Melania Silvestre Canales Poma

Vice President of the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP)


Melania Canales is the current Vice President of the National Organization of Indigenous and Amazonian Women in Peru (ONAMIAP). Born in the Andean province of Lucanas, Ayacucho, Ms. Canales leads the capacity-building program of ONAMIAP, focusing on women’s representation within and outside their communities, and has represented them internationally in several of the United Nations Climate Conference meetings.


Thanks to her work, many indigenous communities have modified their internal regulations, allowing women to participate in decision making, acquire land tenure and become community representatives. Ms. Canales has held leadership positions for the last 20 years: at communal, regional and national levels. She has been involved in the design of land titling projects funded by the Inter American Development Bank, advocating for a gender equity perspective to prevent institutional exclusion of women.


Her goal is to boost knowledge and full exercise of women’s and indigenous peoples’ rights, to empower the younger generations and to acknowledge traditional indigenous culture in the public global decisions.