The Home Improvement project seeks to ensure through a cooperative and supportive manner, access to quality housing for family farmers by raising awareness about the rural housing programs, mobilization and inclusion of farmers in the trade union and banking system, development of technical engineering projects and social work, submission of rural housing process to the financial agents, monitoring and inspections in the works progress, conducting activities from social project and performing post-occupancy survey.

 

 The "Home Improvement Visiting Day" gather a beneficiary group of rural housing and farmers interested in taking part on the next group. This activity is held at a beneficiary farmer home to mark the technical work closing and celebrate the new housing.

The project actions are performed by the Cooperhaf regional teams in partnership with the family farming unions from municipalities. Since 2004, just in Southern Brazil region, more than 32.000 family farms have been benefited from new housing construction or renovation.

  

 

A - General Information

 

START: 2004 (in progress)

EXECUTING AGENT: Housing Cooperative of Family Farmers - COOPERHAF

PARTNERS: Family Farmers Unions; Workers in Family Agriculture of the Southern Region Federation - Fetraf Sul/CUT; Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF); Banco do Brasil; Ministry of Cities - Federal Government

PRESENTED BY: Sandra Ravanello 

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Between U$15,000.00 and U$25,000.00

CATEGORY: Projects

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Socio-productive inclusion

KEYWORDS: Family Farming; Rural Development; National Programme for Rural Housing; Cooperhaf

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Southern Region

 

B - Practice Description

 

1 - BACKGROUND

The creation of an organization that could legally meet the farmers with the construction of new house and/or housing reforms arose from the lack of housing programmes to meet the thousands of families living in rural areas. There were financial resources for equipment, machinery and styes financing, but not for housing itself. The reality of housing was a huge challenge because there was no specific programme for farmers. All programmes and their rules, models and standards were defined and designed for the urban environment. Government officials (administrative and financial) did not know the differences between rural and urban housing. 

Over time family farmers demonstrated through union organization and mobilization, that having a house is also synonymous for citizenship in the field. In this perspective, in 2001 the Fetraf Sul/CUT created the Cooperhaf. Work began in Rio Grande do Sul and later we expanded the ​​operation area to Santa Catarina and Paraná. 

Between 2001-2009 the farmers were met through Letter of Credit Programme via CEF, Subsidy Programme for Social Housing (PSH) housing programmes via public and private banks, and to the Solidarity Credit Programme (Social Development Fund - FDS) via CEF.

By 2009 the federal government housing programs were able to build the house or reform the housing unit, that is, financial resources were destined for building materials purchase and hand labor. However, the cooperative had understood that besides the construction or renovation, to involve the family in other activities was important, encouraging the creation of vegetables gardens, orchards and gardens. That is, that the family had the worry of taking care of the house itself, but also take care of the beautification of the property, production for self consumption and also that participation in the process were for all family members.

In this perspective Cooperhaf, from 2004, aiming to meet higher quality and speed its members, developed a methodology called "Home Improvement".

 

2 - GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Ensuring access to quality housing for family farmers in a cooperatively and solidarity way as a fundamental component of dreams realization and family life project, the strengthening of family farming trade union organization and building a sustainable and shared development project.

Specific objectives:

• Plan and assist in the housing units construction for family farmers, granting to its members the exclusive use and enjoyment of the dwelling right;

• Make plans and projects to improve the dwellings of members;

• Promote culture in general, emphasizing cooperative principles;

• Train farmers creating farmer's residence alternatives in the field.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION 

The "Home Improvement" includes:

  • awareness among farmers about the programs;
  • preparation of technical projects of engineering and social work;
  • conducting internal and external trainings (staff, partners and beneficiaries);
  • mobilization and inclusion of farmers in the union system and banking;
  • conducting meetings with the discussion of various topics;
  • financial planning of the property;
  • construction of the dwelling;
  • monitoring after work completion.

Monitoring by the cooperative is made within one month after work is finished. For this, we have a local employees network (called municipal housing coordinators), assigned by local unions, who are regularly trained for the programmes operation.

The social project, part of the "Home Improvement", includes the steps of orientation/training on: organization, cooperatives and associations; building a healthy and sustainable environment and the financial and social management of the property. Matches from the first contact with the beneficiary family, home visits, meetings, training, lectures, workshops - with relevant topics to family farmers.

During the activities of the social project life stories, achievements and difficulties of overcoming everyday are presented. Working environmental issues, property management, gender relations, youth and elderly are of fundamental importance to families. Encourage the production of vegetable gardens, orchards and gardens is to rescue the sustainability of the property, for it to be self-sustainable and organic, seeking alternative production and income generation/aggregation. 

After the training activities (meetings, workshops), the "Day in the Property - Home Improvement". The activity brings together beneficiaries of a group of rural housing and family farmers interested in participating in next groups. This activity is done in a farmer residence to mark the end of the technical work on the properties and celebrate the new house.

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED 

From the implementation of the "Home Improvement" methodology in 2004 and with the information system (from 2006), there was greater flexibility in the delivery of rural housing processes and quality service to farmers, which allows to meet a greater number of families concurrently.

The coaching and internal training led the establishment of a qualified technical staff, standardization of processes and procedures, provided service to the farmer to the accounts, legal, administrative and financial activities.

There was a greater participation and involvement of farming families and professional associations at all stages of the procedure for access to rural housing programs. This resulted in a closer relationship with the federal government, with financial agents (Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil), with the unions of family farming and also with family farmers.

From 2004 to September 2014, through the rural housing programs of the federal government were signed more than 42,000 contracts in the States of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, Pernambuco, Ceará, Minas Gerais, Pará, Piauí, Maranhão and Rio Grande do Norte. We emphasize that from 2006 to mid-2010 the cooperative acted beyond the southern states, in over 9 states in the North, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest.

From 2010 the Cooperhaf returned to acting only in the South, where since 2004 have benefited more than 32,000 farming families with new home construction and/or housing reform. Of these, more than 11,000 farming families have benefited from the years 2010 and 2014, through "Minha Casa Minha Vida"/National Rural Housing Program for new home construction and/or housing reform.

The increase in the local economy should be noted, with generating and adding income by hiring labor, work place, due to the construction of principles adopted by the cooperative/families where the beneficiaries hire bricklayers at the municipal level and perform purchase of building materials in the proper city.

There is participation of all family members in the actions/activities that involve the "Home Improvement" methodology, with a significant increase in women involvement in the activities developed.

During its period of existence, the practice has achieved national and international recognition, and winning the following awards:

- WORLD HABITAT AWARDS 2008/2009, sponsored by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF); 

- INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR BEST PRACTICES OF DUBAI - certified as one of the best housing practices in the world, promoted by the United Nations (UN) in 2009;

It was also a finalist in the PRIZE FOUNDATION OF SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY OF BANCO DO BRASIL in 2009, competition sponsored by the Foundation Banco do Brasil, when it was recognized as a social technology. 

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

Minimum structure for composition of a public unit (office):

  • 01 unit coordinator/manager;
  • 01 civil engineer or urban planner architect;
  • 01 social worker;
  • 01 secretary;
  • 02 administrative assistants;
  • Legal and accounting advice;
  • Computers, printers;
  • 01 vehicle.

 

6 - TRANSFERS

Since its founding, the Cooperhaf operates in more than 320 cities in the three southern states, through the trade unions affiliated to family farming Fetraf Sul/CUT. Considering the 42,000 contracts signed in the period of 10 years, we identified that the transfer process has been going from one project to another, by carrying out the necessary adjustments to its implementation. 

Some entities during this period sought information from the Cooperhaf to the applied methodology replication, among them some cities, Banco do Brasil Foundation, Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil, but has not yet been possible to identify the complete application of this practice in the national territory.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

It is important to consider the importance of this practice in encouraging family to stay in rural areas, through the satisfaction in having a quality house. The beautification of the property using the "Home Improvement" methodology, which has as complementary actions the development of gardens, vegetable gardens and orchards for own consumption, it draws attention of community residents, making it an incentive tool to search for information and membership of new persons to housing programs.

In addition, it was proved to be extremely important to establish an effective partnership with the family farming unions that through the municipal housing coordinators, have direct contact between farmers and the cooperative.

The greatest difficulty faced by Cooperhaf during this period was the fact that until 2009 there was no specific housing program that could meet the farmers, or financial resources to the development of social project, which hampered the performance of activities with families. This difficulty was solved with "Minha Casa Minha Vida"/National Rural Housing Program creation in 2009. However, it should be noted that the National Rural Housing Program is not a permanent public policy, which may impair the operation of the program over the years, and the planning of new demands.

 

There is the possibility of visiting the practice by appointment at any time of year. 

Number of visitors: 01-10.

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