Wai-Wais in the remote southern district of Kanashen in Guyana (South America) have been trained in the use of cutting-edge software, smartphones and GPS to gather data and assess carbon stocks, thanks to a pioneering two-year project by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Mobile phones are nothing new, even in this isolated area on the fringes of the Amazon Basin, a punishing six-day journey by tractor and boat from the nearest town. But the way they are being used to navigate the forest and record eco data marks a significant departure from tradition.
“Our people used to manage the community just on our own. But since WWF came in and trained our young people, we manage it far better than before,” Mr Mawasha explains. “We did not have instruments before like GPS; we used to cut lines so we didn’t get lost in the jungle,” he says, referring to the practice of hacking a trail through the trees with a machete.
“We are very happy with the training. We tell our young people we have to care for our environment to keep it for the next generations,” he adds.