Cabécar indigenous women association wins prestigious Equator Prize

Jul 15, 2021 | News

The Kábata Könana Indigenous Women’s Association, from Talamanca Cabécar (Costa Rica), was announced this July 15 as the winner of the 12th Equator Prize, awarded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its partners. The prestigious award recognizes local and indigenous communities around the world who showcase innovative, local solutions to address biodiversity loss and climate change, and achieve their local development goals even during a pandemic.

In 2016, 156 women founded the Kábata Könana Indigenous Women’s Association as a space for economic, social and environmental development with cultural relevance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the women put their organizational skills at the service of the territories that make up the Red Indígena Bribri Cabécar (RIBCA), in the southern Caribbean of Costa Rica and created the Indigenous Estanco de Barter Virtual Productivo, an initiative that operates under the indigenous cultural principles of solidarity, exchange, collectivity and dialogue.

More than 200 families in more than 15 communities actively participate in the Estanco. The system is a network of links with the communities through “Weavers of knowledge”. Via WhatsApp, the Weavers communicate from each community to the Kábata Könana headquarters which products are available and coordinate their collection. The women have led for months distribution days of food grown according to the sustainable Cabécar method, and ensured the nutrition of the entire territory.

Now, the project includes agricultural and handicraft sales fairs. The ancestral knowledge applied by the women of the Association has made it possible to select diverse and native seeds that are better adapted to the rain and drought patterns affected by climate change. His efforts have also revitalized ancestral knowledge through dialogues with the Masters of Knowledge of his people. In this way, they lead a revolution in forests that combines ancestral knowledge with technology for the resilience of their community to the pandemic and climate change.

The Indigenous Waiver of Productive Virtual Barter is the product of the joint effort of the Kábata Könana Women’s Association and the Association for the Integral Development of the Talamanca Cabécar Indigenous Territory (Aditica), in conjunction with the Bribri and Cabécar Indigenous Network (RIBCA). The project is developed in association with the Love for Life organization and the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests, and has the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

About the Equator Prize

The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Program, is awarded every two years to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. As sustainable community initiatives take root in the tropics, they are laying the foundation for a global movement of local successes that together contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As local and indigenous groups in the tropics demonstrate and exemplify sustainable development, the Equator Prize highlights their efforts by celebrating them on an international stage.

The winners were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations from 126 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The selection was based on community approaches that provide a plan to replicate and scale solutions to address our biodiversity crisis.

The Equator Prize winners demonstrate the benefits of placing the knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities about nature-based solutions at the center of local development. At a time when we are faced with an unprecedented planetary crisis, it is essential to show actions that restore our sustainable food systems, mitigate climate change and protect nature, all while contributing to the ecological recovery from the pandemic.

Equator Prize winners will receive US $ 10,000 and the opportunity to participate in a series of special virtual events associated with the United Nations General Assembly and the Nature for Life Center later this year. They will join a network of 255 communities from more than 80 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception in 2002. The 2021 Equator Prize award ceremony will take place virtually on October 4.

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