Why RAN supports frontline communities with small grants

Written by Tracy Solum

Topics: Frontline Communities

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Since 1993, RAN has distributed over $850,000 in small grants to traditionally under-funded organizations and communities in forest regions through our Protect-an-Acre program. Our grants (generally $5,000 or less) support organizations and communities that are working to regain control of and sustainably manage their traditional territories through land title initiatives, community education, development of sustainable economic alternatives, and grassroots resistance to destructive industrial activities.

Indigenous leaders en route to a gathering and protest to stop plans for a dam on the Xingu River in Brazil

Indigenous leaders en route to a gathering and protest to stop plans for a dam on the Xingu River in Brazil

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day and to kick of World Rainforest Week, we are launching an expanded Protect-an-Acre section of our website featuring a map with descriptions of all of the grants we’ve made in the last 10 years, in-depth grant profiles, and more. If you are inspired by the stories of what Indigenous communities are accomplishing through their frontline efforts to defend their land and way of life, please consider supporting these efforts through a donation to Protect-an-Acre.

Protect-an-Acre is an alternative to “buy-an-acre” programs that seek to provide rainforest protection by buying tracts of land, but which often fail to address the needs or rights of local Indigenous communities. Some Indigenous peoples have even been kicked off of their land as part of this process.

There can be no solution to the problem of deforestation without addressing Indigenous rights. And besides, traditional forest communities are often the best stewards of the land because their way of life and well-being depend on it. A recent study by Forest Trends found that forest communities and Indigenous peoples do a better job of conserving woodlands than national governments or international donors. Another study published in Conservation Biology found through an analysis of satellite data that where Indigenous people hold title to their land, there has been less forest destruction than in surrounding areas.

Traditional U'wa territory in the Colombian rainforest

Traditional U'wa territory in the Colombian rainforest

So check out our Protect-an-Acre program and make a donation in support of Indigenous rights and forests protection!

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