundamental foundations for the civic and political engagement of local youth, youth were encouraged to reflect on their role as agents of change in their own environments and in the context of the Amazon. In total, the training includes 10 modules? three of these already have financing secured. 

?The course was a real inspiration for us, young people in the communities. In this first module, we learned not only about leadership theory, but also about how we can make a difference in our own communities”, shares Mikaele Paixão Figueiredo, course participant and resident of the São Raimundo RESEX Médio Juruá Community.

Female empowerment 

Gender equity in leadership was also the focus of dialogue in this first module. According to local representatives, gender diversity in leadership has been associated with more effective decision-making and more ethical and responsible management. As a result, more and more women have taken on managerial roles. 

?By exploring topics that are so important for developing good leadership, I believe we are empowering young people (men and women) to become effective leaders committed to the sustainable development of their communities. In addition to empowering women to occupy decision-making spaces, highlights Maria das Neves, member of the Associação das Mulheres Agroextrativists do Médio Juruá (ASMAMJ). 

Inclusion of indigenous peoples

The Middle Juruá is home to indigenous communities whose cultural traditions and ancestral knowledge play a fundamental role in preserving biodiversity and environmental sustainability in the Amazon. During the course, young indigenous leaders representing the Kanamari, Deni and Kulina Peoples? who were participating in the course? they had the opportunity to share with others the perspectives of territorial identity of the territory's original peoples at a debate table. 

??I recognize that we are having our voices heard, and these spaces of opportunity are important for us to speak and hear how much we can be part of this transformation and how much we can be leadership, but also be prepared to fight for sovereignty, being people with our rights respected, ours and our territories??, says Adriana Lima, indigenous health agent and representative of the Kulina people. 

The Middle Juruá Territory

The Middle Juruá Territory, which covers two conservation units? Middle Juruá Extractive Reserve and Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve, three Indigenous Lands (TI Deni, TI Matatibem and TI do Taquara and a fishing agreement area)?, brings within the framework of its history references to the struggle for sovereignty and quality of life , with the right to stay in the forest. In addition to the aforementioned Indigenous Lands, the TI Kanamari do Rio Juruá also participated and can bring its perspective of occupying the territory. These stories motivate local youth to continue the journey of empowerment and leadership for the region.

Since 2017, Sitawi has been collecting and managing financial contributions for the Juruá Middle Territory Program (PTMJ). It also participates in its programmatic design and implementation in partnership with local organizations (AMAB, AMARU, AMECSARA, ASMAMJ, ASPROC, ASPODEX, ACFRC and CODAEMJ). In the current phase, together with USAID/Brazil, the Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) and Natura, the program brings together projects led by the territory, supporting the arapaima and oilseed value chains, in addition to territorial protection, governance, female entrepreneurship and youth.

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