The project

Logo Wanamei-2

Development of sociotechnical solutions for small and artisanal miners of the region of Madre de Dios (Peru)

Pilot project Wanamei was born from the collaboration between the NGO Terre des Hommes Suisse and the anthropotechnological research laboratory Edana from the Haute Ecole Arc Engineering (University of Applied Sciences) in Switzerland.

The initial request came from the local association Huarayo (Peru) whose objective was to find solutions to improve the living and working conditions of local communities that live through gold production activities.

We are working with three groups of miners from Madre de Dios area since 2011, in order to support the development of long-term solutions within the current mining problematics.


Wanamei Project Objectives:

The Wanamei project is working to improve the living and working conditions of miners from the Madre de Dios area and support them in the mining formalization process.

Our approach aims to develop together new technological solutions that would be more adapted to local conditions and framework, which are complex and in constant evolution. The idea is to make these solutions more profitable, healthy and respectful for the miners and the environment.

Beyond the idea of clean technologies, our project is willing to restore harmony between humans and their environment, hence its name.

Indeed, according to the Arakmbut (indigenous people of the region) Wanamei is the tree of life and symbolizes their respect for Nature. Wanamei is the tree that provides them shelter and protects them from burning earth or deluge. This tree protects the ones who respect it.


Our working philosophy: with people and for people!

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© Edana

For this purpose, our project is attempting to contribute to local mining issues from an anthropotechnological perspective, which considers the mining activity as a whole.

These technological solutions are developed with and for groups of miners, which play a central role in our researches:

  • With them we can identify the real problems to solve; it;
  • With them we can build relevant tracks of solution;
  • With them we can perform the necessary tests for implementing a new technology.

But first of all, we have to be with them to be able to save those “good practices” related to the use of natural resources, knowledge of Nature and mining work practices.


Project activities:

Wanamei is based on three action lines, which are intrinsically linked and made to globally help these mining communities:

  • Technical line: development of adapted technical solutions for Madre de Dios’s mines with miners and experts
  • Communicational line: valorization of good practices for communities involved in the project
  • Educational line: organization of an awareness campaign and innovation contest dedicated to the theme of Mine and its alternatives, in several schools and educational centers of the region

The team:

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Wanamei gathers a multidisciplinary team (engineers, anthropologists, health and work security experts, designers) from the anthropotechnological research laboratory Edana, Haute Ecole Arc Engineering (He-Arc) in Switzerland.

A joint work program is being developed among three groups of miners and enjoyed the support from the local coordinator: Ronald Jara.

This work is also done in collaboration with two experts from the DREMH (Regional direction for Ernergy, Mine and Hydrocarbons) and the MINAM (Ministry of Environment).

Project Manager: Carole Baudin

Coordinator : Yohana Ruffiner

Contact: carole.baudin@he-arc.ch

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