Sustainable Territories Program’s quilombola and riverine communities validate Social Progress Index

Quilombola and riverines communities have agreed on the methodology which will monitor activities under the Sustainable Territory Program (PTS). The Social Progress Index can also be used to identify priority areas for communities to act on

In the second week of January, about 290 quilombola and riverine people from eight communities in the municipalities of Oriximiná, Terra Santa and Faro participated in meetings to approve the “Social Progress Index” (SPI). The methodology is used to measure the impact of public and private investments on the well-being of communities and the environment, and to monitor the actions that have been developed under the Sustainable Territories Program (STP).

The purpose of validation is for communities to indicate if information collected is accurate according to the community, and suggesting adjustments to the index. Indicators include social welfare, health, education and socioeconomic data, and others. “It was an innovative process because, for the first time, the community took part in a survey” said Mr. Rogério de Oliveira Pereira, member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Remaining Quilombo Communities of the Municipality of Oriximiná (ARQMO).

In addition to assessing whether the STP is achieving their expected results, SPI data can also be used by communities to organize and set priorities. “The SPI interacts with the Life Plans (territorial and environmental planning developed by the communities), and provides information used in the Life Plans. And later helps assess whether planned actions are achieving the desired effect,” explained Ms. Vivian Zeidemann, Assessment Coordinator at CAL-PSE/CIAT. “Now we have a tool to support our requests to the private sector and to public authorities," added Rogério.

The first step in the SPI process is data collection, which was done through a questionnaire in June and July 2019. The initial SPI survey was carried out in seven quilombola territories and five riverine areas in the region, with a total of 768 home interviews in 22 communities.

After processing this information, a first round of validation was conducted in October 2019 with leaders from the Association of Remaining Quilombo Communities of the Municipality of Oriximiná (ARQMO) and the Association of Sapucuá Lake Rural Fishing Communities (ACOMTAGS).

“During the first round, we saw it would be necessary to engage community members and visit territories. It is an enriching process that goes beyond validation, as communities can take ownership of instruments and data,” explained Ms. Vivian Zeidemann, Evaluation Coordinator at CAL-PSE/CIAT. After the validation process, the SPI will serve as a basis for the STP, and will be reapplied every two or three years for a period of 15 years.


What is SPI? 

The Social Progress Index (SPI) was created in 2010 with the objective of guiding and measuring the impact of public and private investment on the quality of life of communities and the environment. Experts in public policy and economics participated in its development, with the support of researchers and academics from institutions such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

In 2014, when it was officially launched, the SPI was adapted to assess the development of municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon by the  Amazon Institute of People and Environment (IMAZON), which developed the Amazon SPI. The original focus was of the tool was in  urban areas, however, the SPI was adapted to riverine communities through a project in Carauari, in the Médio Juruá. In addition to the tools the the indicators were adapted to fit the needs of the rural  Calha Norte region.