Intercultural Center A mano Manaba


What’s it all about?

Since 2016’s earthquake cultural and communal activity in Don Juan hasn’t stopped. However, the neighbors did not have a space to keep meeting, decide issues that affect them, organize activities or simply relate and share stories under the shade. After the cession of a 300 square meters land and thanks to the support of all FAMM’s friends, in mid-2018 the construction of the Intercultural Center was finished. The CIAMM, built with materials and traditional construction methods from the area, is a multifunctional and modular structure which will hold: a library, a reading room, training areas, an outside kitchen area with a manaba wood stove, volunteer suite, a storage space and a bathroom area.

The new Intercultural Centre provides the community with:

  • Spaces for recreation, reading, arts, and local initiatives.
  • Spaces for discussion, debate, and decision making for the neighbors in Jama county.
  • Training spaces for art and other skills that incorporate the use of local materials (mate, bamboo, coconut fibers) and the oral narratives from the area, so that the community can produce cultural objects with their own thematic.
  • Training for our neighbors in leadership, community organizing, strengthening of their social fabric and support in legal proceedings.
  • Support in promoting and valuing the Manabitan culture through intercultural research and art-pedagogical projects related with the Intercultural Program: Knowledge exchange.

How can you help?

  1. Donate to maintain the Intercultural Center’s programs.
  2. Sign up as a volunteer for the Intercultural Program: Knowledge Exchange.

Productive entrepreneurship: Sewing Workshop


What’s it all about?

FAMM supports productive initiatives which are born from the neighbors themselves with sources for training and financing that will help launch their venture. The differentiating factor of these initiatives is the emphasis in valuing local culture and its incorporation in artisanal production. The first endeavor is already on it’s way in the Sewing Atelier.

A group of Don Juan’s women have organized to have their own sewing workshop in the community. They received support from Operación Sonrisa, which donated 11 industrial sewing machines, and from Poste Rojo and the rest of the community, who built a shack where we installed the machines. After receiving training in sewing and design, this initiative has already passed into the hands of the neighbors themselves, who manage the atelier.

How can you help?

  1. If you have any idea of productive entrepreneurship that can be done in Don Juan, contact us to learn more!
  2. Sign-up as volunteer in the Intercultural Program: Knowledge exchange, and share with us you sewing skills or endeavors.

Intercultural Program: Knowledge Exchange


What’s it all about?

Following the devastation of the April 16th earthquake, the fishermen community from Don Juan in Jama county has received solidarity visits from volunteers and donations from various in Ecuador and abroad.

With the intention to resist the static identity of a “passive victim”, the neighbors from Don Juan have organized to offer visiting volunteers a series of workshops in which they share their knowledge. This way, if a volunteer from the city comes to offer us a cultural activity or a technical workshop of our interest, not only will they stay with the community and will visit different families for meals, but should also pick one of the courses or workshops given by the neighbors. This way the volunteer that comes to give us their knowledge and work gets “a mano” (gets even) with us manabas, who offer our knowledge and our homes so that they can have an intercultural experience that moves away from the hierarchical relation of donor-victim.

The following are the “knowledges” which are offered by the neighbors:

  •   Using the Machete. Maricela Alcívar, Maribel Domínguez, Onasis Gómez, Freddy Rodríguez y Ramón Domínguez
  •   Fish cleaning and “ceviche de pinchagua”. Diana García,  Digna Balderramo, Maria Balderramo y Beatriz Cedeño
  •   Yuca bread. Noemi Vilela
  •   Fishing with nets by the river. Armando Chica
  •   Borroque (chontilla drink). Nancy Sosa
  •   Using the motor saw. Onasis Gómez
  •   Crochet. Nancy Sosa
  •   Building a manaba wood stove. Maricela Alcívar, Onasis Gómez
  •   Line fishing, net fishing (Instructors: various fishermen).

All volunteers belonging to the organizations that collaborate in different projects, and others that arrive in Don Juan, will be received under the framework of the Intercultural Program: Knowledge exchange.

How can you help?

  1. Contact us to plan your exchange as a volunteer in our community.

Food autonomy: Gardens and traditional eras.


What’s it all about?

A mano Manaba received a subsidy from the Global Greengrants Fund to develoop the project “Revitalization of eras and traditional gardens in Don Juan”. This project is set to revitalize the use of eras and family gardens as a mechanism for food security.

With the introduction of modernity this ancestral and ecological knowledge has started to be forgotten in Don Juan, a community of fishermen. It is important to regain the food security practices that were exercised by the Jama-Coaque culture throughout the Spondylus route. The work in eras and gardens assists family economy and forwards practices and ecological conscience and environmental values, as well as evades transport, expense, and dependence generated by the habit of consuming products brought from other areas.

Through this project, neighbors older than 50, who still continue the use and technology of eras and gardens, integrate a team with the advisers from invited organizations to transmit their knowledge to their next generation and exchange their knowledge with other communities in the area. The process described by the project starts with motivation directed towards the whole community; training of the group of neighbors interested and daily incorporation of the economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of creating family gardens and eras. The project proposes to generate many model gardens and eras which would be the first step to start a practice of food security in the Don Juan locality.

Cómo puedes colaborar:

  1. You can also donate gardening tools for the community, contact us!
  2. If you have experience in ecology, permaculture, or ecological agriculture, come to Don Juan to become a volunteer and help out the community with the project.