One of the projects that Unbounded World has been actively collaborating on is through a partnership with a group called REMONA (Red Monitorio National de Agua) at the top public University in Colombia, the National University of Colombia in Bogota. Daniel Henryk Rasolt is a scientist and has collaborated with researchers at the National University for several years on different projects.
REMONA is a combined education initiative and monitoring network for water quality. The REMONA group consists of physicists, biologists, microbiologists, ornithologists, and more, at the National University in Bogota, with other professional and community-based collaborators around the country. Unbounded World is helping by facilitating partnerships between REMONA and indigenous community leaders and educators, through the direct implementation of the water monitoring stations, and by donating monitoring equipment to take measurements of water properties such as pH, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, sedimentation, temperature, and more, as well as small microscopes for analyzing microorganisms. Our financial support for these projects comes through the funds that we raise from the selling of the crafts, and potentially donations and any grants and fellowships we may receive in the future.
These water monitoring stations to this point are set up principally at elementary and high schools, as well as aqueducts and other water treatment plants, and the professors of the National University instruct the young children as well as the teachers on how to make these measurements, which can be analyzed and put into a database. We also have been giving some of this instruction ourselves. When we are there with the indigenous communities, we explain the intent and function of REMONA to community leaders and children, as it is often impractical or impossible for some of the professors to make their way into the depths of the Amazon or Choco rainforests, or the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta or Cauca, at any given time, for instance.
REMONA not only teaches children to think more analytically (in combination with their beliefs and traditional knowledge that is imparted by their communities) and be more active participants in monitoring their land, it also collects valuable data in the ongoing fight for land rights and conservation. Water is critical, to so many things, and the hope is that this project can form the foundations for larger initiatives that could utilize international campaigns, organizations and green funds, along with other conscious forms of pressure, to ensure the land rights and conservation of the territories of these communities. This will be especially possible if more young members of the communities go on to get more fortified formal educations that will help in these struggles.
Currently there are 14 established monitoring stations around Colombia, as well as stations in Mexico and Malawi, Africa, but before Unbounded World got involved, there were none in indigenous territories. Now six communities have been introduced to the project, and three are in the process of making their first measurements. Multiple indigenous groups that we work with, such as the Misak and Nasa in Cauca, the Kamentsa in Putumayo, the Koreguaje in Caqueta and the Arhuaco in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, occupy territories that are ecologically extremely important, and serve as watersheds for major rivers and the survival of countless other species and populations. These territories and ecosystems of these indigenous tribes are also very vulnerable to activities such as mining and deforestation, which destroy the quality of their sacred water supplies. We believe that there could be great benefit to setting up a network between the different indigenous communities, where they are able to analyze the quality of their water supplies, and use this information to fight against the various groups that infringe on their autonomy and environment.