We believe that video technology and geospatial data could be used as a tool for the advancement of indigenous rights and the preservation of nature
What's At Stake
An estimated 18 million acres of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year.
Indigenous communities are the first people to experience changing climates ranging from extreme droughts to long-lasting rainfall causing floods and havoc. Indigenous forests are cleared for commercial purposes, releasing carbon into the atmosphere to drive global warming while leaving indigenous communities landless. Those communities are left with no avenues to resist unsustainable land grabbing or address it on a local and global level.
We use the powerful tool of video to strengthen the rights of indigenous communities. We empower young indigenous community members (with a strong focus on women) to tell their own stories through films and express the hardships they are facing to secure ancestral forests, wisdom and cultural heritage. We combine film, geospatial data and indigenous rights advocacy through a network of environmental lawyers and human rights organizations in order to achieve sustainable policy change on indigenous customary law and the preservation of tropical forests.
We tell stories with purpose. Indigenous peoples are on the frontline of the dangerous fight for the world’s forests. We bring indigenous rights to the attention of civil society and policymakers through documentaries. We tell their stories and the hardships they face to protect our forests from unsustainable commercial land grabbing.
Most stories about indigenous communities are portrayed through the eyes of a filmmaker. We are challenging this status quo of storytelling by providing young indigenous community members with the opportunity to tell their own stories and give them the power of expression and therefore self-determination. We go beyond the realm of filmmaking by putting a new generation of indigenous communities in the director’s seat to tell their own stories and to capture the human rights abuses and deforestation that is taking place.
We organize GeoStory Camps (e.g., geostorytelling workshops) in collaboration with local indigenous associations and local filmmakers acting as ambassadors. The workshops focus on the basics of filmmaking, offered in the local language, to 20 indigenous community members at a time, with a focus on women and youth.
A train-the-trainer approach will be used, allowing for a sustainable knowledge circle within the community. After the workshop, participants will be able to produce video content conveying the everyday struggles faced protecting their forest territories from large-scale commercial land grabbing.
The GeoStory Camps will enable local indigenous and environmental civil society groups to serve as effective advocates and facilitators of multistakeholder approaches that promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
We combine storytelling with geospatial data. We train indigenous communities to tell their stories and build their capacity to map indigenous lands to secure tenure, manage natural resources, and strengthen indigenous culture and wisdom.
We use geographic information systems (GIS) to ensure that the introduction of spatial technologies into rural communities unfolds in a truly participatory manner. We train indigenous communities to develop and store detailed maps of ancestral rainforests into geographic information systems. This will allow communities to define their territories and monitor environmental change.
Our ultimate goal is to empower indigenous communities to protect forest territories and its biodiversity through powerful stories and videos that could be used as proof of evidence against deforestation. We track our impact to determine how much of the video content is used as proof of evidence in court and how many hectares of indigenous forest areas are reclaimed after our intervention. Working with environmental lawyers and human rights organizations in this regard will be key.
We work together with environmental lawyers involved in groundbreaking environmental and human rights issues globally. These strategic partnerships, our storytelling approach and the geospatial data will enable indigenous communities to secure ancestral land and take on land tenure and legal battles to prevent commercial land grabbing and deforestation.