Programs originate with Rainforest
Foundation Norway, Rainforest Foundation UK, Rainforest Foundation US, Equipe de
Conservção da Amazônia (ECAM,
Brazil), Etnobotanica (Bolivia), Frente de Defensa de Amazonia (Ecuador),
ClearWater and various indigenous organizations within rainforest countries. We
assess each program based on stringent criteria, the most important being the
empowerment and ownership of the beneficiaries. Planning and implementation measures must be
conducted primarily by the beneficiaries as all programs and activities should
strengthen the peoples themselves.
The funding cycle begins at the end of October each year.
In the first years of work, the Rainforest Foundation focused on the Amazon region of Brazil, per the promise made by Sting to the indigenous leader Raoni, of the Kayapó tribe, to help him and his people obtain legal rights to their traditional land.
This commitment was fulfilled in 1992, thanks to the generous contributions of people from all over the world. The physical demarcation of the Kayapó tribe’s land was undertaken with the indigenous people themselves through the most modern technology.
In fulfilling the promise, the Rainforest Foundation became Rainforest Fund and broadened involvement in all of the world’s rainforests.
The organizations jointly known as Rainforest Foundation, founded by Sting and Trudie Styler in 1989, have been supporting indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the rainforest in their efforts to conserve their land and defend their rights. In its first years of work, the Rainforest Foundation focused on the Amazon region of Brazil, as the very first action was a promise made by Sting to the indigenous leader Raoni, of the Kayapó tribe, to help him and his people obtain legal rights to their traditional land. The promise was fulfilled in 1992. Since our beginning, programs have been developed throughout Brazil in multi-ethnic indigenous territories and then diversified by initiating new countries such as Belize, Cameroon, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. Our approach has always been one of supporting on the ground projects initiated and carried out by local non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups, dealing with land rights, community organization, forest protection and resource inventories, as well as legal support, human rights protection, campaigning and advocacy.
With the experience gained during years of work, the Rainforest Foundation as a whole developed even more professional and consistent programs, expanding in Africa through the specialization of RF UK, in Asia through the expertise of RF Norway, and the Americas where RF US broadened its involvement and expertise. In 2013, our work continues with many of the multi-year projects mentioned above, with a particular focus on extractive industries.
The Rainforest Fund is a charitable foundation dedicated to the support of indigenous peoples and traditional populations in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights.
We are convinced that accepted environmental and human rights principles embody the right of everyone to a secure, healthy and ecologically sound environment, and that environmental degradation leads to human rights violations such as the right to life, health and culture.
The Rainforest Fund bears in mind the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights, and carries out its mission by:
Funding programs and projects aimed at supporting indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the rainforests to assert their rights, to promote a sustainable development of their communities and to challenge governmental practices that have a damaging effect on their environment.
There are over one million forest-dwelling Indians in South America, several hundred thousand Pygmies in African forests, and hundreds of different indigenous communities living in the forests of Papua New Guinea, Borneo, The Philippines, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand.
Only these peoples, after centuries of adaptation, have learned how to deal with their environment without destroying it.
For over two decades, the Rainforest Fund has been supporting these indigenous and tribal communities helping them to defend their rights and protect their environment and land.
As a matter of principle and good governance, the RFUND will grant only 80% of the total budget of the project. Projects shall preferably have one year duration, will be assessed year by year, and will not go beyond a third year in order to avoid dependency.
We strengthen and support local civil organizations and forest communities’ rights to their land, resources and protection from harmful effects from palm oil extraction.
Brainforest and Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmées – In its second year of funding, the Community Legal Fieldworkers project has deployed trained paralegal workers in "hot spot” locations to improve the capabilities of local civil society organizations and forest communities to understand, analyze and use national laws related to forest management, land resource rights and human rights.
Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l’Homme and Brainforest – This project aims to mitigate the negative impacts from palm oil development on rainforest communities by seeking greater transparency and awareness amongst decision makers.
We provide integral support to groups in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia who fight for the recognition of their rights to exist and to control their land.
The Bismarck Ramu Group – In its third year of funding, this project aims at advancing community development though networking, training and media based on PNG’s five constitutional principles.
JOAS – In its second year of support, this project augments the rights of Indigenous people in a country that disregards the rights of indigenous people. JOAS represents their voice. It is important to continue support to strengthen the project’s activities with women’s groups, the youth network in Sarawak, the anti-dam campaign, and increasing general awareness in the recognition of indigenous rights.
In Brazil, Panama, Peru and Ecuador our projects support land protection and monitoring; right to water; natural resource management; and indigenous children education.
Equipe de Conservção da Amazônia (ECAM) – For a second year, we support this project which aims to defend and monitor the Surui lands through ethnomapping and diagnostic biodiversity surveys.
FUNDEPW and FUNDEWTIC – This project aims to secure the rights for the Wounaan Indigenous peoples’ ancestral land in the Darien province and to implement sustainable forest management systems.
Quechua Federation of the Upper Pastaza (FEDIQUEP) and Solsticio – In this second year of support, the project will build on its first year’s work that focused on monitoring extractive industry damage in the Upper Pastaza region and now will work to improve community and collective knowledge about indigenous rights and strengthen the regional federation to better represent voices and needs.
The Niños de la Amazonia project supports six indigenous children from the Peruvian Amazon. First, by giving them cameras, they recorded every aspect of their lives in the rainforest for one year. Currently, this project provides the necessary support for the six adolescents to study in Iquitos and to prepare themselves to take university exams in February 2013.
AIDESEP – Emergency funding supports the legal cases of indigenous leaders and people arrested during the Bagua Riots in 2009. So far, local lawyers have been successful in releasing from prison over 100 indigenous people and are currently working to ensure that the remaining individuals are freed.
E-Tech and CEDHU – A technical support and human rights capacity building project within the Cordillera del Cóndor works to protect indigenous communities and their environment from the opening of two mines that will impact 100,000 square miles.
In the same country, but in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana, we are committed to bringing clean and potable water to mestizos and indigenous communities affected by oil pollution. We are expanding the Water Project with our partners Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia and ClearWater to install 800 more rainwater purification and storage systems.
RFUND has an engrained moral philosophy to send all the funds it collects to its indigenous partners for their projects. We have kept, and will continue to keep, our administrative capacities lean, which include one full-time and one-part time employee and one volunteer executive director.
Each year, we support about a dozen projects throughout the world’s rainforests and examples of how your donation can be allocated are as follows:
$350 Pays for trainings and transportation in Papua New Guinea to build a strong indigenous civil society
$500 Pays the house rental for one year so the Niños can study at University in Iquitos
$1,000 Assists in regional workshops on Palm Oil in Congo Basin to ensure indigenous people know their rights
$2,000 Installs one communal rain water catchment system in Ecuador
Consumerism is a major force driving deforestation, mining and resource exploitation within the world’s rainforests, which has significant effects on climate change and our ability to sustain a planet fit for humans. Directly affected, but often sidelined, are the indigenous and tribal peoples who have lived for thousands of years in the rainforests. They are the only people who have learned how to live in harmony with the forests – they take what they need and they ensure that the biodiversity remains for future generations.
Individual and collective everyday behavior – driving cars, eating in restaurants, drinking coffee – places demands on the world’s natural and human resources. While we must eat, drink, engage in recreational activities, we must also be aware that
less is often more.
What if, this month, you bought less?
What if, this month, you gave up going to the movies and donated that $20 to the Quechua people of Peru so that they can protect their lands and sustain their right to life?
What if you gave up one thing each month for the sole purpose of helping the people of the rainforests?
If you challenged yourself to doing these WHAT IFs…
You would not only directly help indigenous people, you would also directly be demanding and consuming less, thereby lessening your strain on scarce resources and working to rectify climate change and human rights abuses in the Rainforests.
JOIN THE RFUND’S LESS IS MORE CAMPAIGN
When you make your donation, please be sure to designate your donation to LESSISMORE and tell us what you gave up this month to make your gift!