Colombia

The U'wa

Work to be Completed: Fall, 2017

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

In Colombia’s Cloud Forest, the indigenous U’wa people consider themselves the defenders of the Earth; they are known for living very lightly on the land. For years, they have been fighting corporations’ plans to drill for oil. Empowered by Light is delivering portable solar units that will provide all 17 U’wa communities with reliable power, allowing the U’wa to better communicate and defend their territory while staying true to their ethical and spiritual beliefs.

Later this year, we plan to build a larger demonstration project for one of the 17 communities, which will provide power to more members of the community and help show the benefits clean, renewable energy can bring.

Empowered by Light is collaborating with Amazon WatchGreenpeace-Brazil, and others to build small, replicable solar systems for indigenous peoples like the U’wa who are struggling at the intersection of conservation, conflict, and livelihood development. These systems allow these indigenous groups to thrive as autonomous but connected communities, while also increasing their capacity to share their stories, struggles, and solutions with the wider world.