Amazon Defenders Fund

Providing Direct Support for Amazonian Forest Peoples and Grassroots Organizations' Initiatives

Since 2006, Amazon Watch has strived to meet the financial needs of our grassroots Amazonian partners by providing flexible micro-grants. From Indigenous communities and organizations to traditional peoples, social movements, and small NGOs, our Amazon Defenders Fund (ADF) has channeled millions of dollars to support urgent and strategic priorities of local partners. ADF grants typically back local organizing efforts such as Indigenous assemblies and mobilizations; they are also geared to provide urgent support to individuals, communities, and organizations facing repression and violence.

More recently, the ADF has responded to an accelerating environmental and human rights crisis across the Amazon, such as the Amazon Fires in 2019 and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon Watch's track record as a trusted partner among Indigenous nations and local organizations, made the ADF one of the primary mechanisms sought by both foundations and private donors wishing to effectively and immediately reach those directly affected by the Amazon fires. Due to those growing relationships in philanthropy, we were able to meet our ongoing partners ever increasing needs, and we were also sought out by new communities and organizations in Brazil and in Bolivia, where emergency support was desperately needed to respond to fires.

How We Decolonize Philanthropy

The Amazon Defenders Fund provides an effective channel to mobilize rapid response and secure resources that address our partners' vision that structural change is achieved through mid and long-term processes of strategizing, organizing, mobilizing, and proposing solutions. The Fund's internal mechanisms and grantmaking guidelines are informed by the reality and strategic priorities of Amazon Watch's diverse partners Defenders of the Amazon's priorities and agendas based on Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty to nurture and protect Indigenous ancestral knowledge, collective rights, and the Amazon's ecosystems life.

We are committed to support our partners in addressing the ways in which existing patriarchal systems of power and privilege negatively affect the rights of Indigenous women, girls and gender non-conforming individuals in the process of achieving justice to protect Indigenous collective rights and the Amazon forest.

We seek to further expand our regranting process, growing our commitment to strengthening the capacity and opportunities of Amazonian Indigenous organizations and local NGOs. Our partners seek funding for diverse initiatives and actions such as legal defense; travel to participate relevant advocacy spaces; convening Indigenous-led workshops and community assemblies; community-led territorial and ecosystem mapping; land titling projects; community-led organizing; communications initiatives; non-violent direct actions; and field monitoring of industrial activities and their impacts. With this support, Indigenous people can continue to pursue and exercise their collective rights, culture, and livelihoods.

If you would like more information on the Amazon Defenders Fund, please contact Angela Martínez at angela@amazonwatch.org.

Brazil's majestic Xingu River, at grave risk from the Belo Monte dam. Photo credit: Rafael Salazar

Among the support we provided this past year we highlight:

  • Brazil – Amazon Watch has a longstanding partnership with Brazil's Munduruku nation, supporting their successful efforts to stop the São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam in 2016. This year we supported an assembly of Munduruku youth with Munduruku chiefs to exchange experiences, knowledge and traditional medicine, convened in Sawré Muybu, an untitled, contested Indigenous territory under immense pressures from extractive industries.
  • Ecuador – After Ecuador's government refused to make any progress or commitments in national talks with the Indigenous movement, Amazon Watch provided critical support for Indigenous leaders to organize a 10,000 strong, 200+ mile march from the Amazon to Quito. At their historic meeting with President Moreno he committed to no new oil and gas projects without consultation.
  • Colombia – Continuing Amazon Watch's 20-year relationship with the U'wa people, we supported a delegation of newly-elected leaders to Bogotá for face-to-face planning with legal allies. The U'wa proposed a community workshop to build capacity around their pioneering Indigenous rights case before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
  • Peru – Amazon Watch has channelled regular funding to the Achuar People of the Pastaza River Basin for defense of their ancestral territory. We supported activities in favor of their Achuar Life Plan, strengthening their representative organization (FENAP) and promoting bilingual education.

COVID-19

The ADF is providing rapid-response grants to meet the pressing needs of indigenous communities defending themselves from the spread of COVID-19, while supporting strategies on the ground to protect the lives, health and well-being of indigenous people.

Indigenous peoples in the Amazon are already struggling with the climate crisis, deforestation, criminalization and violence, and food sovereignty threats. They have historically been killed by infectious diseases due to their low immunity because they live in remote regions and depend on public services that continue to be dismantled. The COVID-19 global pandemic will exacerbate this situation, and put their lives in danger. This is one way that Amazon Watch is rapidly responding to our indigenous allies.

ADF grants are already addressing needs on the ground. In Ecuador, we supported the National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) to design and implement and prevention and informative COVID-19 campaigns among indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. In Peru, we contributed to the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon, AIDESEP – Peru's largest and most internationally-respected indigenous umbrella organization – to coordinate with local municipalities to equally assess and distribute governmental resources to indigenous peoples' needs. Additionally, AIDESP is carrying out a COVID-19 contingency strategy, which includes: prevention communication campaigns; providing food, water, and hygienic products to hard-to-reach populations; protection of indigenous people in voluntary isolation; and monitoring the entrance and exit of indigenous territories. In Colombia, we are supporting the Association of Traditional Indigenous U'wa Councils, ASOU'Wa to provide water, food, protection supplies (gloves, masks, glasses), temporary housing for Indigenous Guard, and others (mattresses, blankets, beds, tents, etc.).

×

The 2019 Amazon Fires

In the wake of the devastating fires that ravaged the Brazilian and Bolivian Amazon – over 11 million hectares of forest were burned – the need for a nimble, dedicated small granting mechanism readily available for rapid distribution was essential. In addition to the destruction of the rainforest these tragedies placed human rights and environmental defenders at heightened risk of political persecution and violence.

Amazon Watch's track record as a trusted partner among indigenous nations and local organizations, made the ADF one of the primary mechanisms sought by both foundations and private donors wishing to effectively and immediately reach those directly affected by the Amazon fires. Due to those growing relationships in philanthropy, we were able to meet our ongoing partners ever increasing needs, and we were also sought out by new communities and organizations in Brazil and in Bolivia, where emergency support was desperately needed to respond to fires.

×

Share

Features

Yes, I will donate to protect the Amazon!

"The work you do is vital, and I am happy to support it."
– Charlotte R. A.

DONATE NOW

The Amazon Is in Crisis

The survival of the Amazon and its Indigenous inhabitants depends on what we do together now. Every dollar you donate goes directly to our program work, and every little bit helps!

DONATE NOW »

×