The Sustainability of Indigenous Communities Project aims to promote sustainable livelihood to Guarani indigenous communities Tekoha Ocoy in São Miguel do Iguaçu and Tekoha Añetete and Tekoha Itamarã, both in Diamante D'Oeste. The actions are carried out in an integrated and cooperative way, evolving indigenous communities and public and private bodies through the Ava Guarani Steering Committee. 

 


The ITAIPU actions are carried out in three villages and directed towards reinforcing the interactive process between indigenous and non-indigenous, from the population demands. This form of action constitutes the main result achieved by the project and, despite the challenging environment, it is through it that the actions of infrastructure, agricultural production, food security and nutrition, strengthening and visibility of the Guarani culture and fostering partnerships are implemented.

 

 

A - General Information

 

START: September 2003 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: ITAIPU Binacional

CO-EXECUTING ENTITIES: Municipal Council of São Miguel do Iguaçu and Municipal Council of Diamante D’Oeste

PARTNERSHIPS: Non-indigenous stakeholders: Public Attorneys Office, Centre of Operational Support of the Public Prosecutor of the Protection of Indigenous Communities – CAOP, Biolabore, Support Centre for Small-scale Farmers – CAPA, National Health Foundation/Special Indigenous Health Secretariat – FUNASA/SESAI, Special Secretariat of Community Relations, Indigenous Affairs of the Government of the State of Paraná – SERC, Ñandeva Programme, Cooperative of Handicrafts of the West and South-west of Paraná – COART, Regional Education Centre of Iguassu Falls and Toledo, National Indian Foundation – FUNAI, Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of Paraná – EMATER, Brazilian Institute of Environment – IBAMA and the Environmental Institute of Paraná – IAP, Indigenous Health – SESAI and the Child Pastoral.

Indigenous stakeholders: Indigenous Community Association of the Tekoha Itamarã – ACITI, Indigenous Community Association of the Tekoha Añetete – ACITEA, Association of the Ocoy Community – ACICO, Association Leaders, Political (Caciques) and Religious (Chamoys), Indigenous State Schools

PRESENTED BYMarlene Curtis

RESOURCES: Own and third-party resources

COST RANGE: Over USD 25 thousand

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Socio-productive inclusion

KEY WORDS: ITAIPU Binacional; Cultivating Good Water; indigenous; Guarani; Management Committee; Agriculture; Infrastructure; Food Security; Culture;

TARGET PUBLIC: Indigenous communities

LOCATION: Indigenous areas

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Micro regional (municipalities of São Miguel do Iguaçu and Diamante D'Oeste, in the state of Paraná, Brazil, Brazil)

SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION AREA: Tekoha Ocoy indigenous community (São Miguel do Iguaçu) and the Tekoha Itamarã and Tekoha Añetete communities (Diamante D'Oeste).

 

   

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

During the construction of the Itaipu Hydroeletric Plant, prior to formation of the lake, the National Indian Foundation - FUNAI located and registered 19 indigenous families (71 individuals) who made up the community of Jacutinga, in an area of 30 hectares. Once the lake was formed with the technical and financial support of ITAIPU Binacional and the consent of the FUNAI and Indian protection entities, these families were transformed to the then newly-created Ocoy Indigenous Reservation, in 1982, with an area of 250 hectares.

In 1997, when the number of families had increased to 74, Itaipu complied with indigenous vindications and acquired 1744 hectares in the Municipality of Diamante D'Oeste and transferred 32 families to this location. This led to the formation of the Tekohá Añetete village, considered by anthropologists and by the indians themselves as being ideal for a settlement.

A few years later, many families of the Ava Guarani culture who lived in Paraguay migrated to their land of origin, which is quite common in this culture. Consequently, the population in the Ocoy reservation rose to 128 families and the available space was, again, not large enough to meet the needs of the new communities.

After some articulations from the indians and negotiations between ITAIPU Binacional and the FUNAI, an area of 242 hectares was acquired and granted to create the new village in February 2007, called Itamarã. Currently, there are 3 reservations in the Paraná III Basin: Ocoy, with 250 hectares; Añetete, with 1744 hectares; and Itamarã, with 242 hectares. 

The Sustainability of Indigenous Communities project, founded in 2003, was created to reinforce and extend the previously executed actions.

 

2- OVERALL GOAL

To create conditions to sustain the Guarani way of life in the three attended communities (Ocoy, Añetete and Itamarã) by ensuring and strengthening the ethnic identity and valuing the Guarani traditions in all aspects. The idea is to give the indigenous communities the autonomy to live their way, with an appropriate community infrastructure, good health conditions and education, and the highest possible level of self-sufficiency in the production of food.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

To oversee project execution, the Ava Guarani Management Committee was created and formed by representatives of Itaipu, town councils, indigenous communities, governmental organs, universities and NGOs. The committee provides the ideal setting for reflection, planning and the integrated execution of community actions.

The committee meets three times a year, on average, and holds monthly meetings with the team that implements the actions discussed by the Ava Guarani Management Committee and those defined in the agreements that Itaipu has with the municipal councils of São Miguel and Diamante D’Oeste. The actions are also discussed and agreed during the annual gatherings of the Cultivating Good Water programme.

In recent years, the following lines of action have been structured:

a) infrastructure improvements, with the construction of houses with electricity, water and sewage systems according to the model approved by the indians, and the construction of handicraft and nutrition centres, prayer houses and roadworks (gravelling);

b) reinforcement and promotion of the Guarani culture, by means of handicraft, basket making, clay work and timber work courses, and the appreciation of music and dance, (DVDs, trips and events). The project also supports performances of indigenous choirs by providing transport, meals, clothing and equipment; handicrafts by providing transport to events, meals, clothing and equipment; and promotes audio and visual practices to divulge the Guarani lifestyle and reinforce the ethnic identity. It also holds events that are celebrated by all the villages (Indigenous Cultural Week) and sponsors trips to events that address the valorisation and respect of diversity;

c) support the expansion or clearing of farming areas and soil preparation for planting, stimulating organic agricultural and cattle production, and provide material, animals, seedlings and seeds. Support the Daily Cattle Project, beekeeping, pig raising; foster net-pen fish production; support and monitor trips for technical visits; and the production and consumption of medicinal plants. The Guarani farming vocation is fostered by accompanying family-owned farms, small animal raising, the exchanging of native seeds, forming indigenous work groups, which are currently remunerated, and respecting the specificities of these large families;

d) foster agreements between the indigenous communities and support entities, and with economic agents, such as cooperatives, chiefly for commercializing by-products or side products and handicrafts;

e) implement programmes of food and nutritional security and food supplementation (basic food baskets) when needed.

 

4 - RESULTS

At the end of 2014, a total of 270 indigenous families had been assisted, which totals 1245 direct beneficiaries. The main results were:

- Fostering partnerships: meetings of the Ava Guarani Management Committee, alignment meetings for implementing awareness activities and actions to fight alcoholism in indigenous villages with the Centre of Operational Support for the Protection of Indigenous Communities (Human Rights) – CAOP and indigenous state schools;

- Infrastructure: construction of homes with electricity (112 units) and prayer houses (02 units), the implementation of an artisanal well and supply network, construction of the Handicraft and Nutrition Centre (Ocoy indigenous community), construction of the Handicraft Centre (Añetete indigenous community), renovation of the area for the Nutrition Centre and machine/equipment house (Añetete indigenous community), construction of the Añetete Indigenous School, adaptation of internal roads and gravelling in the three villages, construction of toilets and timber transfer for building  the table, shelves, ceiling and finishing of the Handcraft House in Tekoha Añetete, transfer to the Araju Porá Indigenous State School, of the Itamarã village, a gardening kit, 10 sets of rubbish bins (recyclables and non-recyclables) and 10 computers, transfer to the Kuaa Mbo’e State School of the Ocoy village of 10 sets of rubbish bins (recyclables and non-recyclables) and gardening kit – Ocoy and fencing in the animal raising areas in Tekoha Itamarã (1630 m) and in Tekoha Añetete (3664 m).

- Agriculture and animal husbandry: acquisition of equipment for planting traditional cultures, fruit, inputs, animals and seeds; soil preparation in a area of 466 hectares for the production and commercialization of 433 tonnes of cassava, 104 tonnes of corn and 10 tonnes of fish between 2012 and 2014; breeding stock that totalled 428 heads of cattle in 2014. Support for agricultural and cattle production has ensured food sustainability and land settlement for the communities. In 2014, Itaipu fostered and supported the registration of the Ocoy indigenous community members in the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) of National Supply Company - Conab, allowing, in that same year, the community to commercialize 9,332 Kg of cassava crops, 66 kg of sweet potato, and 300 Kg of leaf vegetables. Also through the PAA Conab, 1,200 Kg of food returned and was distributed in the Tekoha Ocoy community.

- Food and nutritional security: The partnership between the municipal councils, Itaipu, the Tekoha Ocoy indigenous community, Indigenous Health/SESAI and the Child Pastoral, since 2003, have helped drastically reduce the risk of child mortality due to malnutrition. A total of 700 consultations with children and 413 consultations with their guardians were arranged in 2014. The agreement also enabled the monthly transfer of 134 basic food baskets; 120 for the community and 14 for the Child Nutrition Programme and complementary actions. Also, the town council transferred soybean milk. Due to the population growth of the Itamarã and the Añetete communities, they also received support from the Child Nutrition Programme. In 2014, in Itamarã, consultations were provided for 1,437 children and 1,193 guardians. In Añetete, 613 children and 437 guardians received assistance;

- Commercialization of traditional handicrafts: revenues of over BRL 160,000.00 between 2012 and 2014 with the sale of indigenous hand-crafted products;

- Events: in 2014, the indigenous communities participated in several national events, including Green Rio (Rio de Janeiro), and Tourism Festival (Iguassu Falls), the Bio Brazil Fair (São Paulo), the World Cup (Rio de Janeiro), The Full Work Accident Prevention Week - SIPAT, at ITAIPU Binacional (Iguassu Falls), the Taste Fair (Iguassu Falls), Expovel (Cascavel) and the end-of-year event of the Cultivating Good Water programme (Iguassu Falls).

One of the most significant results of the activities of the Sustainability of Indigenous Communities project is the “1st Gathering of the Guarani People of South America”, in 2010. The event gathered more than one thousand indigenous individuals from 70 Brazilian communities, and representatives of Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia, who debated the future of the Guarani people. The event was held in the Tekoha Añetete village, in the municipality of Diamante D´Oeste, with the presence of several indigenous and non-indigenous authorities.

   

5 - NECESSARY RESOURCES

The members of the internal multi-disciplinary project team are an anthropologist, a sociologist, an educator, a lawyer, an administrator, an agricultural engineers, a civil engineer and a tourism professional. This team works together with other stakeholders - agents of indigenous production, operational technicians and employees of the involved town councils. Most of the resources come from the project and are concentrated in agreements between Itaipu and the municipal councils of São Miguel do Iguaçu and Diamante D’Oeste. In these agreements, the councils also provided financial and economic compensation.

 

6 - TRANSFERS

It is important to highlight that the practices that Itaipu established with the indigenous communities have become overall benchmarks in the power and business sector, culminating in important recognition at the 11th edition of the 2013 Benchmarking Award, when, of the 150 companies and 279 good socio-environmental practices, the Sustainability of Indigenous Communities project of the Cultivating Good Water (CAB) programme, of Itaipu Binacional and partners, was voted the second best sustainability practices experience in Brazil;

Itaipu also supports and is a member of the GT “Companies and Indigenous Peoples Initiative”, coordinated by The Nature Conservancy of Brazil (TNC - Brazil). This GT rallies Brazilian companies with projects that have some impact on indigenous communities; the GT has helped create the Brazilian Guidelines for Good Corporate Practices with Indigenous Peoples, a process where a solid experience, such as the Itaipu project, was demonstrated. Itaipu is also part of the GT of Eletrobrás that discusses actions of the power sector for the surrounding indigenous communities.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

One of the greatest challenges of the project lies in creating conditions to empower indigenous actors and promote a way of being that clashes with the forms of non-indigenous sociability - these forms are hegemonic and tend to curb the free-expression of the Guarani identity.

The target public had a background of tense and subordinate relationships with the non-indigenous society and did not have the permanent and consistent support for the required socio-environmental structuring actions in their territory.

The project changed this scenario and the indexes of health, income and social ties improved and allowed the Guarani to evolve from the state of mendicancy in which they lived.

One of the factors that led to the success of this practice was the creation of the Ava Guarani Management Committee, which rallies efforts for the integrated actions of indigenous and non-indigenous actors (public and private). These efforts ensure and strengthen their sense of ethnic identity and the traditions of the Guarani people by meeting the specific demands of each village.

Another fundamental factor that enabled this success is the immersion into the Guarani culture, with the target public, and sheds new light on how to best deal with the Guarani issue. This new perspective allowed the adaptation of technical assistance to the socio-cultural context of the Guarani people. In addition to the technicians, these communities have indigenous production agents, indigenous handicraft coordinators, and indigenous health agents that are remunerated and assisted by the technicians with a sole objective: to promote the Guarani way of being.

It was also possible to establish a channel of communication that observes Guarani leaders, their relationship with their extended families, the weight of each family in the decision-making process, the level of power of each family member, when they are retired, or coordinators of a work group, or agents of production, or chiefs or when they are religious leaders.

The institutional support of Itaipu through the Cultivating Good Water programme was fundamental for the feasibility of the project that, since 2003, has been providing methodological, technical and financial support.

 

Visits to these practices can be previously scheduled for every month of the year. 

Number of visitors: de 01 a 40.

 

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