Cumare – Voices of the Colombian Amazon peoples

In May 2023 the project “Cumare – Voices of the Amazon peoples”, a common initiative of the Colombian Non-Governmental Organisation “Comunicarte”, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (Red Eclesial Panamazónica, REPAM) and CAMECO, started.

“Cumare” (Astrocaryum chambira) is the local name of a palm tree widespread in the Amazon region, one of the most important raw materials for fibre production and handicraft and a major source of income for the indigenous population.

The aim of the project is to enable 40 local reporters from ten Church and community radio stations in the lowland provinces of the Colombian Amazon and Orinoco region to produce relevant journalistic content in a regional network and to improve their environmental journalism skills.

To this end, comprehensive information services and participative tools are being developed, and consultative meetings with indigenous communities, participatory programme formats and a didactic guide for radio presenters will help the indigenous and peasant population to formulate their concerns and to stimulate public discussion on how to face the threats to their natural livelihoods.

A three-day introductory meeting was held in Bogotá in July, during which the participating radio stations got to know each other, became familiar with the project and developed practical production skills. In addition, guest speakers shared their approaches to environmental protection, including Alfredo Ferro, SJ (former secretary of the Conferencia Eclesial de la Amazonía), Germán Niño (Foro Social Panamazónico), Magnus Kossmann (Deutsche Welle Akademie) and Jennifer Rincón (Asociación de Corporaciones Autónomas Regionales y de Desarrollo Sostenible).

Over a period of twelve months, three experienced trainers will hold five workshops at each radio station’s site, combining training in practical production skills with environmental protection knowledge and civic participation methods.

The flagship publication of the project is the weekly radio programme “Radiorevista Cumare” which is co-produced and transmitted by the ten radio stations. The programmes which each focus on a specific issue, are also available as podcasts here.

A detailed project description, including a presentation of the participating radios, is available here. The project is supported by the German Development Ministry BMZ and finishes in April 2024.