MAPU Association is a non-profit organization registered in Madrid, Spain and with headquaters in Esquel, in the Chubut province of the Argentine Patagonia. Its establishment can be attributed to the evolution of a set of ideas (originally called the Mapu Project) to support the local people of the Patagonian Region, in the face of actions of multinational corporations and large businesses.
The case of the successful resistance of the people from Esquel, which started in 2002, against an open-pit, metalliferous mining mega project with cyanide leaching, being undertaken by a Canadian company a few kilometers away from the city, is our inspiration and the proof that the determination of communities can shape our future.
MAPU means earth in Mapuzungun, the language of the Mapuche natives, the people of the earth. While the projects and actions of MAPU Association target both Mapuche and non-Mapuche communities of the region, we chose to name our organisation after this word in Mapuzungun because the earth is the beginning and the essence of endogenous, self-managed, sustainable development and the linkage between the people of the earth and their ‘Mapu’ is a true inspiration.
The main objective of MAPU is to support projects geared towards micro-enterprise and economic solidarity, educational and cultural development, environmental education and protection and the promotion of the Mapuche language and identity; it also seeks to defend the right of the natives to occupy their ancestral lands and to promote international cooperation.
The MAPU Association is, by and large, a volunteer organization; that’s to say, it does not have salaried personnel and all its activities are executed by on-the-ground and virtual volunteers, and by both MAPU members and external partners. The MAPU family is made up of people from Argentina, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Costa Rica, United States…, and continues to grow slowly but steadily.
Currently, MAPU is financed exclusively by membership fees and the administration costs of volunteers of Patagonia. Since it has no salaried staff or expenses, practically all contributions of members and volunteers are channelled towards development projects in the region.
MAPU is an open organization and welcomes the participation and solidarity of any person who shares our philosophy