Conservation of biological and cultural diversity in southern Peru
The Matsiguenka people is one of the most important Amazon populations in the south of Peru, and inhabits the river basin regions of the Urubamba, Manu and Alto Madre de Dios rivers in the southeastern regions of Cusco and Madre de Dios.
In Madre de Dios, the Matsiguenkas have organized into seven communities located in the area of influence of the Manu National Park. Four of the seven communities (Maizal, Tayakome, Cacaotal and Yomibato) are located within the protected area. The human population within the park is a little more than 700 persons. A mere 3% of the population has access to secondary education; the majority only has access to primary education. The Sarastro Project works with five of the seven communities.
The Sarastro Project is named for the foundation by which it is financed and is principally dedicated to strengthening formal education for the Matsiguenka communities at both the primary and secondary levels. It also seeks to strengthen environmental education in the Madre de Dios region through awareness and infrastructure activities regarding indigenous populations issues and capacity building for the Management Committee of the PN Manu that brings together Matsiguenka representatives.
The proposed activities of the project will benefit young children and adolescents of the Matsiguenka communities located within the sphere of influence of the PN Manu, as well as the management committee and community members in general. The project seeks to complement traditional knowledge of the Matsiguenka people with skills and modern knowledge that bring about better understanding of their environment.
- Strengthen primary education, secondary education and vocational education of school-aged Matsiguenkas in the communities within the Manu NP and that are lodged in the Boca Manu boarding house.
- Provide environmental education to school children, local communities and visitors to the natural protected areas through awareness programs in education and interpretation centers.
- Construct an adequate understanding on behalf of the Matsiguenka communities toward the isolated indigenous population.
- Facilitate participation of the communities in the management committees of the Manu NP and strengthen their participatory capacities in both management and decision-making.