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Indigenous women from Panama design action plans to ensure food security

17/02/2017 - 

More than 20 leaders from the 7 indigenous Peoples of Panama presented their advocacy plans devised to influence the formulation of public policies and budgets. Their final aim is to improve agricultural production and guarantee food and nutritional security in their communities.

 The preparation of these advocacy plans is the result of the third phase of the Human Rights and Food and Nutrition Security Program promoted by the International Indigenous Women Forum, the National Coordinator of Indigenous Women of Panama and FAO. The first two phases consisted of seven months of virtual trainings plus a two week seminar. 

This program, led by FAO, FIMI and CONAMUIP, aims to provide indigenous women with advocacy tools that allow them to influence public policies, programs and budgets that impact their communities.

Among the main challenges identified by the participants are food and nutritional security in their communities, access to technology to preserve and collect native seeds, access to credit and restoration of traditional productive systems. The integration of young people into communities through agricultural employment was also a main concern, as well as the lack of technical support to generate capacities of administration, organisation strengthening and tenure of their territories. 

As part of this program, indigenous leaders met with the representative of the parliament, Ana Matilde Gómez at the National Assembly of Panama and the chair of the Secretaria Nacional para la Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional (SENAPAN), Franklin Corro. During the meeting, they shared their concerns about legislation and public policies related to food security in the country and expressed their willingness to contribute from their cosmogony to the design and formulation of policies to ensure food and nutritional security in their communities.

 In Panama, figures from the Ministry of Health (2014) indicate that chronic undernutrition in children under 5 is three times higher in indigenous counties than in the rest of the country. In Kuna Yala it reaches up to 55% and in the region Ngäbe Buglé, 31%.

Both in the face-to-face seminar and in the virtual phase, the participants strengthened their capacities on indigenous peoples' fundamental principles and rights, such as the free, prior and informed consent; the right to land and natural resources; self-determination, gender equality, collective rights, development with identity, participation and inclusion, and the strengthening of the leadership capacities of indigenous women.

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