We work with governments, development agencies, funders and others to build respectful and mutually enhancing partnerships with local and indigenous communities. The principles are simple but profound: enable indigenous and local communities to guide the partnership; take the time to build and sustain trust; listen to and speak with people in their own languages and in their own way.
Scientific research from conservation biologists and social scientists has shown that culturally significant conservation areas depend on historically evolved social processes such as foraging to maintain and enhance their biological diversity. In many indigenous languages, the names for these places reflect this history: they may be called ‘medicine mountain’ or ‘ancestor’s lake’. It isn’t always easy for local community leaders and responsible experts from government to find a common language that allows them to work together.
Through successful collaborations around specific projects, we nourish much-needed trust and understanding. With our respectful facilitation, constructive partnerships develop, indigenous and local communities identify and develop their own strong advocates, and government, development agencies and funders identify and train key personnel who become bridge-builders.