TOPICS

Indigenous People, Market Access, Nutrition

SOLUTION TYPE

Innovation (technical or institutional), Knowledge Exchange, Methodology, Technology

REGION

Latin America and the Caribbean

"I am very happy now because before I did not know about all the different nutrients of the various products I was using to cook for my family."

“Thank you very much for this ancestral and digital gastronomic experience. Thanks to Master Martha for sharing her ancestral knowledge. To the teacher Cristina for her great cultural contributions… My family and I really enjoyed the evening and the delicious dish we prepared. Thanks to Kumé experiences for supporting these initiatives that enrich our Colombian diversity. We look forward to participating in new activities! Thank you and many successes."

Aura Serna, participant of Kumé

BACKGROUND

The main challenge is to provide a sustainable commercial platform for the products and services of rural Afro-descendant areas. Another challenge is to reach homes in urban areas in order to promote local, sustainable products and other cultural expressions of Afro-descendant rural communities.

WHAT’S INVOLVED

Training on nutrition
This platform promotes local products, encouraging the consumption of organic and artisan products. It strengthens food security in territories by encouraging the cultivation and consumption of indigenous products.

Culinary Demonstration Units
Each virtual cooking session seeks to promote the traditional knowledge of the cook, positioning and giving value to the ancestral knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation.

EXPLORE THIS SOLUTION

The Culinary Demonstration Units can offer:

  • Promotion of the consumption of sustainable local products through home-delivered kits; 
  • Technical and commercial strengthening of traditional cooks; and 
  • Visibility of traditional gastronomic practices in the territories.

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Countries involved

Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Benin.

Project partners

IFAD and Ministério de Cultura of Colombia

Project dates

2019-2020

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Summary 

Kumé is an IFAD-supported platform created by Fundación ACUA (Afro-descendant Cultural Assets Foundation). By commercializing gastronomic products and services that promote culture, traditional knowledge and local crops, ACUA enhances the visibility of rural Afro-descendant communities in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Through the platform, chefs in rural territories offer live online cooking classes for participants in major cities. Using traditional recipes, the chefs showcase their cultures, territories and traditional practices. 

Challenge/Problem 

Rural Afro-descendant communities have faced many challenges related to agricultural and culinary traditions, including: 

  • Poor appreciation of their cultures and traditional knowledge;
  • Low incomes in rural communities and a lack of knowledge about how to promote and commercialize local products; and
  • Few marketing opportunities because of territorial challenges (geographical distance, connectivity, conflict and others).

In addition to the mandatory confinement imposed by governments because of COVID-19, many communities have had to close down their restaurants, workshops and businesses, and stop fishing or farming, to prioritize everyone’s health. Because rural Afro-descendant communities normally sell their products in local markets and often depend on tourism, a sector that is currently closed in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, their incomes have been reduced. 

Solution 

Currently, two strategies are being implemented to guarantee income continuity of community businesses during mandatory confinement: the first is to promote sales of products from rural territories through home-delivery services to major cities like Bogota and Cali, coordinated by Fundación ACUA; the second is to create virtual spaces that allow rural people to share their cultures, cuisines, music and knowledge with customers in major cities. 

Thus far, 19 online sessions have been held, benefitting rural Afro-descendant women from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Benin. Most of them are heads of households as well as agricultural or culinary entrepreneurs who use local products. The women give online cooking classes for traditional dishes via Zoom, while Fundación ACUA is in charge of assembling and distributing kits with corresponding ingredients to participants’ homes in Bogota and Cali. Products for the kits are purchased directly from the communities and delivered to participants in cities. In addition, each session includes a local musical group and a technical or academic expert in charge of presenting the region’s socio-cultural context. 

Results 

  • ACUA has promoted traditional Afro-descendant practices in three countries in Latin America (Ecuador, Peru and Colombia) and one in Africa (Benin)
  • In Colombia, ACUA has promoted rural areas in:
  • The Caribbean region: San Andrés and Providence islands (Archipiélago); San Basilio de Palenque (Bolivar);
  • The Andean region: Tunja (Boyacá), Bogotá (Cundinamarca); and
  • The Pacific region: Nóvita (Chocó), Buenaventura (Valle del Cauca), Guapi (Cauca), Tumaco (Nariño).
  • The strategy has reached 1,257 people in 4 months, with participants from various regions of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Benin, the United States, Canada, France and Turkey. 
  • ACUA’s beneficiaries include:         
  • Eighteen women, mothers, cultural and social leaders;
  • Ten musical youth groups (mainly young men and women);
  • Ten local camera operators who promote cultural content production; and
  • Fourteen businesses based on sustainable and artisanal practices such as agriculture, fishing and transformation of raw materials into finished products
  • Participation in Kumé has presented an alternative source of income for locals who have had to close their restaurants or ecotourism services. 
  • This initiative promotes consumption of local foods, traditional crops and  sustainable products. 
  • The activity has been replicated by Colombia’s National Program of Workshop Schools, allowing for the exchange of regional culinary knowledge. 

Lessons Learned/Potential for replication 

This strategy promotes the cultural and natural wealth of rural territories and encourages rural people to value their traditional knowledge and pass it on to future generations. Likewise, the connections created between urban and rural areas generate social awareness through the support and consumption of local products. 

This experience-based strategy uses modern technology to create a dialogue about traditional knowledge. It also allows for intergenerational exchange and knowledge transfer among different regions. Not only can this strategy be applied to cultural and culinary practices in other regions (as is currently being done), but it can also be replicated with other trades such as gardening, ceramics, weaving and music.  

Next Steps 

ACUA seeks to become sustainable and reach thousands of homes while enhancing and valuing traditional knowledge and practices. In addition, it aims to continue promoting online knowledge exchange between adults and youth, including knowledge and traditions that coexist with traditional gastronomy and are associated with territorial identity. 

Solution Image

Ongoing Zoom cooking class

Image Author:Vanessa Vivero Martinez

Image Author:Vanessa Vivero Martinez

Solution Additional Resources

ACUA

Last update: 11/03/2021