Local Ally: Arhuaco Community of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Location: Sierra Nevada, Santa Marta, Magdalena
Located at the north coast of Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range apart from the Andes chain that runs through Colombia. The territory is administrated by four indigenous tribes: Arhuacos, Koguis, Wiwas, and Kankuamos.
Each one of the four different communities that live in this region has its own organizational and spiritual hierarchy. Among some particular cultural aspects, they believe in one goal: they are the keepers of the world, and in particular the keepers of the natural environment. Since 2002, they have focused on extending their vision, not only to preserve their culture, but also to share the “all millennium knowledge” with the rest of the world.
Despite the progress, the Arhuaco people are still fighting for their autonomy, to protect and preserve their territory and culture. This situation has led them to find new ways of dialogue with public and private institutions that have interests in the region.
The main goal of this project was to strengthen the autonomy of the Arhuaco people through the use of information and communication technologies to recover their territory and make more informed decisions regarding their welfare. This is achieved by training the Arhuaco authorities to use these high-quality information systems to aid in the decision-making process, in turn fostering greater communication between the different authorities of the Arhuaco community. The Arhuaco community is firmly convinced that technology can be used to preserve indigenous culture and autonomy.