Ingá Project will support communities in overcoming social and environmental challenges with a focus on sustainable development

Juruti is a municipality in the state of Pará’s and relies on bauxite extraction and family farming as its main sources of revenue. The population is formed mostly by traditional and Indigenous groups: about 59,000 people living in more than 200 communities spread over 830,500 hectares -  60% living in the Amazon forest in small communities. 

The Ingá Project — Sustainability and Management Indicators, in the Amazon was launched in September with the aim of building human capital and supporting autonomy and leadership in managing their land, while protecting and preserving native forests and restoring degraded areas. 

The project aims to strengthen local entrepreneurship and create an observatory of sustainable development indicators, with a focus on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Ingá is a fruit that grows in pods of up to one meter in length, often found on the banks of rivers and lakes. The Indigenous name means “soaked” probably because of the watery aspect of the pulps surrounding the seeds. The pulp is white, slightly fibrous, sweet, and rich in mineral salts.

The Ingá project is coordinated by the local Sustainable Juruti Institute (IJUS), with financial support from USAID/Brazil, the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA), Alcoa and the Alcoa Institute, in addition to partnerships with the Vitória Régia Institute (IVR), the Institute of International Education of Brazil (IEB) and the Alliance of Bioversity International/CIAT. It will last for 18 months, and will attract around R$ 1.6 million in investment.

“We are seeking to increasingly strengthen the structural foundations of our society. This project will integrate actions along several sustainability lines, and empower people that are facing various social, economic, and environmental difficulties. Our goal is to develop a sustainable approach to the use of natural resources so as to enable young people, women, and subsistence family  farmers to see their lives improve,” states IJUS president, Maria Melo.

The initiative focuses on three priority spots in Juruti: the Curumucuri Agroextractive Settlement Project, through a partnership with the Curumucuri Communities Association (ACOGLEC) and the Mixed Curumucuri Cooperative; the Prudente and Monte Sinai Agroextractive Settlement Project, in partnership with the Prudente and Monte Sinai Communities Association (ACOPRUMS); and the Jará Environmental Protection Area, where the work will be carried out together with the conservation unit council. Around 1,900 families live in these areas. 

The municipal government is another important partner in the project, and will implement some actions in the urban area of Juruti. Attendees will benefit from training and other initiatives focused on public management.

“The PPA has two basic work premises: we always seek to promote sustainable development in the Amazon, enabling communities to grow stronger, expand their capacities, and increase and diversify their production; and we encourage the private sector to take a central role in fostering sustainable development. The Ingá Project builds on our consolidated partnership with Alcoa, and enables us to fulfill both premises. Through the resources and opportunities provided by us, IJUS, a genuine Amazonian organization, is able to build capacity, to develop, and to generate a valuable ecosystem to benefit the entire region,” says PPA executive secretary Augusto Corrêa.

For Fausto Cruz, President of the Alcoa Institute, the Ingá Project is linked to the institute's mission, collectively promoting education and development in its territories. “When we say collectively, we want to show that the Alcoa Institute is always working together with its partners, as we understand that we cannot promote all necessary transformations alone. Partnerships are critical for us to leverage the results of our investment. And the Ingá Project is an example of how coordination can assertively generate more results, and have even greater impact on society.”

Focus — The Ingá Project is based on three strategies: biodiversity conservation, biodiversity-based economy; and livelihoods and well-being. 

Its actions include the protection of 30 hectares of native forests through forest-protection agreements with family farmers. Through the implementation of agroforestry systems, the project is also expected to reforest another 30 hectares of degraded areas.

Training will be provided to 30 family farmers on the implementation and management of agroforestry systems, and to another 34 farmers on good bird-management practices. 

Through the Formar Gestão program, developed by the IEB, 20 social entrepreneurs will benefit from continued training on Community Enterprise Management to help foster more autonomous organizations. The IEB will develop diagnostic processes, demand analysis, and training actions aimed at strengthening local capacities.

“At IEB, we believe that we can only promote environmental sustainability if we recognize that there are people living in these biomes, and that they belong there. After that, we can discuss processes aimed at strengthening local capacities, so that they become the protagonists of any actions developed in their territories," adds Alison Castilho, socioenvironmental analyst at the IEB.

With a focus on human capital, 40 local development agents will be trained to work with community leaders from the associations of Curumucuri, Prudente, Monte Sinai, Jará, and IJUS. 

“This project is the outcome of a great partnership involving several organizations. It aims at the conservation of natural resources,  restoration of essential biological systems for life, and formation of human capital at the local level. We will also create an observatory of development indicators. The Ingá Project will end with the 2nd Meeting on Sustainability in the Amazon,” adds Elber Diniz, IJUS Executive Secretary.

For more information, visit the PPA website and IJUS webpage (in Portuguese).