grantees » Ana Maytik Avirama Pabon

Ana Maytik Avirama Pabon, Columbia

Growing up in the Amazon rainforest of the Cauca region of Colombia, where her family has a history of fighting for indigenous rights and land ownership, Maytik developed a passion for achieving environmental and social justice in Latin America. She is interested in the intersection between environmental activism and personal/collective healing, storytelling, alternative economies, feminism, and new technologies.  Her uniquely multidisciplinary background, impressive portfolio of experience in a variety of different contexts, and creative and driven character is a recipe for a strong environmental leader of the future.

While studying Human Ecology as her undergraduate program, she focused her attention on indigenous movements and resilience strategies in the Global South. This experience allowed her to participate at the UNFCCC as a youth activist and civil society observer, focusing on a climate justice  approach.  She has also interned in India with BIRSA, an Adivasi NGO working with grassroots communities, expanding their capacity to organize against abuses by mining companies. She also lived in an indigenous Kachiquel community in Guatemala learning about the role of music within indigenous youth organizing processes. She co-led a Davis Project for Peace in Bogotá, which aimed to contribute to the  recovery of a contaminated river through community building, organic gardening, and the establishment of an outdoor ecological classroom based upon traditional knowledge. She also has a strong interest in storytelling and podcast production, independently developing her own series to broadcast the voices of rural communities in Colombia and documenting their experiences in resisting development projects.

Meanwhile, since 2015 she co-created and co-lead the Colombian team of TierrActiva, a youth-led grassroots environmental collective in Latin America. In TA Colombia she has been responsible for project management, logistical planning, financial management and liaising with peasant communities attempting to strengthen rural-urban solidarity economies and networking for local and organic products in the city. She is also a founding member of Rudas Y Salvias, a women’s cooperative entrepreneurship project, where she helped to develop sustainable products that support local economies and empower women.

Ana Maytik used the JWHI grant to study a Masters in Political Ecology, de-growth and Environmental Justice at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Here she wished to build upon her existing experience, and especially her understanding of the difficulties that women must face within social movements, to explore the relation between feminist theories and environmental justice demands, with the intention of strengthening this intersectional movement in Latin America. She also demonstrated her creative thinking, audio technology and storytelling skills by delivering her thesis in the form of a podcast series, which presented stories of resistance and healing in order to give visibility to women’s voices from the global south.