In a poorly known corner of the Amazon, a group of communities, scientists, and students are working hand-in-hand to ensure the future of our children and our world…
Together, they have created VASI.
Visión Amazónica para la Sostenibilidad Integral
Amazonian Vision for an Integrated Sustainability
VASI, in the words of a local teacher, is a vision from Amazonia (the lungs of the world) that proposes to help the world to live in a way that is economically, culturally, socially, spiritually, and ecologically sustainable and which includes and recognizes the rights of all people.
WHY VASI? The rural communities of the Peruvian Amazon face increasing pressures, lack access to effective government services, and are poorly understood. At the same time, the Amazon is one the world’s two largest bodies of freshwater and one of the greatest sources of biodiversity. Oil, gas, and gold exploration, violence, and illegal activities (from illegal timbering and mining to drug trafficking) combined with rapid changes in climate patterns threaten both local biodiversity and livelihoods.
Most policy makers and scientists live in cities and have little lived understanding of these realities. Rural residents who have the knowledge and experience to shape effective policies and inform science are most often ignored.
VASI brings community members, scientists, and policy makers together forming a bridge between ways of living and knowing, inspiring creative new solutions to pressing issues, and training the next generation of leaders with deep roots and commitment to the communities and a network and experience to help them shape a sustainable future.
THE THREE BRANCHES OF VASI
Branch 1: Collaborative co-authored research.
Participating communities have prioritized the study of fishing, agriculture, timbering, and health. Teams of university students from the communities, scientists, and community members will carry out the research, analysis, and publication. All results will be presented locally, regionally, and internationally.
Branch 2: Scholarships.
Using a “pay-it-forward” model, VASI is developing a higher education scholarship fund for students from the district. Currently, less than 15% of students who complete their secondary education have the opportunity to attend any higher education.
Branch 3: Applied Projects
VASI’s applied projects aim to increase quality of life and access to sustainable legal income. VASI’s first applied project, an integrated agroforestry project, combines direct exportation of organic, wild, and heirloom varieties of cacao and local fruits with increased cultivation of nutritionally important traditional crops and reforestation of rare and ecologically important tropical hardwoods.