Despite continued obstacles and restriction due to the COVID pandemic, 2021 was an eventful year, full of learnings and achievements. Download our annual report and read about our activities and achievements from our three programs: Permaculture, Intercultural Education and Human & Nature Rights.
Letter from the Director
2021 marked Peru´s 200th anniversary as an independent republic. El bicentenario, as it is known here in Peru, coincided with parliamentary and presidential elections, both of which ignited some excitement amongst our population. For many Peruvians however, this excitement quickly vanished when it became clear that we had the choice between the daughter of Peru´s ex-president serving a jail sentence for crimes against humanity, and a rural teacher who did not seem fit for the job. The nation became increasingly polarized. The losing party dedicated itself to making the country ungovernable, and elected President Pedro Castillo didn´t do much to convince anyone otherwise. By the end of El bicentenario, with an already battered economy due to the pandemic, Peru resembles a divided nation stuck in a political impasse.
By now, most of us have probably managed to put some distance between COVID and our everyday lives. But, looking back, for at least the first half of 2021, COVID was still defining our lives, with restrictions, home office, second (or third) waves, new regulations, difficulties to work with our allied communities, etc. The pandemic also shook our Chaikuni family directly. In June, our long-term accountant Raul suddenly and unexpectedly found himself in ICU fighting for his life. It took what seemed like a small miracle for him to make it back, to our immense relief.
In the second half of the year, the new normality took hold in and around Iquitos, and we were finally able to work without restrictions. For the next six months, our team intensified the pace to finish implementing our biggest cooperation-funded project to date. While COVID had imposed serious delays and difficulties along the way, we still managed to achieve (and surpass) our goals. Assisting 35 families, we helped to install 27 hectares of diverse agroforestry systems in our four surrounding communities. Chaikuni was present in the local schools offering environmental awareness classes, and assisted community assemblies to establish communal land use plans and organize community surveillance of their forest resources.
The Chaikuni Permaculture Center is fundamental to what we do. We had long been planning to improve its design and build new facilities to accommodate trainings for the local population, international visitors, and to receive volunteers. As we slowly moved forward with our plans, in August, the Temple of the Way of Light generously handed over part of its infrastructure to us. A large and beautiful wooden house with a dining area, kitchen, and toilet facilities as well as plenty of semi-private and private accommodations opened up exciting new possibilities for us, including the re-opening of our regular volunteer program, which has already made a significant impact.
Next year will mark Chaikuni´s 10th anniversary! We feel more than ever that, in close collaboration with Indigenous and local communities, we have real solutions to offer our Amazon region that urgently needs just and regenerative alternatives. In the annual report that follows, we hope to share the impacts of our efforts with you and invite you to keep being a part of our movement for a thriving Amazon and a flourishing life for all beings.