In Peru, Conservation International Foundation (CI) is partnering with PROMSEX to implement the Alto Mayo Landscape Without Gender Violence project. This project shifted harmful gender norms and beliefs about women’s and men’s roles in society, the sanctioning of violence, and community processes for dealing with violence in Peru’s Nuwas Forest.
Summary of impact
People trained on GBV prevention
Of participants are more aware of GBV through the project
In northern Peru, the Alto Mayo landscape is home to 14 Awajún communities and has some of the highest rates of deforestation in the country. Awajún women face social and economic disadvantages due to their gender.
For over a decade, CI has been working with communities in this area to reverse deforestation and biodiversity loss, while promoting gender-equitable economic growth. CI observed that activities to increase women’s sustainable economic opportunities did not elevate their voices in decision-making bodies, and even put them at a higher risk of experiencing GBV. Women play a fundamental role in environmental conservation as guardians of traditional knowledge, key for conservation actions, and engaging them as conservation partners requires responding to the issues they face, including GBV, so they can better and safely engage in the conservation space.
The Alto Mayo project worked with one Awajún community to shift harmful gender norms and beliefs about women’s and men’s roles in society, the sanctioning of violence, and community processes for dealing with violence by addressing the drivers of GBV. CI and PROMSEX provided training on legal rights and sexual violence prevention to women who manage the Nuwas Forest, and they also helped the community to develop informal support systems for GBV survivors. CI engaged with male leaders and spouses in the community to explore concepts of masculinity and transform attitudes that contribute to GBV. Additionally, they built the capacity of CI staff, partners, and the local Indigenous federation to respond appropriately to incidents of GBV and improved awareness of GBV in an Indigenous context for local officials.
Over 17 months, CI trained 70 women who manage the Nuwas Forest on their legal rights, prevention of sexual violence, and sexual and reproductive health. The project also engaged 24 men from the community and implementing partner staff on topics such as gender, positive masculinities, and how to achieve justice for GBV survivors.
By the end of the project, all of the women participants agreed more strongly with the idea that men and women should have equal access to social, economic, and political resources and opportunities. Additionally, 70 percent of respondents reported feeling safer engaging in conservation activities and 73 percent demonstrated knowledge of the resources and organizations available for GBV survivors. Of the male community members trained on activities that prevent GBV, 76 percent reported that they better understood positive masculinity. During one of the last training sessions, a community chief recognized the importance of addressing GBV in the community and publicly signed an act of commitment that new community regulations will include a section on how to address GBV cases.
In November 2021, a community chief and women in the community formed a women’s community patrol, which now has 20 members, most of whom were trained as part of the RISE project. Three municipal government representatives attended a three-hour session with the community patrol where they learned about the Indigenous context and listened to testimonies of the women about the difficulties they face in making a GBV complaint. After listening to the testimonies, the officials committed to training community leaders and the women’s patrol members, who are usually the first responder in cases of GBV, on how to respond to GBV according to the law. The first training session for the women was held in January 2022.
CI will be using funds from a project financed by the BHP Foundation to build upon its work from the RISE Challenge by addressing GBV in five other Awajún communities.