February 25, 2015

For the Women of the Rainforest

Projects Manager, Kitty Jenkin, on the incredible women behind our projects

“I am completely in awe of the women in our rainforest projects around the world. Their unflappable style is an example to us all – male or female.

Think of the anxiety about childbirth in the UK, and we have the NHS. Ana from Cutivireni in Peru has given birth to 14 children with no medical help – half inside a cave whilst hiding from the Shining Path. If I’m honest, I can’t think of anything braver.

These women steadfastly safeguard their families and their forest. Cool Earth recently celebrated saving its 120,000,000th tree – a landmark achievement that is largely down to these women.

But we cannot ignore the fact that rainforest communities remain some of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised people. And it is women that suffer the most. Childbirth is the biggest killer of women in every single one of Cool Earth’s Projects.

I find these deaths from preventable causes by the far the hardest thing I come across in my work. It is a huge injustice for these incredible people, who spend their lives defending their forest, to die from something that in the UK you and I would never need to have a second thought about.

But this only serves to make me, the rest of the Cool Earth team and our local partners more determined to ensure rainforest protection goes hand in hand with better lives.

We’ve just employed the wonderful Adelaida Bustmanate who is pioneering our work to protect the mothers and newborn babies in our Asháninka Project. We’ll be improving access to healthcare, from basic medical training to equipping medical outposts with clean water. Simple steps that will make a lifesaving difference.


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