Provincial fends off COVID-19

For the past year, we have been working with local leaders who are part of the Committee of Human Rights and Environmental Defenders of the Wayúu Reservation in Provincial, Guajira. There, our friends and their community have had to resist the health and socio-territorial impacts of large-scale coal miningstate abandonment and the destruction of much of their environment, which as an indigenous community, is part of their essence and worldview. Nevertheless, the community of Provincial has been key in protecting the aquifers and tributaries of the Ranchería River, such as the Bruno stream, as well as in the conservation of an endangered ecosystem, the tropical dry forest. After 30 years and millions of tons of coal mined, there is no hospital, health center or any kind of sanitary infrastructure to help the community cope with this crisis. In the face of the current pandemic caused by the Covid-19, the community of Provincial is part of the population at high risk, both because of its difficult access to drinking water, as well as due to the proximity to the mining pit (200 meters) and the high content of particulate matter in the air, resulting in a rate of respiratory diseases considerably higher than the rest of the country.

In order to prevent the arrival of the virus, the isolation of indigenous communities is crucial, both because of their way of living together and because of their vulnerability. The community of Provincial made a communal effort to establish a gate in the reservation and also established a rotating guard, allowing only people from the community to enter the reservation and no more mining personnel. But staying at home is a privilege. Due to the high rate of informal economy and unemployment, many Wayúu families live from day to day and must go out to find their livelihood. That’s why the Committee of Defenders is calling for support. In order to maintain confinement, food must be secured for 50 families in vulnerable conditions for one month. This food will be bought from local agricultural producers at fair prices, thus strengthening the local economy and productive sovereignty. The Committee also wants to produce 300 liters of alcohol-based disinfectant gel and distribute it at solidarity prices in the community and surrounding areas, thus generating structures and resources to overcome the economic crisis brought about by the government’s quarantine.

We wish to begin by collecting 15’000.000 COP. With this base, markets can be distributed to the most vulnerable families in the community, in addition to obtaining all the inputs for the production of the disinfectant gel. These actions are just a first step in the strengthening of the community, which will allow them to organize themselves to carry out future productive processes with us.

You can access our virtual collection for Provincial through this button. On the platform, you can process your contribution directly. If you are interested in collaborating in another way, please contact us. The money will be used 100% to pay the production and logistic costs of the project. 

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