Our partner ARTICLE19 supports a community radio communication project in the Alto Juruá Reserve in Acre, as part of the All Eyes on the Amazon program.
The Alto Juruá Extractive Reserve exists already 30 years and is the oldest reserve in Brazil. The reserve measures 506,186.00 hectare, with approximately 5,000 people living there. The inhabitants are indigenous peoples and descendants of immigrants from the 19th century rubber period who today, as forest people, share a way of life, relationships, economic activities and a symbolic, cosmological and cultural view at the world. Most of them worked intensively on rubber extraction but later resisted the exploitation of the territory they inhabit. The resistance led to the founding of the reserve and nowadays is a land for shared use, without property borders and with management plans and statutes that are established by the communities themselves.
The local situation however is complex: the relationship with official authorities is fragile, there is a constant threat from (illegal) loggers and hunters outside the reserve, and the political and economic interests often lead to conflict in the region. The local communities look for ways to improve their efforts in the daily defense of their habitat, way of life and preservation of the forest. Partnerships and communication projects that strengthen their right to freedom of expression have therefor been well received by the communities.
The Fonias Juruá project, which has been developed in the territory since 2015, supports communities in the reserve with offering radio stations, training, research and socio-political support. Currently the project works on the installation of Short Waves, a system that allows the exchange of digital files – such as spreadsheets for monitoring the forest, informative texts, small photos and internet links used by the communities – directly through cell phones. The Short Wave radio system is developed as a digital solution for remote communities. In the reserve, internet and mobile connection are absent and radio broadcasting is already an important tool for communication, information exchange, alerts and territorial protection.
In January 2020, a multidisciplinary team, with representatives of ARTICLE 19 and local researchers, visited four communities and the municipality’s headquarters. They worked on the installation of a new radio station and maintenance and update of the system in existing stations. Also, workshops with members of the reserve were held, as well as the training of 25 people in digital radio communication.
Strengthening communication and information tools will support the communities of the reserve in their fight for sustainability, sustainable agriculture, environmental preservation and the well-being of their people.
For more information: https://artigo19.org