Ărramăt’s Commitment to Health & Safety:

“Solidarity is the primary care—we care for everyone. We will assist them with any questions they may have when they arrive.”

– Alejandro Argumedo, Ărramăt Co-Applicant, Asociación ANDES

The Ărramăt Team is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of all individuals involved in our project. We understand that this includes not only physical safety but also environmental, cultural, spiritual, mental, and social well-being.

Our project Team is a wealth of knowledge. We have consulted with a few of our Team members to gather their insights on promoting health and safety during research, travel, events, and other aspects of their projects. 

Ărramăt Health and Safety Resources:

 “You can prepare for summer or winter.”

– Alejandro Argumedo, Ărramăt Co-Applicant, Asociación ANDES

The Ărramăt Project has a wide range of diversity and Team Members located all around the world. Due to that, the environment varies. Therefore it is imperative to get acquainted and do research on the geographic location one may go, as well as the environment.

“We are suited to life on a mountain. The lower you go, the more oxygen there is, and the higher you go, the less oxygen there is. We’re talking about a territory that’s 3,500 to 4,500 feet above sea level, so most visitors get altitude sickness. It may take several days for many people to acclimate to the altitude difference. Some people believe that they will not be sunburned because there is no sun, but this is not true. If you are not from the area, you may have lung difficulties because the temperatures decrease in the mountains; for Indigenous peoples, this is not a concern, but for visitors, it may be.”

– Alejandro Argumedo, Ărramăt Co-Applicant, Asociación ANDES

Safety can be ethical, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Ărramăt Team is composed of many different people, cultures, traditions, environments, and more. When traveling to a new community or region, it is important to ensure that you are considerate of the people, customs, and history. When working with Indigenous communities, it must be understood that the work itself should not create risk and harm to the community. Many communities have had negative experiences with researchers, and trust needs to be established for meaningful work to take place. It is critical to be patient, understand how to behave in the region, build trust, and always be transparent.

“People have a very spiritual and sacred relationship with their environment, particularly food and water. When it comes to health, there is food that offers medical benefits in Indigenous communities. There are also seasonal items. And people in the community understand how to select various types of food based on the seasons; we understand how to consume food based on the seasons .” 

– Prasert Trakansuphakon, Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development

The interaction should be taken in a holistic view, and one should be aware of these components before embarking on any work with Indigenous communities.

Our project is highly collaborative, and one way to ensure good practice is communication with the Ărramăt Team Member that you are working with, so they can assist you in working with their community.

“Customs is really important… there are things that foreign cultures are unaware of… You have to look at the cultural values of the individual Peoples, they will be very different from place to place.”

– Jamie Watson, Ărramăt Team Member, Ko Moehau Ki Tai Project

When traveling to a new community or region, knowledge of existing protocols and policies is important to help determine and mitigate risks. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with what is already available and utilized in the area.

“We usually have a protocol in place where students bring their own health insurance. We have an agreement with a couple of medical clinics to offer students with care in the event of an emergency.”

– Alejandro Argumedo, Ărramăt Co-Applicant, Asociación ANDES

It is important to reach out to the people you will be working with, as they will have lived experience and knowledge that may be helpful to you. Seeking guidance from the community you are traveling to is also important to ensure that you understand risks, health, and safety from the community’s perspective.

It is recommended that, in addition to researching the place to which one is going, one also investigate the policies in the area that may propose what or not to do.

Other Recommendations: 

  1. Develop your own health and safety plan for your project, research, or other travel. You can use the Ărramăt Sample Risk Management Template as a guide. Spanish Version // French Version
  2. Develop a Cultural Safety Agreement
  3. Review Ărramăt’s Project Data Management Plan and ensure that you have a plan for keeping your data safe
  4. Familiarize yourself with the risks of the region you are traveling to
  5. Follow the requirements for travel for your region
  6. Know about the geographical location of the place, notably how far the next town or village would be, and know about safe points (police or government, hospitals) in the area
  7. Ensure that technological devices are backed up in case of emergency or in case of a need to communicate
  8. Watch and learn how the community members assess their own health and safety to then adapt to their considerations and plans
  9. Know the local laws and news that is happening in the area you are traveling to
  10. Be aware of local health situations
  11. Develop a plan for regular contact with your institution, colleagues, and family at home
  12. Learn some of the local language in case you need to communicate – write down specific phrases that may help
  13. Learn about Photography and Video Etiquette by reviewing the following Infographic 

Additional Resources:

This page was developed through interviews with the following Ărramăt Team Members:

Alejandro Argumedo
Asociación ANDES
Prasert Trakansuphakon
Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development
Jamie Watson
Ko Moehau Ki Tai Project

These interviews were conducted by Aminata Diallo as part of a capstone project with the African Leadership University.

This page could not have been developed without the hard work of all those involved.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Your survival guide to safe and healthy travel, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/survival-guide

[2] First Nations Health Authority, #itstartswithme FNHA’s Policy Statement on Cultural Safety and Humility, https://www.fnha.ca/documents/fnha-policy-statement-cultural-safety-and-humility.pdf

[3] Indigenous Guardians Toolkit, Risk Management Plan Example, https://www.indigenousguardianstoolkit.ca/community-resource/risk-management-plan-example

[4] University of Alberta, Field Activities Plan, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zs7wKiJzDvHTgYQlWfUiLqAUfulBJm7l-EU0eV7aTZ4/edit

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