A year of a lot of dialogue, planning and hands-on work

Interelos Institute Team

With important projects finalized, partnerships consolidated and new programs on the radar, 2022 was a year of important achievements

For Brazil, 2022 was a turbulent year, but also decisive. A year that comes to an end with the hope of a 2023 with more equity and environmental awareness. 

For the Interelos Institute, the year that is ending has seen a lot of dialogue, planning and hands-on work. In these 12 months, we worked hard to build and strengthen initiatives that are the emblem of another economy, which operates not according to the logic of growth at any cost, but which seeks the sustainability of its operations and the promotion of more dignified living conditions, especially for those who live with very little, or almost nothing. 

For socio-environmental consultant Mayte Rizek, this effort has paid off. “In a complicated year full of tensions, we made deliveries committed to social development in the corners of Brazil”.

In his view, one of the main roles of the organization was to “promote the link between the productive bases compatible with the standing forest and the market, a concept that is as evoked as it is misunderstood, and often instrumentalized to justify the unjustifiable”.

The so-called market, a concept that is as evoked as it is misunderstood, is often instrumentalized to justify the unjustifiable.

Developing productive chains

In practice, we were certain that there is no other way to develop community-based production chains other than stepping into the territories and working alongside the people. One of these territories was precisely the Resex Green Forever, the largest extractive reserve in the country, located in Porto de Moz, in the north of Pará.

“When looking at forest products, we also try to see the organization of the social fabric that produces them and understand the socio-environmental demands and risks that affect the lives of producers and their production”, explains Rizek.

Another important program for the Interelos Institute has been the support for the development of the cooperative's value chains amazonbai, managed by residents of the Bailique Archipelago and communities in Beira Amazonas, in Macapá. The organization is dedicated to the sustainable production of FSC® certified vegan and 100% açaí. In the view of the founding partner of the institute, Marcos Tadeu, the achievements of 2022 were many.

“We have actions aimed at the production of raw materials and we also support the implementation of an agroindustry in the Amazon, capable of producing pulp with added value”, he explains. “We have also supported the organization of Amazonbai's internal processes and we have started to open and develop new markets”.

Tadeu also emphasizes the importance of continuing to build this process collectively, always together with the cooperative members. For the consultant Murilo Castro, this construction has been strengthened, and an important advance has been observed in this sense: the creation of a database system with vital information from the members.

According to him, this project, which started in April and is close to being concluded, has the benefit of bringing the workers' perspective on life in a systematic way. “We collect data on the situation and people's opinions about their day-to-day life, their state of health, their relationship with work and, above all, what their main problems and challenges are”, he explains.

Listening to people and understanding, in detail, how they live and what their main challenges are is an important part of the process.

Adding the social to biodiversity

For Tadeu, education is the key to deeper and lasting social change. Interelos has been working on this front with the program “Education in the Countryside”, which understands education as one of the main vectors for the development of a territory, occupying the centrality of the social, environmental and economic development of the place where it operates, by training young people able to play leadership roles in local organizations and provide technical assistance in value chains.

The program is based on a political-pedagogical project aligned with the characteristics of the territory, as occurs in Agricultural Family Schools (EFAs) and Rural Family Homes (CFRs). This type of school is based on the Pedagogy of Alternation, an educational model that emerged in European rural communities in the post-war period and which provides, in addition to the official curricula, content based on the context of the territory in which they are installed, in addition to several other practices of teaching and community involvement, aiming at their permanence in the countryside and greater autonomy.

“One of the most important things we are doing is setting up a financial model to support these schools, which are heavily dependent on the government,” says Tadeu.

O Future, created with an initial contribution from JBS Fund for the Amazon, aims to raise funds from companies and organizations over the course of 5 years whose mission is to improve rural education in Brazil. The model will provide more stability and security for the professionals and students of these schools, as it provides a constant flow of capital. According to Castro, “this is a very important project for the socioeconomic development of the Amazon territory and has great potential for the coming years”. The fund will launch in the first half of 2023.

Consultant Eduardo Nicácio endorses the importance of education: “In 2022, education ended up becoming an important part of the identity of the Interelos Institute”. For him, the promotion of human rights, in general, has been fundamental for the development of communities and, for this very reason, one of the central axes in the institute's activities.

Leading debates and discussing sustainability

Nicácio also states that the Interelos Institute's communication grew significantly in 2022. “We are better publicizing what we are doing and building important debates for the future, as we have been doing with the Eloquente, the socioeconomics podcast”, he points out. After a first season dedicated to unraveling what is behind our consumption, the podcast premiered a second season with episodes that focus on the role of companies and technology in building a circular future . For Tadeu, “the launch of the Eloquente it was important as a way of communicating better with people, so that they understand more deeply what socioeconomics is and how this concept can be applied in real cases”.

The Eloquente podcast was important for people to understand more deeply the concepts of ESG and socioeconomics and see examples of how they can be applied.

Just like Nicácio, Tadeu draws attention to the greater presence of Interelos on social networks and in the media. This is an important step towards dialoguing in a more open and transparent way with the public and, of course, finding new partnerships.

Thinking about the future​​​​​​​

Nicácio says that the institute ends the year stronger and more structured as an organization. According to him, “this construction of an identity, of a project of its own, was fundamental”.

For Tadeu, the arrival of more qualified people on the team was also one of the main achievements of 2022. “We are consolidating ourselves and always innovating to be able to improve and do more and better in social and environmental terms”, he reflects. Let 2023 come!

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