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Bioenterprises: Amazonian youth completed the UNICO gastronomy course

On October 7, 2021, this gastronomy course, which began on July 21 at the ‘El Salnés’ restaurant, part of espai epicur, in Quito, concluded. ‘United by Cooking’ (UNICO) was led by Chef Mauricio Acuña, who shared knowledge and flavors with 11 young people from the Siekopai, A’i Cofán – Sinanwe, and Siona nationalities.

At the diploma award ceremony for completing the course.

This training was carried out within the framework of the project ‘Conservation of biodiversity through bioenterprises in the Northern Amazon.’ The Raíz Ecuador – CAEMBA Foundation was responsible for financing the course for six Siona and Siekopai youths. The other five scholarship recipients from the A’i Cofán – Sinanwe and Kichwa nationalities were supported by the Lianas Center Foundation.

This project aims to strengthen the capacity of indigenous men and women to produce and market Neapia (black chili), cassava, flour, Amazonian fish, and other organic products to improve their income. The income they will receive will help improve the family budget, thus reducing pressure on the forest, deforestation, and hunting of wildlife for sale.

A showcase of Amazonian bioenterprises.

Over the course of nearly three months, these young individuals learned about gastronomic techniques, focusing also on leadership, entrepreneurship, sustainable production, and financial education. Now, they will return to their communities to apply everything they have learned in the Amazon. This training aims to empower agents of change through their own knowledge of the products found in the richness of the Amazon.

We extend our gratitude to all who have made this project possible:

– Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ecuador

– Program for Supporting the National System of Protected Areas (PASNAP)

– Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition (MAATE)

– German cooperation

– KFW (German Development Bank)

– Canopy Bridge

– Restaurant ‘El Salnés’ – espai epicur

– Lianas Center Foundation

– Chef Mauricio Acuña

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

Fundación Raíz is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working with indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian, Montubio, and Mestizo groups across Ecuador.

Our projects support various communities: Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani and Shuar, covering six linguistic families.

Our CAEMBA housing initiative focuses on the Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio populations in Esmeraldas, addressing challenges of poverty and high crime rates. We commit to equitable treatment, opportunities for all, and the elimination of barriers to participation.

By valuing every voice and fostering community resilience, we aim to create a more inclusive, equitable society.

Our leadership is committed to DEI principles, ensuring our efforts reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and contribute to sustainable development and social justice.


Fundación Raíz está dedicada a la diversidad, equidad e inclusión (DEI), trabajando con grupos indígenas, afroecuatorianos, montubios y mestizos en todo Ecuador.

Nuestros proyectos apoyan a varias comunidades, Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani y Shuar, cubriendo seis familias lingüísticas. Nuestra iniciativa de vivienda CAEMBA se centra en las poblaciones afroecuatorianas y montubias en Esmeraldas, abordando desafíos de pobreza y altas tasas de criminalidad.

Nos comprometemos a un trato equitativo, oportunidades para todos y la eliminación de barreras para la participación. Valorando cada voz y fomentando la resiliencia comunitaria, aspiramos a crear una sociedad más inclusiva y equitativa.

Nuestro liderazgo está comprometido con los principios de DEI, asegurando que nuestros esfuerzos reflejen la diversidad de las comunidades que servimos y contribuyan al desarrollo sostenible y la justicia social.