Indigenous women in Guyana join the fight against climate change by piloting drones and collecting data


Indigenous women in Guyana are joining the fight against climate change, using drones to help them better monitor and protect their land, while also collecting valuable and previously inaccessible data to inform decisions.

The drones are being used by the Makushi Indigenous people of Guyana as a way of projecting their traditional knowledge into the modern world. This is helping the Makushi to build on their generations of stewarding the Amazon rainforest, by enabling them to create high-resolution maps, take photos of threatened areas, and collect data for land use planning.

The drones are also helping the Makushi monitor the health of their land, which is threatened by deforestation, mining and oil exploration. The data the drones collect enables them to better understand the impact of these threats and to take action, such as putting in place surveillance systems.

The Makushi women have been at the heart of this work, using their traditional knowledge and skills to interpret the data and inform decisions about how to best care for their land. The drones are providing them with the tools they need to make sure their community is informed and engaged in combatting climate change.

The Makushi have received support from the Woods Hole Research Center and the Guyana Rediscovery Project, a national project that seeks to strengthen the voice and knowledge of Guyana’s Indigenous people, to help the Makushi with the data collection process. The Makushi hope that their efforts will not only help protect their own land, but also that the insights they gain can help the fight against climate change worldwide.