For two decades we’ve focused our work in Manu Biosphere of Peru’s Amazon Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and global diversity hotspot. Take a look!
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From the time she found her way to an indigenous village in the Peruvian Amazon during a trip to “access a deeper knowing” in her life in 1999, this former Los Angeles fashion and advertising photographer’s commitment to improving the health of children and families in the Manu Biosphere Reserve and National Park has only grown stronger.
Nancy’s can-do spirit, positivity, love of nature, and seeing the good in people, are the heartbeat of Rainforest Flow. They are the driving force that has guided the organization’s vision for more than 20 years.
After piloting a successful 5-year culturally integrated water, sanitation, health, and technical and vocational training programs in the indigenous village of Huacaria, Nancy scaled and replicated the program in three additional communities.
Under Nancy’s guidance, Rainforest Flow has positively impacted the health of three generations of indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
She attributes much of her perseverance to lessons learned from her daily paper route and growing up after school at the Girls Club of America in Bristol, Connecticut, the generosity of mentors along the way, and the love of her close-knit Italian family.
Nancy’s sights are now set on building a permanent physical home for The Rainforest Flow WASH Education + Research Center (WERC) in the rainforest. The Center will be a gathering place for indigenous people to learn and share information, to become stewards of the health of their communities and environment.
Nancy spends half of her life in the rainforest and most of the rest collaborating with donors, community organizations, anthropologists, health experts, engineers, and technology partners to realize this Center, and her dream to help tens of thousands of indigenous people gain access to life-giving human services.
A Peruvian board member, master builder, hydraulic expert, and self-taught engineer, Caleb’s love of indigenous rainforest cultures and his keen workmanship are the foundation for all our projects.
Caleb has spent more than 30 years building and supervising water and sanitation projects throughout Peru. He is responsible for all of Rainforest Flow’s construction and technical and vocational training programs and spends about 10 months each year in the field working with indigenous communities and our collaborative partners around the world.
Dr. Shepard’s work focuses on the indigenous peoples of the Amazon with special attention on shamanism, medicinal plants, and traditional environmental knowledge.
A researcher in Indigenous Ethnology at the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Belém, Brazil, Dr. Shepard has been a consultant for Rainforest Flow since 2003. He speaks 11 languages, including Matsigenka, and has done fieldwork with indigenous and tribal in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Dr. Shepard has published more than 100 scientific papers and also made a number of prize-winning documentary films.
Dr. Izquierdo has been a consultant and guiding force of our team since 2004. She is a world-renown expert on the Matsigenka people in the Peruvian Amazon, the Mapuche in Chile as well as middle-class American families. Dr. Izquierdo's continuous research provides important insights into improving the health and well-being of people around the world.
Moises Mera Barrios is a respected Peruvian Sanitary Engineer with over 25 years of professional experience in both the private and public sectors. He specializes in potable drinking water systems and sanitary waste disposal for rural areas and native communities, with specific detail to sustainability, community participation, technologies, investments, economic efficiency, social equity, and conservation of the environment.
In 2004, Moises joined Rainforest Flow to collaborate with US environmental engineer Humphrey Blackburn, a slow sand filter expert, to design and supervise the building of our water and sanitation infrastructure. Moises’ low-tech approach and keen ability to work with and understand the needs of indigenous rainforest cultures make him a valued member of our team.
Prof. Douglas W. Yu is an ecologist who conducted research on ethnoecology and people-park conflicts, the evolution of symbiosis and microbiomes, the development of spatial models of species coexistence, and the use of metabarcoding to census biodiversity at large scales. Much of this research was carried out in Manu Park over a period of 20 years. Extensively published, Dr. Yu holds faculty positions at the University of East Anglia in the UK and at the Kunming Institute of Zoology, in China. He is co-founder of the firm NatureMetrics, which provides DNA-based biodiversity assessment services to industry and government.
Dr. Cabada is our consulting tropical disease expert. He directs and oversees health monitoring and disease control of our programs.
The Director of a Collaborative Research Center in Cusco Perú, specializing in tropical diseases and diagnostics for parasitic infections. Dr. Cabada holds appointments at both Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
He has experience conducting community-based interventions and has published extensively about infectious diseases and tropical neglected parasites.
Responsible for office administration, purchasing and logisitics, Edgar joined Rainforest Flow in 2003. Born and raised in Cusco, Perú, Edgar has a bachelor's degree in tourism from the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco, Peru and speaks three languages.
Marilyn Immitt has been a successful entrepreneur for over 40 years. She has owned, operated, and managed various businesses, including a bookkeeping service, a nutritional/wellness franchise, and a construction company. She was also a rancher and thoroughbred breeder for many years. Most recently she has been involved in the healing arts. Her range of experience and desire to be in service to others makes her an asset to Rainforest Flow. Marilyn is an avid environmentalist and is passionate about bringing clean water to families in Peru. She has served on our board since 2005.
Beverly Hills realtor, CEO at Rothschild Productions, Rothschild Interiors, and The Rothschild Collection, author and renaissance man, internationally renowned interior and furniture designer Judson Rothschild has been contributing his business management and design and execution expertise to Rainforest Flow programs as a board member since 2004.
We deliver clean, safe water to indigenous people in rainforest villages. We capture the water from natural springs and purify it using rock and sand filters in portable geomembrane treatment tanks. Where topography permits, we distribute water by gravity feed to homes, schools, and health posts. In flatter terrain, we build rainwater harvesting systems to supply safe water.
We provide ongoing technical training to the village Water + Sanitation Committees (W+S). In time, villagers learn to maintain, repair, and expand their water and sanitation systems on their own, guaranteeing the sustainability of the program. Community members also learn to monitor water quality using the Hach portable microbiology lab, which helps to ensure safe drinking water.
W+ S Committee members and families work with us to gather rock, sand, wood, and other natural materials from forests and rivers. Together we build durable, practical sinks at homes and village schoolhouses. The sinks are built with underground greywater drains to avoid environmental contamination. We teach families and schoolchildren how to maintain their sinks and drains.
We build eco-friendly bathrooms with biodigester waste management tanks that do not contaminate the ecosystem. School bathrooms are well ventilated, easy to clean, and have separate sides for boys and girls. We are now piloting individual household bathrooms using the same technology.
We provide hygiene education, coronavirus prevention, and health monitoring to village families and schoolchildren. Community members who take a special interest in our program are trained as Health Promoters who monitor health and hygiene in their villages and share information with nearby villages.
Our health and anthropology team conducts baseline studies to monitor long-term health and social impacts. We track parasites, anemia, malnutrition, and gastrointestinal diseases before and after our intervention. This data helps us to measure health outcomes, adapt our programs, and inform health and government agencies.