Wayana Radio Podcast

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We Find & Fund

We write project- and grant proposals and speak with the government and NGO's. We search for partners with whom we can have a long relationship to support our goals.

Partnerships based on trust and mutual respect are the cornerstones of our foundation.

We Build Networks

We want to work together with every organization that respects our way of living and thinking. We have some great partnerships with different people and organizations worldwide. 

We are building close relations with the Wayana communities in French Guyana and Brazil.

We Strengthen

We strengthen our communities and traditional leaders. We train and educate our youngsters and children. We give our women empowerment, and include everybody in our communities. 

Nothing about us, without us!

We Educate

We educate our people in dealing with the so-called "modern world" and all its challenges and threats. But we also educate the Palasisi (people from outside) our way of living, our traditions and culture.

We Provide Care

We provide care for all the weak, sick, and desperate ones in our communities. We develop a suicide prevention plan and are active against domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

We care for each other!  

We fight

We fight against:

  • discrimination, exclusiveness, and injustice 
  • illegal gold miners and illegal loggers
  • pollution of our drinking water
  • people and organizations that want to change us

OUR GOALS for 2020 - 2022

Photo: Milton Kam
Photo: Milton Kam

Food forest

24/7 Renewable Energy

Land use management planning/system

Capacity building

Clean drinking water

Community waste management

Scholarships for youngsters

Center for Education and Training

Employment; Sustainable livelihood

24/7 renewable energy for all villages and camps

At the moment not even all the villages/camps have a (properly working) generator in their possession or enough fuel (Palumeu hasn’t had fuel for over a year). Normally the government would take care of the generator and the fuel supply but the last 3 years the government failed to do so. Due to the fact the Wayana cannot depend on the service and fuel supply from the Government, and the high costs involved that comes with these services and considering the latest developments of renewable energy itself, they would like to have solar energy and, if possible, combined with hydro energy. Renewable energy and energy autonomy If we want to support the development of livelihood the coming years, much more energy is needed. We’re aiming for 100% energy autonomy.

Clean drinking water for all villages and camps.

Water is a fundamental human right. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 liters of water per person per day are needed, for drinking, cooking, personal and household hygiene. Contaminated water isn’t just dirty—it’s deadly… The United Nations considers universal access to clean water a basic human right, and an essential step towards improving living standards worldwide The same story for clean drinking water as for the energy, not all villages have it. If they do have drinking water, it’s often not clean or sufficient. In Kawemhakan, they take water from an unprotected source from a nearby small mountain. But during the dry season the source completely dries up [the project plan for clean drinking water and sanitation for Kawemhakan has already been written]. In Apetina and Palumeu, they collect untreated surface water from the river. In the Camps, they use water from a nearby creek, without any treatment. Due to the expansion of the (illegal) gold mining in the vicinity of the camps, the water quality is declining. Using water from the river or creeks without any treatment is not an option anymore. We need clean and sufficient drinking water for all villages and camps.

Scholarships for youngsters

Many of our youngsters have the intellect to attend higher education to become leaders for their communities in the future. But mostly they do not succeed if they study in the city of Paramaribo. There are two major reasons for that: • lack of support, from someone who knows our culture; and • lack of financial support. Every year there are 3 -5 youngsters that have the ability to go to secondary school and even further. A local scholarship for these students, including a home to stay with some support will help a lot. In time we will have our new leaders with knowledge and experience.

Centre for Education and Training

Our mission is to assist Wayana Indigenous peoples in the enhancement of employment skills and create the opportunity for self-sufficiency and independence. By building an Education- Knowledge- Culture & Learning Center for the benefit of our children, youngsters, and adults which, can be used as; • an alternative education possibility for children. Instead of leaving the village, after primary school, and move to the city in to a foster home, they can stay in their village. • a place where youngsters can enroll in vocational education such as mechanics, carpentry, hospitality, medical training, leadership development etc. all courses/training dependable on the development of the sustainable community-based eco-village. • a research center in the field of ecological agriculture, fishery, poultry & wild game, and agroforestry to reduce pressure on the forest, the soil fertility, and reduction of the co2 emission. • a place for scientific research, for instance, data collecting and analyzing our landscape, water reservoir system, climate in association with nature conservation (biodiversity) organizations or institutions • a place where we can facilitate our Historical Culture Center for the conservation of the heritage of our knowledge and artifacts. Revitalize our culture and language education at school to facilitate the collection of thematic data from the Elders and to complement these with data already been collected and archived in mostly European archives.

Food forest

The sustainable livelihood of forest or biodiversity dependent community can be measured as the following: SL=B x IK x EP Sustainable livelihoods = Biodiversity (natural capital) x Indigenous Knowledge (social capital) x enabling environment (both policies and marketing forces). A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three-dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out. A forest garden contains several layers. Using these layers, we can fit more plants in an area without causing failure due to competition. A food forest does not have to be re-planted year after year. Once it is established, it is generally very resilient.

Capacity building

Wayana villages were coming together In 2019 we had 3 Etakëlë meetings, one in Kawemhakan and two in Apetina. Reflecting on these meetings, we can say that they are of great importance. Not only to share information, talk about developments, making choices, creating and sharing a common vision, but also, because everybody has had the possibility to get involved. Normally only the traditional leaders are invited, but with the Etakëlë everybody can have a saying on the different subjects. Especially for our youngsters, our future leaders, and our women, it is a great platform to talk, ask questions, and to learn. Not only because it is organized by the Wayana for the Wayana, but also because we only speak our own languages during these meetings. No translation is needed anymore, we can do it ourselves. That is making the Wayana proud and is giving them power and strength to work together for a better life and future. We hope that we can have three Etakëlë every year. The last Etakëlë we also invited the people from the Trio village Tepu.


• Teaching Dutch; for young people it is essential to learn Dutch so that they can attend secondary education in Suriname and for adults so that they can better communicate with the government, NGOs etc. • Teaching English; there are opportunities abroad for internships and capacity building, but a good understanding of English is required. • Training in everything a Wayana needs in daily life (repairing outboard motor, chainsaw, woodworking, electricity etc.) So that they can be more self-sufficient. • Leadership development for youngsters and the traditional leaders. To develop the capacity and skills in such a way that they are better able to manage and govern their communities. • Capacity building for the three legally established Wayana community foundations [Mulokot (Lawa area), Paatu (Palumeu Village), and Piya (Apetina Village)] To develop capacity and skills to participate more fully in economic opportunities to improve the lives of their communities. • Self-determined development • training in ‘Western’ thinking (also current affairs related to politics, projects etc.) To understand ‘Western thinking” and be aware of laws and other subjects that might affect the Wayana • training for outsiders about the Wayana customs, habits, and our FPIC/engagement protocol.

Land use management planning/system

Indigenous communities are among those most dramatically impacted by climate change—despite contributing the least to its causes—because of their land-based livelihoods, histories of colonization, and social marginalization. More can be done to recognize the unprecedented impacts of climate change has on them, as well as their critical contributions of traditional knowledge and practices. Land use management is the process of managing the use and development of land resources. Land resources are used for a variety of purposes, which include agriculture, reforestation, water resource management, protecting spiritual and sacred places, and eco-tourism projects. Within a Land use management system, we can put our (traditional) knowledge and practices to protect and preserve our territory. We protect what is ours, with our traditional knowledge! Based on the newly created map of the Wayana territory we develop with the UNDP small grant, we can start with the community to create our land use management system.

Community waste management

The most important reason for proper waste management is to protect the environment for the health and safety of the Wayana. Bad waste management practices can also cause land and air pollution, which can result in serious health issues in humans and animals. Waste management is the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the collection, transport, treatment, and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulation of the waste management process. One of the first steps is creating awareness about the risks of pollution and environmental damage.
The Wayana are used to organic waste, which automatically disintegrates. They are not aware of the consequences and the impact of plastic- and other non-organic waste on the environment and what the result will be, if they don’t dispose of the waste in the right way, because the Wayana are relatively new to plastic and other non-organic materials. The second step is to cooperate with the management of “Amazonia Park of Guyana” in French Guiana. Together we will find a solution to collect and transport the waste from Kawemhakan to Maripasoela, where they have enough capacity to dispose of the waste properly. In other villages and camps, we need specialized waste ovens to burn the waste without polluting the environment.

Employment; Sustainable livelihood

In our discussions with the Wayana population, three livelihood possibilities stood out: Ecotourism, fish farming and food forest. Ecotourism has become an important option for economic development and the cultural survival of Indigenous peoples. Although the sustainable livelihood framework does not clearly address the cultural part of life, the approach requires that activities, such as tourism, are placed in a broader context so that they can be examined from an indigenous perspective on sustainability. Every Wayana village in Suriname has the potential of having an Ecoresort. But for every village there is a different perspective. 


In Apetina a new Ecotourism resort is now under construction. Apetina has many years of experience with community-based tourism with different tour operators and visitors from around the world (but mainly from the Netherlands). Due to lack of hospitality knowledge of the Wayana and the high costs of getting there, it has never been a great success. Even though the guests that went to Apetina always were amazed and satisfied with the service and hospitality they got. The whole experience with the seven big rapids nearby, the tropical rainforest, and climbing the “Tepu top” is one of the best in Suriname.


For more than 20 years, there has been a tourist eco-lodge in Palumeu owned by METS. METS is a subsidiary of Surinam Airways, and has in 3 villages in the interior of Suriname jungle-lodges where tourists can stay. The Wayana (and Trio) indigenous that live in Palumeu are working as guides, cooks, or housekeepers. But there are no local people in the management of METS. The Palumeu indigenous are developing their own eco tours offering tourists inspiring and adventerous jungle trips based on the Wayana culture. Survival trips, for instance to the Tumucumaque mountain.


In Kawemhakan, there are some tourist activities but only on the French side of the Lawa river. Although there are a lot of mining activities, we think that we can offer a great experience to tourists, especially by incorporating the mining activities in the trips. We can create an awareness for the tourists about the consequences of these activities on the environment, (like e.g. mercury pollution of the rivers, deforestation)
There is a beautiful trip to a 12-meter high waterfall and some spectacular rapids, so also Kawemhakan has a lot to offer. We already started with opening up an area for the tourist lodge.