The Center for Amazon Community Ecology works with over a dozen native and campesino communities in the northern Peruvian Amazon to develop and market their handicrafts to create sustainable livelihoods for artisan families, to promote forest and improve health and education. Some of our main partners are Bora, Huitoto, Ocaina and Yagua villages in the Ampiyacu River region. This is reached by taking a "lancha" (large ferry boat) down the Amazon River from the city of Iquitos to the town of Pebas. From there, we use a "peque peque" (motorized dugout canoe) to visit our partner villages that have 10 to 70 families.
We began working with artisans in the Bora village of Brillo Nuevo on the Yaguasyacu River in 2009. Since then we have expanded our work to six other communities in the region. We host skill-sharing workshops where experienced artisans train their peers how to make the most popular types of crafts. We are also building artisan capacity to make more and higher quality crafts by sharing videos made with the top artisans and a manual that presents the detailed illustrations of the craft models.
We pay the artisans up front for their work and then reinvest 20% of our net sales to support health, education and conservation needs in our partner communities chosen by them. We joined the Fair Trade Federation in Feb. 2016 to deepen our understanding and commitment to practicing fair trade principles with our artisan partners and their communities.