Quilombolas from Pará learn how to become “YouTubers”, sharing their perspectives from Amazon-based forest communities with the world

Crossed by big rivers and home to indigenous populations and quilombola communities, descendants of escaped slaves groups, and located in the very North of Brazil in the Amazon Forest, few people know much about Oriximiná, one of the biggest municipalities in Brazil, the size of Portugal. That is about to change: In the last weekend of January, a group of 40 quilombola youth attended a YouTube video production course to help them to create a channel to show their lives and culture to the rest of the world.

Organized by Equipe de Conservação da Amazônia (ECAM), a PCAB partner NGO, together with Google Earth Outreach and the Sustainable Territories Program, the course brought the famous “Heroes” Brazilian YouTuber Allan Portes to the north of Trombetas, to the small remote community of Jarauacá in Pará State together with a team member of YouTube/Brazil. Allan taught the youth participants representing 8 quilombola territories and almost 37 communities the basics of producing good quality videos at home. The objective of the program is to give communities the instruments they need to develop their territorial management plans, their community actions plans, and engage youth leaders and others in telling their stories. The demand for the workshop came from the youth themselves during an earlier workshop.

Ildimara dos Santos, who lives in Jaraucá, wants to share the activities of the carimbó group “Suingue dos Palmares”. Carimbó is a traditional dance from the Pará state. Besides teaching how to dance the carimbó, she wants to “show the royalty and sensuality of the dancers and the culture of the community”.

Karina dos Santos, from the Tapaia community, proposes a new YouTube channel called “Preserving our Land”. “We could observe the forest, do interviews with the elders. Not only talk about the forest, but of the culture, the dances, and the food of our region,” she noted. Allan suggested that the group share their ideas and solutions, something YouTube viewers are interested in: “You can also teach what you think the solutions to the problem could be”.

USAID/Brazil’s Director of Environment Programs, Anna Toness, highlighted the role of young people as leaders and the necessity of partnerships to take actions that allow for community empowerment. “Youth leadership is of great importance; they are the future of their communities. Giving these future leaders the necessary tools to solve challenges they are likely to face in their future, is critical.”

The PCAB`s project, carried out by ECAM, leverages a partnership with Mineração Rio do Norte – the biggest bauxite mine operator in Brazil, located in one of the quilombola communities, operating in the area since the 1970`s and belonging to a multinational consortium of eight mining companies, in which they established internet in the 8 territories to improve communications and territorial planning.