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EGIDA: A dream come true, the first school for indigenous governance in the Peruvian Amazon

Education opens up your world to more opportunities. Without a doubt, it is a key piece to development. But, if the study plans do not reflect the culture and language of the students, the knowledge doors are closed. Also, it increases the gaps of inequality and discrimination. These are the challenges that indigenous communities face when starting formal education processes around the world.

If society comes together to create equitable educational opportunities, the challenges can be overcome. In this way, WWF, the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), working together on the Indigenous Amazon Rights and Resources project (AIRR), developed the first Indigenous Governance School for Amazon Development in Peru, EGIDA, in 2020.

“A dream come true that allows AIDESEP to articulate and structure its academic offerings for its community bases, under academic pillars and  foundations with an intercultural component and taking as its axis their real needs and interests,” explained Cinthia Mongylardi, Director of Forests and Indigenous Affairs at WWF-Peru.

In this context, in October 2020 the first training plan began. It consisted of a diploma in Governance, Advocacy, and Political Communication, which sought to strengthen the capacities of the participants in leadership, good governance, communication, and strategic negotiation.

After nine months of challenging virtual implementation, 30 students from 13 indigenous peoples, including Awajún, Shipibo, Kichwa, and Murui, overcame the challenges brought by COVID-19 and managed to complete the diploma, becoming the first class of graduates from EGIDA.

Thanks to their dedication and efforts, they showed that together is possible. Their perseverance is the best example that education is beginning to transform in the Amazon turning into an engine of positive change for the protagonists of the forest.

As a result, potential new leaders have better tools to continue managing their territories. New student groups are preparing to start classes soon because in the next year, EGIDA will offer its second diploma and also five short courses.

Learn more about the first Indigenous Governance School for Amazon Development in Peru, EGIDA, here: https://www.escuelaegida.com/


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