Tejiendo Vidas is a project focusing on the sustainable production of artisanal goods in the communities of Padrehuasi and Samiatug Samai. This includes an agro-ecological approach to cultivating the Cabuya plant, which provides the natural fibers. The objective of Tejiendo Vidas is to diversify and stregthen artisan products made of Cabuya fibers as a strategy to improve sustainable production systems.
On Friday June 8, 2012 Program Director Miriam Gonzales and community leaders involved in the EkoRural project Tejiendo Vidas (Weaving Lives) participated in an exchange of experiences with organizations working in the Ecuadorian Highlands on projects funded by the United Nations Small Donations Programs (PPD). This day provided an opportunity for Tejiendo Vidas program staff and program participants to engage in a participatory dialogue as they come to the end of this two year project.
The conversation, facilitated by the Ecuadorian nonprofit Ecopar, was centered around local sustainable development as part of a global movement. Each project had the opportunity to share lessons learned, challenges, and success stories from the past two years. Other projects represented included APRODIC and UNOCIGS, both of which are focused on sustainable agriculture and the recovery of native seeds as a means of cultural preservation and revitalization in the highland areas.
All participants noted that uniting organizations around a common objective, exchanging lessons learned during farmer to farmer workshops, and sharing experiences with other communities were some of the most important and successful strategies for accomplishing their project goals.
Participants that cultivate the Cabuya such as Luis, added that learning agro-ecological practices was what most helped them sustain their work. Meanwhile, participants involved in producing the artisan goods explained the importance of being able to use a traditional natural fiber to maintain and recover cultural knowledge and skills.
For Tejiendo Vidas, cultivating Cabuya for fibers and other native plants for their dyes, and then producing artisan goods for national and international consumption provides increased economic opportunities and access to markets. At the same time, they have utilized practices that have helped conserve biodiversity, soils, natural resources, and mitigate erosion.
The project is a an example of how EkoRural is working on strengthening and diversifying artisan goods as a strategy for sustainable biodiversity and soil conservation. If you’re interested in learning more, see photos here or purchase artisanal products through Natural Maqui.