paraguay: sowing seeds for change
Promoted within the framework of the Initiative for the Integration of the South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA), to further the interests of transnational corporations and other powerful economic actors, these kinds of development have multiple negative impacts on cultural and biological diversity, and threaten local communities’ lands and livelihoods.
Meanwhile, communities in the Basin are also affected by the corporate-led expansion and consolidation of agribusiness, which is robbing them of their food, energy and territorial sovereignty.
FoE Paraguay / Sobrevivencia worked with social movements such as Via Campesina and community organizations from the Basin to develop joint campaigns around food sovereignty. Activities included organizing a series of capacity building and training modules on social and environmental issues.
FoE Paraguay also played an active part in the Seminar on Native Seeds, organized by Vía Campesina Paraguay. They were also key players in the creation of the Guaraní Latinamerican Agroecology Institute (IALA Guaraní), an initiative of Via Campesina Paraguay and Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (the Movimento dos Trabalhadore Rurais Sem Terra or MST). Sobrevivencia supports IALA Guaraní as a member of its coordination and advisory teams.
FoE Paraguay also worked closely with the women from Via Campesina, and CONAMURI (the national coordination of indigenous and rural women in Paraguay), who are fighting to defend local and native seeds as peoples’ common heritage and a lively expression of peoples’ collective identity and dignity. A seminar on the Rights of Rural and Indigenous Women and Food Sovereignty enabled the voices of the women to be heard, and helped to raise public awareness of the problems indigenous and rural women face as a consequence of the expansion of monocultures and the use of dangerous agricultural chemicals.
Working collectively meant that new tools were incorporated into social-environmental campaigning, allowing campaigns to reach many more people. Environmental issues were put on the agenda of social organizations and communities.
The creation of IALA Guaraní means that young peasants, Indigenous People and afro descendants are now able to access university education. In time, this will lead to the emergence of a new generation of politically engaged professionals and leaders, who are able to transform their communities’ situations by reclaiming their ancestral wisdom, developing new agroecological farming methods, and changing power relations within Paraguay.
with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust