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Give indigenous people a smartphone to fight for survival

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Survival International

Tribal groups turn to video in fight for survival

“We believe that the powerful videos we are seeing will galvanise more action by more people and create pressure governments will be unable to ignore.” – Sarah Shenker, Tribal Voice project

by Claudia Mazzeo

Speed read

  • Two indigenous groups in Brazil given smartphones
  • Their videos raise awareness of threats
  • The Guarani people have lost most of their land to cattle ranchers

A project that gives smartphones to indigenous people in the Amazon region to aid their fight for survival has reached out to two tribal groups in Brazil.

The Tribal Voice project, run by non-governmental organisation Survival International, has handed waterproof phones and solar panels to the Guarani and Yanomami peoples, and provided them with satellite uplinks and training on charging and using the devices. It aims to give the tribes more say in political and economic developments affecting their land.
Recipients are encouraged to use the phones to record videos voicing their views and experience, and send messages to authorities and lobby groups about issues affecting them.

Project leader Sarah Shenker says several video clips have already been uploaded to its site. “We believe that the powerful videos we are seeing will galvanise more action by more people and create pressure governments will be unable to ignore,” she says.

Read the full text: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.