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April 27, 2022

Fighting Desertification: Associação do Povo Karão Jaguaribaras, Brazil

En español

KOEF Grant Partner Spotlight

The Karão Jaguaribaras Peoples live in the state of Ceará in eastern Brazil, especially in Ybatrytê, Sierra de Baturité, and adjacent areas. They are a community that has been living in under a continuous threat to their territories. The sustainable management of the environment, which includes the practice of agriculture, is fundamental to their way of life.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the social, economic, and health vulnerability of many Indigenous communities. “Our Karão Jaguaribaras Peoples believe that this pandemic that is plaguing the world is a sea of ​​environmental imbalance caused by human greed in search of exacerbated wealth. This is why we are taking concrete steps to combat desertification with educational efforts to recover degraded areas,” says Arly Karão, Project Manager.

In 2021, through a grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund, the Association of the Karão Jaguaribaras Peoples developed a project entitled "Strategies to Prevent and Combat Desertification through the Indigenous Community of the Karão Jaguaribaras Peoples." This project sought to positively influence their members by carrying out activities to strengthen the entire community. Their project directly benefited some 30 families, approximately 120 people, including children and youth.


The final objective of the project was to promote the “Buen Vivir”, well being of the community. During the development of the project, activities such as walks through Karão Jaguaribaras territory were carried out. During the walks, native seeds were collected and community members talked about forest management, how to treat the land,  and how to prevent and combat desertification.


From the information collected through conversations and workshops, community members developed a management plan and a long-term environmental recovery plan for the degraded areas and areas in danger of desertification that were previously identified during walks. The Association also organized workshops about seed management and how to take care of native seedlings in the nursery. Another topic covered was beekeeping.


Another important activity carried out by the Association was the acquisition and installation of a water pump for a deep well. This served to complement their activities in their fight against desertification. “One day we will reap the fruits of our efforts, even those who do not have the opportunity to meet us will benefit. This is Nature,” says Ruy Karão, President of the Associação about their work.

The Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) is an Indigenous Led Fund within Cultural Survival designed to support Indigenous Peoples’ community development and advocacy projects. Since 2017, through small grants and technical assistance, KOEF has supported 190 projects in 37 countries totaling $828,067. KOEF provides, on average, $5,000 grants to grassroots Indigenous-led communities, organizations, and traditional governments to support their self-determined development projects based on their Indigenous values. Predicated on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Survival uses a rights-based approach in our grantmaking strategies to support grassroots Indigenous solutions through the equitable distribution of resources to Indigenous communities.