How the Heritage Fund can strengthen Family Schools in Amapá

The concept of Escola Familia is nothing new, it emerged in the 1930s in France and was known as Rural Family Houses. This teaching model proposed that education be adapted to the reality of agricultural families and was adopted by several countries that had a significant amount of rural properties, mainly in Europe, Africa and South America. Here in Brazil, it has spread to several states and communities, adapting to the particularities and realities of each region.

Firstly, it is important to emphasize that the methodology of the EFAs, as the Family Schools are called, is the pedagogy of alternation, where the student experiences two distinct but integrated environments, in which he spends a period in the school environment and then a time in the community applying the he was taught about agricultural and agro-extractive techniques. The implementation of EFAs in the State of Amapá took place in 1983, thanks to the desire of actors from the Rural Workers Union and the local diocese who were looking for an alternative to improve education in the countryside. But despite being an integral development model with community benefits, there are still major obstacles to its maintenance.

Adenilson Vilhena Correa, president of the Associação da Escola Família Agroecológica do Macacoari (AEFAM), believes that the lack of resources hinders the continuity of activities and the preservation of school spaces. “We are facing great difficulties in maintaining the EFAs, mainly due to the lack of transfer of resources from the state government. We need to count on the support of partners for the survival of schools and, therefore, we are structuring projects and seeking collaborators to invest in education and provide security for the families and professionals involved.”

In order to solve this problem, in the Inclusive Community Economies Program, currently supported by the JBS Fund for the Amazon, Interelos, together with other partners, seeks to create a Heritage Fund with the intention of ensuring a source of funds for EFAM – Escola Família Agroecológica do Macacoari and EFAB – Escola Família Agroextrativista do Bailique.

It is important to remember that the Heritage Fund is a strategy used in several countries as a means of collecting and transferring donations to non-profit organizations, but only in January 2019, through Law nº 13,800, the Brazilian Government established its regulation. Thus, the implementation of the Fund aims to avoid, among other problems, the intermittence of resources that are currently provided only through an agreement with the State.

In a recent meeting in Amapá, Aerton Paiva, president of the Interelos Institute, highlighted the values that the Heritage Fund can generate in the sustainable development of the Amazon Biome: “Support for the Heritage Fund makes a value chain that protects the biome perennial, EFAs are the trainers of human capital that, in addition to understanding management, will also be prepared to manage the value chain, manage the cooperative, sell the products, in Brazil and abroad , know the production line, etc.” He also pointed out that the rules for access to the Fund will be discussed together with the governance team, always prioritizing the interests of the population. “The intention is not to stop seeking an agreement with the State, but for the Fund to cover an eventual lack. This reduces teacher salary defaults, late fees and class interruptions,” concluded Aerton.

In this way, not disconnecting schools from the production chain is a key point for the training of the technicians who will assume leadership positions in organizations, because while the agroindustry is creating the financing of the production chain, the Family Schools will create the human resources with quality education and environmental respect.

“Our objective is to create an education project in the region, with elementary, high school and technical courses to train young people up to college. We seek to create a fund so that we have enough resources to work with what the project asks for, so that it becomes a reference in the region. O Heritage Fund brings us hope to build all this with partners who have the technical capacity to develop the project we want”, concluded hopeful Adenilson, remembering that quality education is also built with salary for employees, food and teaching material.

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