The Resources Hub to Strengthen Indigenous Rights
Equitable Origin and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) have developed an online Indigenous Rights and Resources Hub (“the Resource Hub”) that Indigenous Peoples can use to understand, assert, and safeguard their rights in the context of natural resource development. Since 2019, Equitable Origin and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) have developed the Center for Strengthening Indigenous Rights, an online resource hub (“the Resource Hub”) that Indigenous Peoples can use to better understand, assert, and safeguard their rights in the context of natural resource development. The Resource Hub focuses on three main pillars:
1. A virtual library of information on rights and resource development
2. Capacity-building through workshops, e-learning, and ‘mingas’1
3. An expert network to respond to the needs of Indigenous Peoples
On August 9th 2020, in celebration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, Equitable Origin and COICA published a short video about the Resource Hub.
Highlighting the needs of Indigenous Peoples during the pandemic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Equitable Origin and COICA quickly pivoted to focus on the creation of digital content, online educational modules, and communications to help strengthen indigenous rights. As a result, since March 2020, the Resource Hub has focused on developing and disseminating information related to the right to information, health services, and the responses of communities in the face of the pandemic, including video interviews, blogs and webinars.
In June 2020, Equitable Origin, in collaboration with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) hosted a virtual seminar on “Access to Emergency Funds by Indigenous Peoples: Available Resources and Access Mechanisms” and “Strategic Partnerships in the Pandemic: The successful case of COICA-CONFENIAE and the Fundacion Raiz”. The webinars sought to provide tools to empower Indigenous communities to address inequality of access to funds and financial resources that allow them to develop their own programs in response to the global health emergency.
Throughout 2021, we have started to launch a couple of courses identified by our indigenous partners. These included: digital literacy; social media management; the rights to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; environmental monitoring; climate change; etc. These ‘comunicadores’ will form a network that shares information between communities, supports Resource Hub activities on the ground, and maintains the internet infrastructure. The idea is not just to provide education but to support Indigenous communities in generating their own educational and communications materials.
Check out some of the e-learning activities that we have implemented here!
For more information, please visit the Resource Hub.
Enhancing Internet Connectivity:
As part of the Resource Hub activities, we've focused our attention on activities related to enhancing internet connectivity.
In Latin America, it has been evident that there is a connectivity gap that limits the amount of information and opportunities Indigenous Peoples may have. Many Indigenous Peoples are distinctly disadvantaged with regard to access to the internet and have limited or no telecommunications infrastructure in their communities. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for Indigenous Peoples to have access to reliable internet in order to obtain information on topics that affect their livelihoods on a daily basis. As stated by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner: “COVID-19 is devastating indigenous communities worldwide, and it’s not only about health.” Being connected to the internet is a crucial tool to help Indigenous Peoples strengthen their rights, gain access to education and health services, and enable communication between communities.
Equitable Origin and its Indigenous partners propose to implement Indigenous-led models for knowledge sharing and generation together with expanding a program to bring internet connectivity to remote communities using a sustainable, entrepreneurial business model in Mexico, Peru and/or Ecuador.
Recognizing the tremendous gaps in information that have been exacerbated in the context of the pandemic for Indigenous communities and based on the needs expressed by our Indigenous partners in Mexico and the Amazon region, Equitable Origin is launching an initiative to bridge the digital divide. Working with regional and local Indigenous organizations to identify communities and Indigenous communicators (‘comunicadores’) within those communities, we are facilitating the installation of telecommunications and/or internet infrastructure and providing tools and training via e-learning on an on-going basis to build capacities.
This initiative cultivates leadership while bridging the technology gap, equipping Indigenous communities with the tools and knowledge they need to assert their rights. As the only organisation using this methodology to bring about social change in Indigenous communities, we are creating capacity for a systemic impact in an effective and efficient way
Where possible, we will also support the revitalisation of community computer centres, as we have done in our pilot project in Mexico. We are also working with our partner the Red Indígena de Turismo de México (RITA) on connectivity initiatives.