Ashiniawka – Asociación de Mujeres Sapara (Sapara Women’s Association) is an association of indigenous Sapara women in Ecuador. It has been working to defend the Amazon, and the rights of indigenous peoples and women, for more than ten years.
Today only 500 Sapara live in a territory of more than 360,350 hectares and only three people guard the language. The Sapara people conserve a highly diverse natural heritage and their lands form a natural border with the territories of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation.
The association also ensures the well-being of communities and respect for women’s rights. The lack of participation of women in political spaces and the advancement of the extractive industry were two of the main reasons why Ashiniawka was founded.
Ashiniawka and its founding partners, especially its president Gloria Ushigua, are an international example of what it means to be guardians of the Amazon forest, stopping the advance of oil companies and promoting alternative initiatives to extractivism.
They also work on a practical level using agroecology and permaculture techniques to restore degraded land.
The organisation has also established itself as a safe haven for women to report cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Ashiniawka helps women and children experiencing domestic violence find medical help and take legal action.