In the Ecuadorian Amazon, it is not uncommon for mining companies to have indigenous people killed by hired mercenaries. For the Kichwa community of Rio Blanco, it was no different. However, in July 2009, when they experienced the intrusion of an illegal mining company that was carelessly destroying the forest; they had the opportunity to begin doing the MIA® methodology.
After a short time of practicing MIA® the Kichwa community was not only able to respond in a non-violent manner, they were able to exercise their agency and take action. In September 2009, with the awareness of their ability to take action, they removed the mining company from their territories without the use of violence.
By 2010, the Kichwa community had expelled four other mining companies in the same non-violent manner. Further, like many indigenous communities that have lived in the Amazon rainforest for centuries, the Kichwa community did not have legal ownership of their land, but by 2011, all 45 extended families (472 people) obtained their property titles.
In 2009, as part of the MIA® process, the Kichwa community began developing an ecological and ethnological tourism initiative by requesting machinery from its local government in order to build a road that provided access to the community. The road was completed and received its first group of college students in 2012.
Since 2020, we are working with the Kichwa community of Guayusa. They are 138 extended families (922 people) and they have 12.000 hectares of Amazon rainforest. In order to generate income, this community was cutting trees and selling to a lumber company. Through the MIA® we were able to convince them to stop cutting trees. As an alternative way to produce income, we have these current projects:
The first group of college students who became MIA® research asistants visited the Kichwa Community in 2012. Tayler Mulcachy and Andrew McInnis present their Participatory Action Research Project in the video below.
Amazonian Ecuador - World Dignity University
This research reviewed the toxic nature and overly competitive atmosphere of a group of 14 family-owned business located around the town center in Caranqui, Ecuador.
As a pre-assessment, we held interviews with each business owner to determine what were their issues. Before the intervention, the microentrepreneurs ice cream makers in the town did not collaborate or interact with each other at all. We began the MIA® process with two of the microentrepreneurs. Some of the issues identified through the process were: a lack of presence in social networks, lack of knowledge about alternative routes by which to enter and leave the area, and little knowledge regarding customer service.
We began to hold weekly meetings to apply the MIA® methodology. We learned that the other business owners had the same issues and everyone was invited to participate, this is how a collaboration began. As the business owners collaborated, they decided to promote all the different businesses together by creating a collaborative corporate brand that included all 14 of them. The association was named "Caranqui, Tierra de Tradición."
Through the MIA® process, this group of people were able to find the resources and received a course on tourism, customer service, and health and safety information when handling food.
Further, in the MIA® meetings they identified that Christmas was one of the lowest sales seasons for them. Therefore, a Christmas event was organized by the business owners themselves in which they brought singers, comedians, face painters and a music band and it was very successful.
Finally, once the corporate brand was created, those interested in managing social networks were trained to do so. It was determined that through collaboration, they can create advertising strategies for future events. Today, this group of microentrepreneurs continue working together.