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Exploring sustainable initiatives in the heart of the Amazon

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Setting out on my Amazon adventure in December 2023, I landed in Manaus, Brazil, eager to delve into the sustainable efforts of the Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (Foundation for Amazon Sustainability, or FAS). My encounter with FAS was no ordinary meeting; it felt like diving deep into the world of protecting nature and helping communities. Their work breathes life into both the forests and the people living there, resonating throughout the region.

Beacon of hope: the Foundation’s purpose and mission

Since its start in 2008, FAS has been a beacon of hope in the vast Amazon rainforest. Their mission is as big as the forest itself: to balance protecting nature with including people and growing the economy. They do this by teaming up with everyone from governments to local community leaders.

“Here in the Amazon, saving nature means saving the communities’ way of life,” shared Clara Garcias and Juliana Fonseca, who work with FAS. They understand this deeply, walking alongside the communities they help instead of leading the way.

FAS operates like a well-oiled machine, with scientists, community experts, teachers, and managers all working together. They tackle everything from saving animals and plants to making sure everyone has a say.

One big project is the Alliance for Climate Urgency, where FAS leads efforts to fight climate change. This work echoes through the rainforest, where every tree seems to be listening.

At the entrance to the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability in Manaus

The importance of community-based tourism

As our talk went on, we focused on community-based tourism, a potential vital income for many Amazon villages. FAS’s dedication to nurturing Community-Based Tourism (CBT) not only will provide economic opportunities but also will serve as a bridge between cultures, connecting travellers with Amazonian life.

“But tourism isn’t just about dollars; it’s about dialogue,” said a local guide I met in the area. “Through CBT, we share our stories, our traditions. We become ambassadors for the Amazon.”

It wasn’t just about conservation and tourism; FAS extended its reach to the very heartbeats of Amazonian communities through initiatives like Health Support. Telehealth services, like lifelines stretching across the Amazon’s rivers, ensured that healthcare reached even the most remote corners of the rainforest, weaving a safety net for those in need.

Amazon Basin Manaus Brazil

Stories of resilience and hope

At the Pirarucu and Tambaqui Fairs, organized by FAS (the following day of my visit), I witnessed firsthand how they support sustainable livelihoods. Stories of resilience and hope filled the air, like Gilvan, a local fisherman who found new opportunities with FAS’s help.

Gilvan, a resident of the Mapurilândia community, highlighted the positive impact of FAS’s involvement in expanding opportunities for local communities. With FAS’s support, communities now have direct access to consumers, resulting in significantly higher income than selling through middlemen.

“As a fisherman, FAS changed my life,” declared one of the fishermen present at the fair. “They taught us how to fish sustainably. And now, we thrive.”

Leaving FAS and the Amazon behind, I didn’t just take memories; I gained a deeper understanding of how humans and nature are linked. FAS’s tireless work tells a hopeful story of protecting the environment and lifting up communities.

As TravelLocal continues to support FAS’s endeavours, we reaffirm our commitment to environmental conservation and social responsibility, contributing to a brighter and more sustainable future for the Amazon and its inhabitants.

Drought in the Amazon

About the Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS)

Founded in 2008, FAS is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Manaus, Brazil. The organisation emerged in response to the urgent need for sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest, one of the planet’s most biodiverse and ecologically significant regions. FAS operates under a unique model, fostering partnerships with government agencies, private enterprises, and local communities to implement impactful conservation and social development projects.

FAS operates with a team of professionals, including environmental scientists, community development specialists, educators, and administrators. The organisation is structured to facilitate collaboration and innovation, with departments focusing on various aspects of their mission, such as conservation, community engagement, research, and administration.

Visiting local communities in the Amazon

The Foundation’s mission and objectives

FAS is committed to promoting environmental conservation, social inclusion, and economic development in the Amazon region. Their multifaceted approach encompasses initiatives aimed at biodiversity preservation, sustainable resource management, community empowerment, and education. Their key initiatives and objectives are summarised below…

  • Alliance for Climate Urgency: Addressing the pressing issue of climate change by supporting initiatives that mitigate its effects.
  • Community-Based Tourism: Fostering the growth of Community-Based Tourism (CBT) in the Amazon by providing training, mentorship, and technical expertise. Targeted areas include communities within the Rio Negro RDS, Puranga Conquista RDS, Rio Negro APA (Ecotourism), and Uatumã RDS (Sustainable Sport Fishing).
    Key statistics:
    – 24 tourist resorts
    – 190 families benefitted
  • Health support for communities: Ensuring access to healthcare and information for community members through telehealth services at designated points in riverside communities within conservation units.
    Key statistics:
    – 66 points of connectivity in conservation units
    – 18 conservation units and indigenous territories
    – 1,860 telehealth attendance
    – 85 basic care training webinars
With the team at the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability

Make it happen

Learn more about the incredible work done by the team at the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability, an organization we are proud to support as part of our TravelLocal Fund For Good.

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