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New project plan in northern Colombia: Cooperation with the Wayúus on the La Guajira peninsula

In northeastern Colombia lies the La Guajira Peninsula, home to the indigenous Wayúu communities. The people living there face numerous challenges, including the region's desert-like climate, decreasing rainfall and other consequences of climate change, such as water scarcity and loss of fertile land. The negative consequences of the massive coal mining of the "El Cerrejón" mine, which leads to the ongoing lowering of the groundwater level, also aggravate the situation. Thus, the living conditions and economic opportunities of the Wayúu are becoming increasingly difficult, so that there is an urgent need for action and regenerative strategies must be included.

As the traditional livelihoods of Wayúu clans depend on natural resources, the declining availability of water and arable land has severely impacted food security and sources of income. In addition, access to safe drinking water remains a pressing concern, affecting the health, well-being, and life expectancy of the communities.

Despite the many challenges, there is reason for hope. In cooperation with the locally based organization Terrazul, Gespa e.V. is working on a promising project to strengthen Wayúu communities and increase their resilience to the adversities they face. The project focuses on building sustainable food systems and improving drinking water supplies in the Riohacha region.

The project focuses on developing sustainable food systems that use the region's natural resources. The cultivation of marine algae, such as the nutrient-rich spirulina, will produce high-quality food and create sustainable sources of income for communities.

In addition, the cultivation of leafy vegetables in aquaponics systems will provide the opportunity to produce food with minimal water requirements, making it ideal for La Guajira's arid climate. This locally produced food will not only be used by the communities to meet their own food needs, but will also be supplied to tourism facilities in the region to create further income opportunities for the communities. Through sustainable practices, the Wayúu can take control of their economic future while preserving their environment for future generations.

Another crucial aspect of the project are targeted measures to improve the drinking water supply. Having access to clean and safe drinking water is essential for the well-being and health of communities. By implementing sustainable water management techniques, the project aims to work with the Wayúu to establish reliable and safe sources of drinking water.

The challenges faced by Wayúu communities across La Guajira require innovative and regenerative answers that build on specific local conditions. By developing local food systems adapted to extreme conditions, including algae production and aquaponics, and improving drinking water supplies, the project seeks to contribute to the empowerment of the Wayúus, improve their socioeconomic conditions, and preserve their cultural heritage. Environmental and climate education measures will also be included in the project, as well as the promotion of small-scale entrepreneurship. By working closely with communities and implementing sustainable practices, collectively we work to build resilience and create a better and more sustainable future for the Wayúu people of La Guajira.


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