Ecam Social Projects works in the direct implementation of programs and activities with local communities and groups, testing and executing actions that enable practical and sustainable development solutions.
Since 2002, Ecam has been working in projects that value traditional peoples and environmental conservation. With its multidisciplinary team, it acquired, over the years, extensive experience in social work that collaborates for the development of a more just and sustainable society.
We know that our country is one of the biggest beneficiaries of world cultural and natural wealth and also a country that can become a reference in sustainable development. For this reason, we believe that conserving the environment goes beyond combating fires, illegal logging or even predatory hunting and fishing – solutions in social development combined with environmental balance are necessary to change the current reality.
Ecam Social Projects works with policies and actions, aligned with new technologies, promoting the traditional peoples’ autonomy and the conservation of the environment. For more than 15 years working side by side with these populations, Ecam implements projects that encourage autonomous territorial management and productive and sustainable management of natural resources – a way to preserve the environment and still enable communities to have a promising and sustainable future.
Themes that drive the work of Ecam Social Projects:
Over these years, Ecam Social Projects has acquired extensive experience in the use of digital instruments, such as ODK, Google Earth, mapping, geoprocessing, data collection, and analysis, providing forest communities with fair opportunities for development and protection of their environment. And for these and other actions to be provided, we count on the support of several partners who believe in the potential for sustainable development in the Amazon.
Integrated Management in the Amazon – Sustainable Territories Program
The Sustainable Territories Program believes that it is possible to ensure that people in the Amazon region have fair conditions for development and opportunities for a better life, respecting the characteristics of each community. Today, the Program operates in the Amazon region of western Pará, known as Calha Norte (Portuguese for North Channel). The municipalities of Oriximiná, Terra Santa and Faro face situations of growing economic inequality and a scenario of complex interactions.
In this context, three social organizations – Imazon, Ecam and Agenda Pública – with the support of Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – came together to think of integrated strategies that could collaborate with the local development in a sustainable manner, including the resident populations and public authorities. Acting in a systemic manner, it is expected to contribute to reducing the economic dependence of mining in the region in the medium term.
The Sustainable Territories Program operates in an integrated manner in five areas: Public Management, Social Capital, Quilombola, Economic Development and Environment. These areas were raised as a priority based on the diagnosis of territory and guide the work of the three organizations for the next 15 years. The Program was built as a model that can be implemented in several territories in the Amazon that face similar challenges.
Responsibilities of the five areas: Public Management: Support to municipal public management through the creation of collaborative arrangements that contribute to the implementation of more efficient public policies, increasing the population's access to quality public services. Social Capital: Support to communities and leaders in their organization, seeking to improve their participation in conferences and council meetings. The objective is to help the population to exercise their rights and duties Economic Development: Support for the development and improvement of the economy through the developed productive chains (such as Brazil nuts, copaiba [Copaifera langsdorffii], fishing, furniture, wood, livestock, agriculture, tourism) and potentialities in each municipality, considering the conservation of protected areas and the preservation of traditional cultures. Environmental Management: Direct support to the environmental departments to guarantee conservation, licenses for new activities in the municipalities and the Rural Environmental Registry (RER). Quilombola: Support to quilombola communities in their organization. The objective is to strengthen their organizations, their governance and community management by promoting planning workshops, training, meetings and reunions that enhance the performance of their organizations in the relationship processes with other actors in the region and their community planning.
The expansion of Sustainable Livestock to the municipalities of Prainha, Monte Alegre and Santarém arose from the consolidation of the Green Livestock project, carried out in Paragominas, which serves as a model for other initiatives, such as the project implemented in the municipality of Oriximiná, through Sustainable Territories Program, which proved that the project, in addition to being a viable alternative, is a safe investment that allows not only the increase in productivity in smaller areas (capacity/hectares) but also the high esteem of cattle breeders and the socio-environmental gain.
The project aims to discuss with cattle breeders in the municipalities of Baixo Amazonas (Prainha, Monte Alegre and Santarém) the adoption of practices aimed at increasing productivity, improving human and animal life conditions, recovering degraded areas and preserving springs. The initiative reconciles the technical guidelines and changes in habits that make livestock seen in a sustainable and profitable way.
The initiative is carried out by Ecam PS, with financial support from the Swedish Rainforest Preservation Association (Regnskogsforeningen), and in partnership with the government and social organizations such as the Municipal Secretariat of Production of Prainha (Semup), Union of Rural Producers of Monte Alegre (Sinpruma), and Santarém Rural Union.
Since 2007, the New Technologies and Traditional Peoples Program has been supporting indigenous peoples, quilombolas and small producers in the implementation of their practices related to the sustainable use of their territories, through activities that involve training actions, where knowledge is shared for the use of tools and support for field activities and data collection.
The objective of the program is to promote the use of accessible and free Google tools, such as Google Earth, ODK and YouTube. These technologies can support practices related to the management of territories and give visibility to the stories and demands of communities.
The material is the product of a long-term collaboration between Google Earth Solidário, the Amazon Conservation Team (Ecam) and several communities that have been involved over these 12 years of work. This initiative also includes partners Metareilá Association of Surui Indigenous People (Gamebey), Association of Ethno–Environmental Defense Kanindé, Association of Quilombola Remnants – ARQMO, National Coordination for Articulation of Quilombola Black Rural Communities – CONAQ, Natura and the United States Agency for International Development USAID.
The head of the Paiter Suruí people in the state of Rondônia, in Brazil, visited Google Earth and contacted the Google Earth Solidário team. His goal was to seek support from Google Earth for Surui’s mapping needs for environmental and cultural preservation. That’s how the project started. Since 2007, the project has grown to more than thirty traditional communities living in the Amazon area. Here, in collaboration with Ecam, we provide the training materials that were used to start the community’s own mapping.
From 2018, with the growth of the New Technologies Program, the need for a deployment was realized. That was how we started what we now consider a second phase of the program, known as the Sharing Worlds Program. In this new phase, the program aims to assist communities in analyzing the data collected so that they can understand the applicability of this information and plan strategic use, according to their demands and needs.
Currently, the program is in more than 30 traditional communities living in the Amazon area. The aim will always be to strengthen communities with tools that can further support their autonomy. To this end, Ecam has the support of Google Earth Solidário, the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, and the partnership of associations such as the Association of Quilombola Remnants – ARQMO and the National Coordination for Articulation of Quilombola Black Rural Communities – CONAQ.
UNI is a hub connecting the peoples of the Amazon area to each other and to the world.
UNI seeks to give voice to the inhabitants of the forest, strengthening and helping them to preserve it, as well as fostering a respectful relationship with those who care for Brazil’s greatest heritage.
Why the Amazon?
The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and occupies more than 60% of the Brazilian territory, but 20% of its area has already been deforested. Studies indicate that if the forest loses another 5% of this territory, the desertification process will be irreversible. In addition to the richness of its biodiversity, the Amazon rainforest is responsible for regulating the rain regime in the eastern Andes. The loss of the forest and the climatic balance it creates is a path of no return. When you lose it, you also lose a diversity of knowledge that would be important for building a sustainable future on the planet. Today this treasure is in the hands of the peoples of the Amazon. Especially indigenous and quilombola peoples and riverside dwellers.
The guardians of the forest live in harmony with nature and struggle to keep it upright, but are never heard. Because of the wealth of their territories, they are under more pressure than ever. These peoples are threatened and, with them, the Amazon rainforest.
What can be done?
There are many initiatives in favor of the forest and its inhabitants – associations, startups, independent entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, companies, institutes, and NGOs do this very well. However, the synergy between these various actions is very low, in general, isolated from each other and without direct connection with the other residents of the region. For this reason, creating channels of contact between those who live in the Amazon or those who are outside and are concerned with the biome is urgent.
How does UNI work? UNI has 3 areas of action Area 1 – Communication: UNI has a content page about the peoples of the Amazon produced jointly with the communities. There will be videos, photos and texts with stories from each place, projects, cultural data and their struggles. With the exchange of content, bonds of empathy are created. Knowledge and wisdom are shared, increasing synergy between the various communities and between them and institutions working in the region. Training workshops for content production and posting on the network will be given when requested, always within the limits of our ability to attend. Area 2 – Connection: Through UNI, people who do not know each other will be able to exchange experiences related to their work, create partnerships, dialogue with entrepreneurs who work in the forest to find new opportunities and increase their economic potential. UNI will pay special attention to the visibility of crowdfunding campaigns, community projects, startups seeking funding and entrepreneurs working in the forest economy chain. The objective is that the exchanges and connections provided by UNI can be, in addition to a source of knowledge, an instrument of mobilization. Area 3 – Knowledge: We promote the exchange of knowledge through workshops, exchanges and distance learning between peoples, institutions, private companies and people outside the Amazon. The UNI platform will also have information on films, series, books, exhibitions and events, all indicated by the UNI community. In 2018, O2 Films and Ecam were together, with the support of USAID, in the first phase of the project (Quilombola Phase).
The projects that Ecam Social Projects had with the Fundo Vale (Portuguese for Vale Fund) had the objective of impacting the socio-environmental vision of the citizens of the State of Rondônia and establishing synergies for sustainable development in the State. The work developed by Ecam SP and partners in Rondônia focused on strengthening traditional communities and improving the quality of life with operations in the traditional territory, with attention to external actors, Ecam SP expanded its actions beyond the territory, understanding that the internal and external actors are important to achieve effective and lasting results.
The project had four components that included preparatory actions for participatory dialogue in order to achieve sustainable development in Rondônia and had the participation of several partners such as Kanindé, Idesam, ICV, Ibam, Agenda Pública, Aliança da Terra, University of Florida, Forest Trends and Imazon.
Each component of the project had the purpose of preparing sectors of society to dialogue jointly in the construction of a state public policy that fostered the actions of Municipal Social and Environmental Management at the level of the Municipality. Below are the project structuring components.
01 – Strengthening of Environmental Governance in the Ethno-Environmental Corridors and stimulating income generation;
02 – Strengthening of Social Capital and Multisectorial dialogue;
03 – Collaborative and Responsible Municipal Management; and
04 – Articulation of Public Policy for Municipal Management in the State of Rondônia.
ECAM was the beneficiary of financial assistance from the Amazon Fund in the Capacitar para Conservar (Portuguese for Training to Conserve) project, which benefited community members from the surrounding area or from Conservation Units – UCs – and their environmental managers. With the training, articulated groups were formed that worked on conservation strategies. The project held six Forest Ranger Courses and 02 Master’s Courses, certifying 128 and improving 38 new Forest Rangers, respectively, with a total of 166 individuals.
The course had 201 class hours and 22 days. Topics such as Legislation, Cartography, GPS, Communication, Basic Life Support, Radiocommunication, Protected Areas, Trails, Monitoring, Fauna and Flora, Surveillance and Rescue were discussed. The contents addressed the management challenges experienced in the community. One of the stages of the course was developed in CU, as an example the ES (Ecological Station) of Jari, in this case, focusing on practical activities.
In terms of innovation, two Master’s Courses were held: “Forest Ranger: Exchanges of Experiences for Territorial Management”. This training involved trained rangers and managers with 56 classroom hours and 70 hours in Distance Education format. Both moments included the strengthening of concepts and the elaboration of a strategic conservation plan for the students’ region of experience. Ecam and partners celebrate with the publication “Looks and Dialogues for Territorial Management: Training of Community Forest Rangers for the Conservation in Protected Areas”, project experience.