CAVU conducted an Outreach Campaign in Darién during 2005-2007. CAVU remains ready today to return to the Darién and support its people and conservation projects in the region as needed and opportunity allows.

The Darién Gap is vital and necessary ecosystem to maintain the health of the Americas not only because it is home to a wealth of biodiversity but also because it acts as a barrier between North and South America. The preservation of Darién’s forests is pivotal to the fight against disease dissemination across continents, migration of foreign flora and fauna, the economic condition of Central America and ultimately, our planet’s well-being. Initial funding for CAVU’s project in the Darién came from the Wildlife Conservation Society, supporting its efforts to raise awareness of the ill effects a mega-highway transecting this region would have. Additional financial support was also gratefully received from The Nature ConservancyWorld Wildlife Fund and Fundación Natura.

The process of creating the film helped to strengthen alliances among local NGOs in order to maximize their successes and share information and resources, while attempting to improve the quality of life for all the Voices of Darién: human, animal and forest. Rapid development of roads to support logging and the connection of electricity between Central and South America through the Darién overwhelms both the land and its people. Unsustainable logging and road construction are quickly destroying both the forest and a way of life, and threaten consequences far beyond the region itself. The Voces del Darién project supports a brighter future for communities in Darién which are plagued by poverty and isolation from economic stimulus. The project supports partnerships between local communities and the indigenous populations with governmental and non-governmental organizations to foster innovative environmental and economic solutions. CAVU created an educational film presenting sustainable forestry options supported by different NGOs that help minimize poverty indexes by increasing wood prices and reducing the impact unsustainable logging has on the region.

CAVU distributed 1,000 copies of the film among various local NGO’s and communities. After the film was completed, CAVU hosted an event inviting all members of the NGO community to Sambu to feature the film and discuss solutions with the Embera Wounaan. Additionally, a CAVU team traveled to seven different communities in Darién with the film, sharing and encouraging dialogue with all participants. School halls and churches overflowed with people looking to catch a glimpse of the film that was shot in their communities. In Meteti, a school teacher and 50-year resident of the community commanded the attention of all as she spoke candidly and emotionally about the unimaginable changes she has witnessed to her Darién. In the towns of Garachine and El Real large student assemblies watched intently at the wonders of their region portrayed on the screen. In the capital town of La Palma, multiple outdoor screenings attracted all who passed by and inspired a charged interaction and dialogue. In each town, at every showing, it was clear that Dariénitas cared passionately about the film’s theme, and were eager to have their voices heard. And finally in November of 2007, Fundación Natura hosted the release of the educational film “Voces del Darién” (see news here).

While this project was successful in that it worked on this awareness of the fragility and hemispheric importance of the ecosystem and provided audiences’ with people’s perspective in Darién much work remains to be done in Darien.

Organizations that work on this project either with logistical or intellectual support in addition to funders include: SOMASPAFundacion Casa TallerCOPEGANCONThe Peregrine Fund and ANAM.

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