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  • Activism and community leadership

    DATE: 07/20/2018

    Published by: Norberto Odebrecht Foundation

    Sharing knowledge. It’s based on this thought that, at the Rural Family Homes – educational institutions supported by the Odebrecht Foundation based on the Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS) – children and teenagers are encouraged to strengthen their bonds with their communities. Through Multiplier Actions, they take the knowledge acquired at school to an increasing number of people, fostering growth in the Baixo Sul region of Bahia. And, for some, this was the door of entry for more active participation through dialogue with community associations in the regions where they live.

    In 2018, the former student of CFR-PTN participated in a meeting with Governor Rui Costa to showcase his work.

    “My work in the association started soon after I joined the Rural Family Home in 2014. When we join, we, the youth, are seen as an example,” says Alisson dos Santos Costa, 20.A former student of the Rural Family Home of Presidente Tancredo Neves (CFR-PTN), he joined the Association of Farmers of the Community of Bom Jesus do Putumuju (Abonje), in the city of Teolândia (BA), when he was still a student. Since then, he has played such an active role that in 2016, other members elected him president.

    “I started to learn new agricultural techniques and practices, learning at school and bringing them to the region,” he recalls from the period he was a student at CFR-PTN between 2014 and 2016. “I took an interest in helping people to realize their dreams. When I reached the third year, I realized I could do more.” With about 50 members, Abonje mainly advocates issues related to improving the quality of life in the region, as well as infrastructure and income for rural producers. “We now have an agricultural project in partnership with the Government of Bahia to raise cage-free chicken, and we received 20 facilities,” explains Alisson, who in May 2018, participated in a meeting with state governor Rui Costa to showcase the work conducted by the Association he presides.

    Changing lives

    Ivanete dos Santos Palma, 23, former student of the Rural Family Home of Igrapiúna (CFR-I), followed a similar path. After joining the institution in 2013, she decided to join the Association of Small Rural Producers of Capoeira, in the city of Ituberá, Bahia.

    It was at CFR-I that Ivanete discovered a way to help her community.

    “I always had the desire to engage myself in social actions, but didn’t know where to start,” she says. In this desire to do “something different” for the place where she lives, she was encouraged by the monitors at CFR-I. “That was when we had the idea to implement projects in the region,” she says. Within the association, we’ve been working with reforestation and implementation of school gardens “to ensure better nutrition for children,” she explains. In the future, she wants to set up in the community, spaces such as a movie theater and a library.

    Reinaldo Santana dos Santos, 17, is still at school. A 2nd year student at the Agroforestry Family Home (Cfaf), his routine includes incentive to engaged participation in his community. He is currently a member of the Association of Small Producers of Beira Rio, in the city of Nilo Peçanha, Bahia. The Association started operating in 1998 and closed down in 2013. Since then, according to the student, the advances made and benefits achieved by the association gradually declined.

    This year, the local population came together once again, which was when Reinaldo decided to participate. “I saw that the association was important for the population. I want the region to continue to develop further so that producers can acquire fresh knowledge. Without the general support of an association, the community cannot move forward,” he emphasizes. Today, the biggest challenge facing the association is getting the legal permits and attracting new members. Reinaldo, however, is confident: “I’ll continue to help my community as I’ve been learning at the Family Home.”

    At the age of 17, Reinaldo realized the role an association plays in obtaining improvements for his region.

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