‘Jungle Mamas’ presentation set for Sunday in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

‘Jungle Mamas’ presentation set for Sunday in Nevada City

Diane Covington-Carter
Special to The Union
Diane and Narcisa Mashienta, Shuar leader of Jungle Mamas program in her community of Yuvientsa in the Amazon rain forest.
submitted |

A free presentation is set for Sunday on a birthing assistance program that has found success among indigenous people in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador.

The program, “Jungle Mamas,” will be discussed at a public meeting at 7 p.m. at Nevada City United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 433 Broad St., Nevada City.

The event will be co-hosted by local writer Diane Covington-Carter, who recently journeyed to the rainforest to stay with the indigenous tribe the Shuar, and Robin Fink, program director of Jungle Mamas. They will show a short video about the program and then open it up to questions to Fink, who is visiting the area on a short break from her work in the Amazon.

According to Covington-Carter, the Jungle Mamas program is the vision of a Shuar woman, Narcisa Mashienta, and Berkeley midwife, Margaret Love. It has been in existence for eight years and has helped to lower both maternal and infant mortality rates.

“Our goal is to improve community health in the Ecuadorian Amazon by empowering Achuar women and communities with the tools needed to be their own agents of change.”Robin Finkprogram director of Jungle Mamas

Before the “Jungle Mamas” program, women went out alone into the jungle with a machete to give birth; many women died, as did their babies. Now, through Jungle Mama’s Community Maternal Health Promoter Program, women are able to give birth at home with the assistance of trained helpers.

The mothers also learn about infant care and treatment of diarrhea, which was the cause of many infant deaths. Fathers are now also able to participate in the birth of their babies.

“We respect and give careful attention to valuing indigenous cultural practices and processes. Also, we cannot empower the women without a simultaneous empowerment of the men.

Our partnership and commitment to work in solidarity with both the women and men has worked to assure the success and expansion of Jungle Mamas,” Fink said. “Our goal is to improve community health in the Ecuadorian Amazon by empowering Achuar women and communities with the tools needed to be their own agents of change.”

The Jungle Mamas program has been funded by various nonprofit organizations, including The Pachamama Alliance, based in San Francisco.

At Sunday’s event, there will be an opportunity to make a financial contribution to the program.

For more information, contact Covington-Carter at 530-265-4050 or dcovingtoncarter@gmail.com.

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