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Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management

Punta Gorda, Belize
Joined February 2019

SATIIM promotes and protects the rights of Indigenous Peoples and safeguard the ecological integrity of the Sarstoon Temash Region and promote the sustainable use of its resources for its communities

Presence in: Belize
Focus: Environmental Justice, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Livelihoods, Women's Rights

We Maya of southern Belize created the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management when our ancestral forests were turned into a national park – and then slated for oil drilling.

SATIIM is recognized on the international level as the first Indigenous organization to successfully fight for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the country level. In 2009, SATIIM was recognized with a World Bank Marketplace Award World Bank’s “Indigenous Adaptation to Climate Change Fund,” for its model of Indigenous-led community forestry. In 2011, SATIIM’s founder, Gregory Ch’oc, was a finalist for the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award. In 2012, SATIIM conducted the first study on gender equity in Maya communities in southern Belize in a UN/EU project on deforestation and soil conservation. In 2013 SATIIM conducted the first survey on climate changes observed by Maya communities in southern Belize. In 2015, SATIIM started to create Belize’s first Maya Land Registry through community participatory mapping. In 2016 SATIIM began a collaboration working with Maya organizations in Guatemala on the first Maya-led participatory model of community resource management. That same year the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage recognized SATIM for “its tireless efforts in both conservation and human rights.”

As its organizational name implies, SATIIM seeks a unique path to conservation based on Indigenous management and traditional knowledge.  Compared with other conservation NGOs in Belize which tend to be directed by urban, non-indigenous people, SATIIM is uniquely directed by a Maya leader who also chairs the national association for Protection Areas.  SATIIM is also unusual in that representatives of the four major Q’eqchi’ villages, Crique Sarco, Sunday Wood, Conejo and Midway in addition to a Garifuna representative from Barranco serve on its board of directors



People Associated With This Organization

froyla tzalam

Sarstoon Temash Institute for...
Joined February 2019
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Environmental Justice, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Livelihoods, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I am a Mopan Mayan woman with a Masters in Rural Development from Sussex University, England and a Bachelors in Anthropology from Trinity University, Texas. As the co-director of the African and Maya History Program under the Ministry of Education, I trained teachers across Belize in cultural education. As the Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Research, I coordinated national campaigns to deepen the public's understanding and appreciation of these communities. Before taking the helm at the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, Belize's only Maya community environmental organization, I managed the Tumul K'in Center of Learning, a Mayan specific cultural school. I am the author of the Report on the Main Barriers and Constraints to Q’eqchi Women’s Participation in Economic Activity in Toledo. I hope this network will inform SATIIM's work in indigenous land tenure and natural resource management.
froyla tzalam is the network champion (main point of contact) for Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management.

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