Human Rights and Social Ecology for Indigenous Peoples

Ana and I are deeply touched by Marion and all those working to support a more sustainable future for the rural folks in the global south. The population of Bolivia is largely indigenous and it is a privilege to offer skills developed here at Findhorn, in the Process Work community and elsewhere, to these communities and organisations. This work enables us to address themes such as diversity, confidence building, self-esteem, leadership, rights awareness, gender equality and dignity for all.

The United Nations declaration of human rights for indigenous people was only agreed in September 2007 in New York, finally recognising indigenous peoples as having equal rights! As globalisation and climate change continue to increase their impact in the global south, and more and more rural dwellers move to the slums of the big cities, which are increasingly on the rise, the need for skills and support to adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances continues to grow.

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We are continuing to develop ‘training for trainers programmes’ in all of the above areas. While we were in Bolivia last year we also collaborated with the trainees from Galen and Lisa’s programmes. We added the dimension of social ecology to the skill sets they have been learning – building composting toilets and simple sewage treatment systems as well as reinforcing the local knowledge of how important it is to care for the soil, plant trees and be aware of the interconnected nature of the water cycle. We supported them to form a new organisation EVI Bolivia, or Ecovillage Institute Bolivia, where they will support each other to teach these methods in several Andian regions, many of which are plagued by drought or flooding. Our support included organisational development skills, decision-making, creation of a vision and mission, and clarification of what goals they could realise in the next year or two.

All of this work is made possible by the generous donations of several small trust funds and individuals. We hope to continue this work and if you would like more information or would like to support it financially please contact me at

Gill Emslie
Bolivia, 2008

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