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Social Responsability
Rio+20: Itaipu projects benefit 2 thousand of low-income families
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13/06/2012

Since 2003, Itaipu Binacional and several partners of the program “Cultivating Good Water” have managed to change the reality of populations in risk situations in the area of influence of the reservoir (Hydrographic Basin of Rio Paraná – Part 3). They are fishermen, indigenous and recyclable material collectors, totaling more than 2 thousand families helped.  The actions that benefit those communities are sheltered in the initiatives Fish Productions in our Waters, Sustainability of Indigenous Communities and Solidary Collection, that will be presented in several activities of Earth Conference, Rio +20, that will be carried out in Rio de Janeiro, between June 13th to 22nd.

In the segment of fishers, for example, Itaipu has managed to change the extractivist culture with the adoption of aquaculture (breeding of fish in tank-nets). In six municipalities of the region, fish started to be a part of the menu in the school meals. “The inclusion of fish in the school meals was possible thanks to a machine that separates the herringbones. The production of mechanically separated meat has already hit the 30 ton mark”, explains the manager of the project, Irineu Motter, from Itaipu.

In total, they are around 850 assisted fishermen, organized in seven colonies and two associations. Since 2003, Itaipu invested R$ 4,2 million in the project, which allowed the implantation of 550 tank-nets in the region. The researches carried out by Itaipu about the capacity of environmental support of the reservoir for this kind of activity resulted in the licensing, by Ibama, of the three first aqua parks in Brazil.

Indigenous

The cultivation of fish in tank-nets is also a practice that has been helping the improvement of the life conditions in the indigenous communities served by Cultivating Good Water. At Ocoy, for example, the 40 tank-nets respond by an annual production of 8 tons of fish. Itaipu and the other partners of the program support is also extended to the infrastructure (construction of houses and tarring of internal roads) and the improvements in agricultural and cattle breeding practices, by the acquisition of equipment for planting, inputs, animals and seeds, preparation of soil, support to the dairy cattle breeding, apiculture and technical assistance with indigenous and non-indigenous technicians.

In the three indigenous reservations (Tekoha Añetete, Tekoha Itamarã e Tekoha Ocoy), the families are followed and guided in the prevention treatment against child malnutrition, participating in courses and guidance for the use of food, medicinal and aromatic herbs. The sustainability reached in the communities has attracted many indigenous families from outside the region. In 2010 and 2011, in the reservations of Itamarã and Añetete, the number of families passed from 25 to 35 and from 45 to 73, respectively. Currently, the 3 communities shelter around 260 families (1300 people).

The ‘cacique’ (leader) of the Itamarã village, Isario Karai Mirin Popykua, born at Ocoy community, in São Miguel do Iguaçu, states that the conditions have improved a lot since 2004, when he first got to the village, where he still lives. Between leaving Ocoy in the 80’s, and the  return to West of Paraná state, he lived in Center West, in a land shared with the caingangue ethnicity. “There, we didn’t have access to agriculture and education like here. Neither the support we have to keep our traditions”, the community leader states.

In the opinion of the manager of the Division of Environmental Action of Itaipu, Marlene Curtis, the valuing of the culture and traditions of the Guarani is of great importance for the integrations of families and community. “Through the practices such as handcraft and the choir, the Guarani way of life is valued, constituting itself in the mainstay for the sustainability of the three communities".

Collectors

The actions of Itaipu, aimed at the recyclable material collectors have become a reference in the country.  A proof is that Itaipu is part of the Inter-ministry Committee for Social and Economic Inclusion of the Collectors, and acts, since 2008, in partnership with the National Movement of the Recyclable Material Collectors. In 2012, they formalized a new agreement with the Garbage and Citizenship Institute, to assist, besides the collectors of the region of Paraná Basin 3 (BP3), the Metropolitan Region of Curitiba and Paraná coast.

Another result is in the strengthening of the cooperatives and associations of the region, created with the support of Itaipu. The cooperative of Environmental Agents of Foz do Iguaçu (Coaafi), for example, approved a project along with the Ministry of Labor (MTE) to invest in the capacitation of self-employed collectors of the region, The cooperative also approved a project along with BNDES (government owned bank for funding), for the acquisition of equipment.

In all 29 municipalities that are part of BP3, there are around one thousand collectors assisted by the project, organized in 25 associations and 3 cooperatives. Another result of the project is in the creation of an electric vehicle, for the transport of materials collected by the collectors. Through a covenant with the national movement of the category, 150 cars were donated, and are being tested in many cities of the country (the model is being exhibited in Eletrobras stand, at Parque dos Atletas, during Rio+20).

“The role of Itaipu is to be a strengthening of the associations and cooperatives, so they can be capacitated, able to elaborate projects and access resources, and are hired by the public municipal authority. This way, the collectors value themselves as politic subjects and service providers in their respective municipalities”, says Luiz Carlos Matinc, manager of the Coleta Solidária (Solidary Collectin) program.

Young Gardener

Another initiative of the “Cultivating Good Water” that benefits low-income people is the Young Gardener program. “It is about an educational project, that has already graduated 229 young people through theoretic-practical workshops, structured around three axes: promotion of the community sustainability, environmental preservation and aware consumption, and a life and career plan. The project prepares young people for the world of labor, looking to develop competences for the team work, social entrepreneurship, the exercise of autonomy and citizenship”, the manager of the program, Vinícius Ortiz de Camargo, sums up.