Elisa Bignante

University of Torino
Torino, Italy

Sharing best practices with the communities of Katoonarib and Maturuca

Elisa Bignante reports on COBRA's recent training sessions in Guyana

May 8, 2014

Between January 26th and February 11th 2014, the COBRA team hosted two training sessions in Guyana. The first session involved a Brazilian community and took place in Bina Hill, Annai. We worked with Beatriz, Abel, and Jacyr, who had travelled from the community of Maturuca in the Raposa Serra do Sol. They were joined by four students from the Bina Hill youth learning centre (Verlyn from Chenapou, Jenkins from Yupukari, Staron from Annai, and Eslyin from Awarewaunau.

Maturca1The training took place over a period of 5 days. During the mornings and afternoons, we spent discussed community best practices and later made short films exploring the themes of these discussions. Each evening we screened the best practice films made by communities in the North Rupununi along side

the videos and photostories produced by the participants. Abel, the oldest Brazilian participant, and leader of his village, showed us several videos and stories from his community that focused on locally owned solutions. This was a very interesting way to share ideas and was a great starting point for the discussions!

The second training session was held in Katoonarib, a Wapishana community of more than 400 people located in the South Rupununi, in a “bush island” region south of the Kanuku mountains.

Maturca2We spent 6 days in Katoonarib with the participants, and were made to feel very welcome in the community. The Toshau (community leader) and other elders spent a lot of time with us during the discussing and evaluating the challenges and solutions identified by the young trainees. Francis, an elder from the community, came to share his knowledge with the trainees almost every day.  Habert, an elder from the South Central People’s Development Organisation (SCPDA) joined us from day 3 of the session, and shared information about how the SCPDA supports community-owned solutions. We were also joined for the final sessions by three pupils from the local community school.

As in Bina Hill, we spent the mornings and afternoons discussing community best practices and giving training in participatory video and photography in order to film the best practices. We also held community meetings in which we presented the Cobra project to the community, and screened the North Rupununi best practice videos.

Both training sessions were very intense, but produced many fruitful exchanges and were a lot of fun too! A big thank you to all the participants for your enthusiasm and hard work!




QUICK DOWNLOAD: Check out the English version of the COBRA Handbook for Practitioners.