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South Rupununi District Council

Securing and sustainably managing Wapichan traditional lands in Guyana. Improving the livelihoods of the people in 21 communities. Thinking for those coming behind us. Our Land Our Life.

Presence in: Guyana
Focus: Community / Customary Land Rights, Gender-based violence, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Policy Advocacy

The South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) was officially established under Section 35(1) of the Amerindian Act 2006 on March 20, 2017. The SRDC comprises of 21 villages with a population of over nine thousand Indigenous peoples belonging to the Wapichan, Macushi and Wai Wai nations. We live in the villages of Parikwarinau, Baitoon, Shiriri, Katuur, Potarinau, Quiko, Shulinab, Meriwau, Sand Creek, Rupunau, Katoonarib, Sawariau, Shea, Maruranau, Awarewaunau, Churikidnao, Aishalton, Karaudarnau, Achawain, Bashaizon and Parabara which are all located across the Wapichan Territory. Toshaos ( Chiefs), elders, youths and women representative from the villages would attend all SRDC meetings which is the highest decision making forum of the organisation. The SRDC also supports the village councils across the district, facilitates, enhances and coordinates collective action, and where necessary, helps to address and resolve issues and concerns of the district.
In 2012, we developed a management plan ‘’Thinking for those coming behind us,’’ through numerous inter-community meetings with all 21 communities. This management plan outlines a plan of how the Wapichan, Macushi and Wai Wai people plan to take care of their territory; support leaders’ work to get rights to Wapichan territory legally recognised; help village councils to protect the land and natural resources and agree on how to use the land for the benefit of all.
Over the years the SRDC has implemented various projects such as: water testing, fire management, gender and social inclusion; awareness raising on the harmful use of mercury and the protection of freshwater resources; and transfer of traditional knowledge.
All of the projects implemented by the SRDC are aligned with the vision of how we wish to see development within the Wapichan Territory and how we plan to take care of our natural environment.

People Associated With This Organization

Immaculata Casimero

Guyana  
South Rupununi District Council
Joined April 2021
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Environmental Justice, Gender-based violence, Women's Rights
I am Immaculata Casimero, 39 years of age, an indigenous woman, who belongs to the Wapichan nation in Guyana. Presently, I am employed as the communications officer with the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) a local Indigenous Organisation that represents 21 communities within the Wapichan territory. Besides my job; I hold the positions as; chairperson of the Aishara Toon Women's Association (AWA), a community based organization which comprises of 15 women in the Wapichan village of Aishalton; and the Aishalton Primary School feeding programme which provides hot heals on a daily basis to over 177 students. My journey as a village leader began in 2015 when I was elected as a village councillor where I served voluntarily as the secretary of the Aishalton Village Council for 3 years.
In January of 2020, I helped to organise the first Rupununi Indigenous Women’s Conference which brought together over eighty women to discuss and focus on gender, leadership, environmental issues and empowerment. I am also the founder of Wapichan Women’s Movement (WWM) which is the women’ s arm of the South Rupununi District Council. The Wapichan Women’s Movement aims to improving women's livelihood through collective action, entrepreneurship and empowerment.
Working with my people over the years have made me aware of the concerns, issues and struggles of my people, especially as it relates to mining activities that are being carried on our traditional lands without our free, prior, and informed consent; which is causing devastating impacts on the environment ,and are contributing to climate change, social and health issues.
By joining this network I look forward to learning all I can from other organizations, forming new alliances, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with them.

Judy Winter

Guyana  
South Rupununi District Council
Joined April 2021
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Community / Customary Land Rights, Criminal Justice, Education, Environmental Justice, Family, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Health, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements, Labor & Employment, Livelihoods, Peace-building & Transitional Justice, Policy Advocacy, Right to Information, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I am Judy Winter, an 18 year old Wapichan girl from a village in the Deep South Rupununi, Region 9 in Guyana. I worked for a year with the South Rupununi District Council employed under South Central Peoples Development Association as a youth coordinator. I am currently a student at the University of Guyana pursuing an International Relations course to get into the Law program, sponsored by FPP and supported by the SRDC/SCPDA. I hold my culture to heart and I always want to work for the betterment of my people because as indigenous nations, we have been exploited and taken advantage of by the governments, and other persons for too long. Our resources are being taken away from us in the name of the western 'development' which is just destroying our earth. One way we can combat this global issue is making proper decisions and using our traditional way of life which our forefathers used before us, and teaching it to our children. We must not be brain-washed by those seeking to use us and our resources for profits. We must not only think of ourselves but others, and our future generations. When we are in leadership positions, we are expected to make decisions and act accordingly that would benefit the population sustainably, and we must know how to go about doing that. We must understand what words mean especially the legal words, notice when we are being taken advantage of, and must not tolerate that. I therefore want to learn all I can from this network especially in the legal field to become more aware of my rights and my peoples rights. I want to be able to pass on to them this knowledge so that together, we can make this world a better place.

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