Researcher Lorena Romero on the north bank of the Guaviare river in November 2023.LORENA ROMERO LEAL

Source: Forbes 
With Contributions of Andrew Wight

How Are Women Helping Shape The Amazon In Colombia?

A researcher in Colombia has been investigating the impact that women have had in the Amazon region since the signing of the peace deal with the FARC guerrillas in 2016.

Since then, women-led social, cultural and environmental organisations have increased their presence in Colombia's Amazon region, which in 2019, accounted for 62 percent of the national deforestation total, according to statistics from Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies.

Sociologist Lorena Romero Leal, current president of Fundación Yauda de Estudios Amazónicos; and an anthropology PhD candidate the University of Florida explains that she's been investigating more closely the increase of indigenous and non-indigenous women's organizations in the Colombian Amazon.

"One of the products of this research was a 'geoviewer' to make visible more than 50 indigenous women's organizations in the Colombian Amazon," she says, adding that the map shows the indigenous women's organizations of the Colombian Amazon as well as the women's groups selected as part of the "Women Caregivers of the Amazon" project.

Romero explains that the purpose of this mapping exercise is to highlight the tireless work carried out by indigenous women in the Colombian Amazon region to defend their rights, strengthen their traditional knowledge and promote their cultural identity.

"I'm currently systematizing information to understand why the number of women's organizations has increased in the post-conflict Amazon, particularly in the department of Guaviare, a former coca-growing area and epicenter of the internal armed conflict," she says, adding that she's also investigating the relationship between the coca leaf price crisis, crop substitution programs and food insecurity in transition regions.

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