This Indigenous Amazon Conservation mural project combined Women for Conservation’s mission to conserve critical biodiversity while uplifting women and youth in surrounding communities.


Indigenous Amazon Conservation

For Indigenous People’s Day this October, we take a look back at one of our most significant environmental education field projects in collaboration with the Jiw Indigenous community this past March. The community school is located on the Jiw Indigenous Reserve, an autonomous land reserve located near the river city Mapiripán and the ProAves El Jaguar Nature Reserve. Women for Conservation focuses on environmental education and nature conservation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest specifically to help conserve the Jaguar (Near Threatened), the Harpy Eagle (Vulnerable), and the Orange-breasted Falcon (Near Threatened).

This mural project combined Women for Conservation’s mission to conserve critical biodiversity while uplifting women and youth in surrounding communities. 

Woman for Conservation began collaborating with school teachers in the Jiw community in 2022 to organize a series of environmental education events at the community school. The school has around 200 students in grades 1-11, with a schoolhouse dedicated to each grade. Preserving their Jiw heritage is vital to the community, and therefore school kids are taught in the Jiw language until the 10th grade, when they first begin instruction in Spanish.

This mural project was truly transformative–  it was a celebration of environmental awareness, community bonds, and youth empowerment.

Combining the children’s creativity with the school teachers’ telling of the Jiw’s creation story, Women for Conservation organized a two-day mural workshop that focused on nature conservation and preserving their Indigenous heritage. Fifteen schoolchildren (12-17 years old) helped design and paint the mural on the outside of their schoolhouse. On the second day, the students presented a theatrical retelling of their story to the backdrop of the beautiful finished mural.

The mural project was the culmination of a series of workshops with the children. They learned about identifying and protecting birds in their community, the importance of nature conservation in the Amazon basin, and learned to use online tools such as Merlin Bird ID. At the end of the workshop, the students made three promises to Women for Conservation and their teachers: to keep pursuing their education, to conserve the nature around them, and to continue their creativity.

Indigenous Amazon Conservation

The teachers expressed how important the workshop was to inspire students to continue their schooling. They reported that last year the first two students graduated from the school and were able to attend the local trade school to study agriculture and livestock raising. They expressed that teenage girls face the most barriers, such as gender-based violence, lack of access to family planning, and financial and gender-role barriers to pursuing opportunities outside the reserve. Due to these barriers, often the only option for young women in the area is to stay on the reserve, marry, and raise children. The teachers hoped that more students would graduate in the future and overcome these barriers to pursue the opportunities they desired.

In addition to providing environmental education and eco-friendly jobs to communities surrounding El Jaguar Reserve, we also provide voluntary access to sex education and temporary contraceptive implants, which has enabled hundreds of rural girls to finish basic schooling and pursue their careers before having children.  Read about a nearby family planning brigade which helped 89 women and girls access this basic reproductive healthcare. 

Brianna*, a 15-year-old participant, expressed that she wanted to lead environmental education in schools just like the staff from Women for Conservation. Camila*, a 16-year-old participant, shared that she wanted to graduate school and pursue other opportunities, rather than have children and stay on the reserve.

Indigenous Amazon Conservation

We aim to promote environmental education that preserves endangered wildlife and endangered traditions. 

This project not only nurtured a deeper connection to the student’s ancestral roots but also provides hope for a brighter future for Amazonian biodiversity. For these children, the mural’s message, written in Jiw, echoes the values of their ancestors: “We are creations of nature, our lives and nature depend on our care and respect for the earth.”

Through collaborations like these, Women for Conservation strives to amplify the voices of indigenous communities, honoring communities’ stewardship of the precious biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest. By funding environmental education programs in local schools, we are supporting values centered around the harmonious coexistence between communities and the surrounding biodiversity.

Indigenous Amazon Conservation

* Names changed to protect privacy.




>>> See more photos from this project on by clicking here


Share this post