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At TEDxQuito, Narcisa Mashienta — a member of the Shuar people — tells her story of growing up in the Amazon rainforest and ultimately becoming an integral part in empowering women throughout the rainforest.
Narcisa explains the origins of her warrior-like mentality and demonstrates how she’s applied it throughout her life to spearhead efforts to preserve and protect their ecosystem, identity, territory and culture. In addition to that, she has most notably made headway implementing the Jungle Mamas program throughout the Shuar and Achuar territories.
The Jungle Mamas program — or as the Achuar call it Ikiama Nukuri, which translates into “Women as Keepers of the Forest”— was created originally to educate women about child birth in order to prevent child mortality and ensure maternal health.
Narcisa speaks passionately about not only her love and enthusiasm for her culture and home, but about how important it has been for her to inspire women to learn, train themselves and ultimately empower more women.
The Jungle Mamas Program
To date, Jungle Mamas has trained 43 women and reached 54 of the 73 Achuar communities— about 4,600 people. By the end of this year, the program will have covered the remaining 19 communities and reach 100 percent of the Achuar population.
The program’s ultimate goal is to ensure the health and well being of mothers and newborns while respecting the tradition and sanctity of the birthing process throughout indigenous communities.
In conjunction with protecting health, the Jungle Mamas project aims to inspire women’s empowerment and nurture women’s leadership in order to help safeguard the health and well being of their people and ultimately the Amazon rainforest.