September 2017 NewsNote
September 2017
In this issue:
Sustainable Living Workshop, Clean Water Workshop at Canal Pinto, Mazan mayor joins with CONAPAC to focus on clean water, Nutrition program grows, Library programs expand and gain attention, Building rainforest community connections to markets, Adopt-A-School 2018 spots are filling
Sustainability Workshop
CONAPAC successfully hosted the annual Sustainable Living Workshop for the 220 leaders of 54 communities. This year’s program focused on compost and fish farms and was taught by Pedro Paucarcaja and Jose Rivera. The classes were thorough, full-day, and hands-on, providing experience with the core elements of building compost bins and fish farms.
The workshops took place from August 20th-26th in Indiana, Loreto, Peru, 45 minutes downriver from Iquitos. Participants were separated into two two-day blocks to decrease class size and organize attendance by region. Each block was opened with talks by the mayors of the areas from which the people were attending, as well as Brian Landever, director of CONAPAC, and other CONAPAC team members. They highlighted the importance of building self-reliance for the health and well-being of families living in rural areas, urging the participants to produce their own food in high quality ways. The classes taught participants how to build fish farms and compost inexpensively.
The all-day composting class gave participants the opportunity to practice making their compost bins out of readily available plant materials and to learn techniques to use. They were able to observe a garden being grown using compost and to have time to practice explaining the process of making compost to others. The resulting survey results that evaluated the workshops’ initial impact showed that the community leaders held a 92% intention of developing compost in their community.
The fish farm segment began with a class explaining the construction process, the type of land desired, how to feed fish with materials that grow abundantly in the area, and which fish to choose to ensure simple maintenance. Participants visited a nearby community that uses fish ponds. There the steps to building a fish pond were detailed. Later everyone had the opportunity to work on the construction of a new one.
For the 2018 workshops we are already seeking teachers focused on providing rural sustainable living workshops. Class proposals are now being accepted. For those interested in supporting these annual workshops, know that donations are used to provide required materials to communities that ensure classes will be implemented, evaluate subsequent impact of the classes, host participants during the workshop with lodging and meals, and purchase class materials.

For those who donated to the 2017 workshop, namely Amazon Rainforest Workshops and JBQ Charitable Foundation, we thank you very much.

For more pictures of this event, please visit our facebook page.
Canal Pinto Clean Water Workshop
CONAPAC provided its Clean Water Workshop to nearly 100 community members in August.  Every water filtration tower that is built is accompanied by this four-hour workshop that covers the following critical content:
  • how drinking clean water will prevent waterborne illnesses
  • how waterborne illnesses lead to low energy and poor school/work performance
  • how the community has to collaborate to keep the filtration tower operating
  • what daily procedures must be done by the water filtration tower operators
Each of the steps is important. Drinking river water has been a custom in the jungle for many generations. Over the years it has it become a dangerous practice. Children who drink river water tend to become ill and malnourished due to the presence of parasites and harmful bacteria. The classes we offer provide the information needed to understand the critical importance of drinking clean water.
All community members collaborate on the operation of the water filtration towers by contributing an amount equal to US $0.50 per month. This money is collected and saved by the operators to buy gasoline for the water pump, new filters, and other components that require occasional replacement.

The workshop trains operators in the maintainence and running of the filtration towers, including periodic cleaning. Proper operation is required to produce safe drinking water.  

The Canal Pinto water filtration tower was funded by a group of travelers from Brown University led by Peter Kreitler. We thank them all very much.
Mazan Mayor Focuses on Clean Water
Mazan is the region where our Napo River partner communities are located. The regional mayor provides gift baskets of common household goods to the water tower operators to thank them for their work and to encourage them to maintain their role.  

The mayor is also preparing to help build a new water filtration tower in one of the communities. His team plans on completing the concrete tower by late October 2017. CONAPAC will complete the system with tanks, filters, pipes, a training workshop, and ongoing technical support.
The Nutrition Program Grows
CONAPAC constructed a school kitchen in July in the community of Jorge Chavez and has begun another in San Pedro de Mangua. These kitchens are strictly for the children in the communities, where they can eat two meals per school day. The food and cooking materials are provided by a government program known as Qaliwarma, which delivers only to communities that have clean new kitchen facilities.  

This program is important because there is insufficient food in the majority of the communities in terms of quantity and quality. There is some fish in the diet and yuca and plantain are commonly grown in non-flooding areas, but these staples lack critical nutrients like iron. Iron deficiency can lead to low energy and poor concentration, negatively impacting students and workers. By increasing access to other food sources and nutrients, the children are getting a more balanced diet.

Thank you very much to donors Adopt-a-Village International and Saga Charitable Trust. Your ongoing support has made a positive impact in many communities.    

If others would like to support our growing nutrition program, please contact us directly.
Library Programs Expand and Gain Attention
The CONAPAC library hosted its second chess workshop and also hosted unique craft workshops offered by international volunteers. The chess workshop provided a full week of classes to students and educators teaching strategies in chess. The classes are part of an ongoing chess series.

Strategy and critical thinking are intertwined. As students in the chess program practice, they develop useful cognitive skills. Chess practice is becoming a regular activity. On walks through the communities near the library, it is now commonplace to observe the students playing chess outside their homes. 
The second special workshop was led by Martine and Ethan Geeraert, a mother and son from Portland, Oregon, USA. Ethan, 13 years old, is the youngest volunteer to teach two full weeks of classes at the CONAPAC library. He had attended the Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences, where our director previously taught. The school uses a teaching method known as design technology that integrates math, history, geometry, science, arts, and construction.
During two weeks in August, Ethan, assisted by his mother, led the students in building kaleidoscopes and pull-string puppets. Each project received a week of dedication and went through a process of introducing background history, explaining the steps of construction, allowing planning time, building different models to allow for trial and error, adding creative designs to the actual objects, and producing a report panel describing the learning process and final results.  

CONAPAC is grateful to Ethan and Martine for their support and dedication. They arrived well prepared with a project that converted a simple craft idea into an engaging, fun, educational, skill-developing construction project.
Building Community Connections to Markets
Several months ago, Adopt-a-Village International provided the means to connect one community with a buyer for lemongrass. This buyer, Maderosa, has since sold a significant amount of high quality essential oil in various products to many companies and individuals throughout Peru. Due to the excellent quality product that the Jorge Chavez community produced, Maderosa has scheduled three additional purchases. All parties involved are pleased.

CONAPAC holds a vision of social development for Peruvian rural communities. We foresee communities of people who are healthy, physically and mentally, know how to access food in sustainable ways, receive a thorough education through high school, practice participatory governance, have access to markets, and consistently take care of their rainforest. 
Only Three Spots Left for Week One of AAS
Adopt-A-School 2018, Week One, begins on April 7, 2018. This popular program is filling up fast as word spreads about the meaningful and fun experiences volunteers have year after year. If you would like to join us, please sign up today by emailing Claire Lannoye-Hall, the program coordinator. You can read details on our website.

For those unfamiliar with the Adopt-a-School program, we invite volunteers to join us in school supply distribution for one week or to participate in a one-week service project. The school supply distribution week is noted for the overjoyed communities who present cultural dances and songs, and sometimes gifts, as tokens of appreciation. The service project week concentrates on one selected community involving everyone’s assistance in the construction of a school kitchen. The volunteers also provide activities for the kids in the communities, like arts and crafts or relay race games. The bonding experience between program participants and community children is one that is warmly remembered. Our volunteers return year after year because of these experiences.
For those who are unable to join us due to other commitments, please consider supporting our program with a donation. The cost of school supplies for over three thousand school children, 250 teachers, and hundreds of classrooms, is substantial, as is the cost of a school kitchen. Your support is always directly brought to the communities, with little overhead.
CONAPAC NewsNote to Be Bimonthly
With the increased use of social media to share our ongoing activity, the CONAPAC newsletter will now be published every other month. Please like our Facebook page and have it publish our updates on the top of your newsfeed. We aim to put a smile on your face with our posts.

Follow us and share to let the world know about our great work in rural Amazonia. Find out what's happening downriver by reading staff blogs:
James's CONAPAC partner communities blog and Fernando's Amazon Library blog.

CONAPAC is a Peruvian non-profit organization whose mission is to promote conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards, the people who live along the Amazon and Napo Rivers. Our centerpiece project is the Adopt-A-School program, which is strengthened by workshops and complemented by service and sustainable projects in river communities.
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