Since October 2015, Minga has been working with the community of Carrazedo in North Brazil to construct a clean water system and revitalize an açai orchard. The project will provide an economic alternative to logging, which is the dominant industry in the region.
Carrazedo is a small and very remote riverside community of quilombola people, descendants of runaway African slaves. After two centuries of isolation, discrimination, and government neglect, they face extraordinary challenges to their health and well-being.
Our partners in Carrazedo reached a huge milestone at the end of last year.
They formalized their first ever community association, ARQDVC. Although the community has long used collective labor and informal governance to advance their shared goals, this sets in place a new era for community self-development. It’s been a real inspiration to work through this process alongside the people of Carrazedo and to see how careful and thoughtful they have been about transparency and the inclusion of all community members.
This year, ARQDVC has worked to maintain the clean drinking water system and the community açaí grove that they established in 2016 and 2017. However, three new projects are underway:
- writing their own grant to a major international funder;
- expanding and diversifying the açaí grove so they can get a broader range of products from it; and
- conducting pilot projects of sustainable technologies (e.g. biogas digestors and solar panels) to test possibilities on a small scale before embarking on large and costly projects.
In the current political and ecological context in Brazil—where the new presidential administration has threatened to take indigenous and quilombo land, and where the Amazon is threatened by a new wave of colonization and deforestation—this type of community empowerment is more important than ever. We are excited for this next year of working with ARQDVC to build ecologically-sustainable and community-sustaining projects together.