BUSINESS: Asociasion de Mujeres Waorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (Association of the Waorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon)
CITY: Ecuador
Country: Ecuador
The Waorani women of Ecuador, in order to fully participate in the process of defining their relationship with contemporary society, and in order to manage projects for their own benefit came together to form the Asociacion de Mujeres Waorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (AMWAE) (Association of Waorani Women of the Ecuadorean Amazon). Founded in January 2005 AMWAE is protected by the Constitution and laws. AMWAE’s principle objectives are to support programs leading to the improvement of artisanal environmental conscious work, sutainable agriculture and cultural tourism, all aiming to benefit Waorani families.

AMWAE also produces WAO chocolate, an initiative from Waorani women aiming to reduce bush meat consumption from Waorani families, especially bush meat hunting destined for sale in local markets. Worried at the increased demand for bush meat and decreased numbers in fauna, AMWAE has successfully implemented cocoa crops and supported by TRAFFIC, paired with a local private company to manufacture WAO chocolate. Income from sales serves to replace income from bush meat sales. So far, WAO chocolate has proven effective in reducing commercial hunting. Additionally AMWAE also promotes projects and programs for the support and revival of customs and ancestral knowledge, while improving the quality of life of Waorani women.