Our COVID-19 Response: Update

The pandemic is hitting indigenous communities of the Amazon from all sides. They are in dire need of support to ward off the virus and save human lives right now, and to protect their cultures and forests from mounting ecological threats and economic pressures.

ACT is continuing to scale our efforts to support communities in tackling this critical issue through alliances with local organizations and government agencies. In areas where aid is simply not available or public services lack the capacity or will to independently reach communities in need, our work has been indispensable.

Boats delivering supplies in Medio Rio Caqueta
ACT support to communities in the middle Caqueta river basin


Communications efforts

Area: National |

  • On August 13, a virtual webinar was presented by the Organization of American States and ACT: “Indigenous Peoples in the Post-COVID-19 Context: Challenges and Recommendations.”

Area: Putumayo |

Area: Caquetá |

  • ACT economically supported three community radio stations that are also broadcasting COVID-19 educational programs.

Biosecurity Measures

Area: Putumayo |

  • 400 facemasks were delivered to the San Andrés indigenous reserve. 

Area: Caquetá |

  • In Yurayaco, biosecurity materials were delivered for the installation of “disinfection points” at the Yachaikury indigenous school in order to safely resume academic activities.

Essential Needs

Area: Amazonas |

  • ACT supported the transportation of over two tons of additional humanitarian aid.
  • Transportation and additional economic resources for biosecurity materials were provided to four indigenous associations.
  • ACT supported the transportation of basic medical kits to indigenous communities near the municipality of La Chorrera.

Area: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta |

  • 1,000 rapid COVID-19 tests and 400 PPE kits were delivered to an indigenous healthcare provider of the Kogui Malayo Arhuaco indigenous reserve in order to carry out epidemiological monitoring.

Area: Peru |

  • ACT supported transport for regional healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 tests to community members returning to their communities from the city of Pucallpa. All tests were positive, and thanks to those diagnoses, we were able to prevent the spread of the virus in that community.
  • Medicine was sent to four indigenous federations belonging to ORPIO, the Regional Organization of Communities of the Eastern Peruvian Amazon.
  • ACT coordinated an air delivery of donated medicine and fuel to the main health center of the Matsés indigenous community.
  • ACT supported the efforts of an indigenous association, FECONATIYA, to strengthen the work of their guards in charge of monitoring their territory, essential to reducing transmission by foreign actors.

Impact by the numbers for August

Biosecurity materials:

  • Facemasks: > 800 for
    • Indigenous communities: 2 
    • Indigenous schools: 1 
    • Health institutions: 1 

Diagnostics for the detection of COVID-19:

  • Rapid tests: 1,000 

Waura longhouse in the Xingu, Brazil



Area: Xingu |

  • ACT is supporting the indigenous association of the Ulupuene village with logistics, purchase of supplies, and remote payment of bills in order to minimize the chances of contagion from contact with outsiders.

Area: West Tumucumaque |

  • ACT supported the indigenous association APITIKATXI with the safe return of 37 people to their remote communities. This included COVID-19 testing and transportation by boat and plane.


Area: West Tumucumaque |

  • ACT and a local indigenous association supplied the Urunai community with a radio for emergency communication.


Area: West Tumucumaque |

  • ACT is providing ongoing financial support to a local community center for indigenous community members to quarantine before returning to remote villages.

Essential Needs

Area: East Tumucumaque |

  • ACT supported a local indigenous association, APIWA, with food supplies for remote villages in order to help reinforce social isolation.

Area: Boa Vista and Caroebe/Roraima |

  • ACT supported 26 Wai Wai families with food and hygiene supplies, in collaboration with a local indigenous association.

Impact numbers by the numbers for August

Food and hygiene supplies beneficiaries:

  • Wai Wai families: 26
  • Waiana and Apalai families: 107

Jacob Kondre, Suriname



Area: National |

  • ACT, in partnership with other organizations, continued raising awareness and disseminating information regarding COVID-19 and safety precautions via WhatsApp groups and social media channels, all in the native languages of the target groups.
  • ACT installed new internet satellite dishes in the villages of Curuni, Sipaliwini and Alalapadu to enable the communities to virtually communicate with the outside world.
  • Discussions were held with the National Ministry of Health regarding means to better address COVID-19 in the interior of the country as well as ways to improve collaboration.
  • With support from UNICEF, ACT purchased books for children to be disseminated in indigenous communities in order to better explain the COVID-19 outbreak in Suriname. 

Biosecurity Measures

Area: National |

  • Three partner communities—Kwamalasamutu, Apetina, and Kawemhakan—were provided with 2 reusable masks per inhabitant.
  • The communities of Apetina and Kawemhaken, which experienced COVID-19 outbreaks, were also provided with soap and detergents, and Western medicines were provided to their local clinics.

Essential Needs

Area: National |

  • ACT provided care packages to individuals from partner communities who were hospitalized outside of their territories.
  • ACT distributed relief packages to indigenous families in the capital city of Paramaribo who are dealing with both the coronavirus health crisis and the national financial recession.
  • The Medical Mission was provided with financial support to establish a prefabricated health clinic in the community of Curuni.

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