Community Empowerment Network Programs
Our Jua Community-Based Tourism Project
incorporates our growing experience strengthening basic skills and mindsets that form a strong foundation for self-reliant communities, along with a multi-faceted approach to fostering community-based eco-tourism
. This project works with a group of 16 small communities near the city of Santarém
, in the Brazilian Amazon. The region currently lacks a vehicle for the local populations to participate in decision-making on behalf of their communities. This results in “outsiders” gaining control over the communities’ resources.
Our primary objective is to increase community livelihood and family income through Community-based tourism on a sustainable basis without abandoning their unique life styles and culture.Our Suruacá Entrepreneur Project
helps aspiring micro-entrepreneurs in one Brazilian Amazon community strengthen essential skills and learn to better manage resources and in order to produce and sell products, increasing family income and self-sufficiency. Entrepreneurs will also establish a local Entrepreneur Group to provide each other advice and encouragement,.
Our Couro Ecològico
project provides vital income to many residents of another Brazilian Amazon community. Our role is to expand the distribution of these goods in the U.S. market by locating retailers and distributors. We strive to serve as an essential connection between the industrialized and the unindustrialized, a connection that provides the services Brazilian communities need to become self-sustaining and successful.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Jua Community-Based Tourism Project
team has led extensive community mobilization efforts and has already resulted in the foundation of a comprehensive regional development plan developed BY THE RESIDENTS of the region.
Through our mentoring, community leaders established a regional association in order to coordinate the implementation of the plan. This is an important step since it will greatly improve the communities’ ability to negotiate with government agencies, and secure funding for specific projects. We have begun assisting the communities to organize working groups to coordinate and promote 10 development areas, such as infrastructure, product production, funding, and the environment.
Other accomplishments of this project include community beautification in which, every year, the youth group decides on at least one community beautification project. These efforts have increased civic pride and helped organize the community. As a result of community organizing, for example, the annual patron saint festival in Cucurunã has become an annual event attracting an increasing number of visitors from the region, and the city of Santarém
. The festival has resulted in increased civic pride and a bump in income for vendors. It has also demonstrated to residents of the region of what they can accomplish.
Our next phase will focus on the execution of the regional development plan, including building the capacity of the residents to manage the plan and create local micro-enterprises, such as local food production and tourist services, to serve the needs of visitors. Your support is urgently needed to allow us to build upon the project’s excellent momentum.