Decisions with Data: Traditional Communities Empowered to Decide

The Sharing Worlds program held its last socioeconomic data analysis workshop in early December at the Espírito Santo do Itá Quilombola Community, in the state of Pará. The initiative builds on the New Technologies program, launched in 2007 through a partnership between ECAM, Google Earth Outreach and USAID/Brazil. For some of the activities, the program was supported by the National Coordination Office of Black Rural Quilombola Communities (CONAQ).

Sharing Worlds involved more than 140 quilombola communities, Afro-Brazilian traditional communities established by escaped slaves,  in the Legal Amazon with the purpose of providing technological tools that would help them identify local potential and need, as well as facilitating access to public policies.

It enabled the direct participation of quilombola communities at all stages. The first one included a socioeconomic data survey covering various sectors such as health, education and income generation, whereas the second focused on organizing and analyzing the information collected. Across all activities, community members had the opportunity to share their knowledge and further strengthen their identity as quilombolas.

After the workshops, the participants trained others in their communities and multiplied by three the number of people applying the tools on the field. As a result of this, more than 600 people in six Brazilian states within the Legal Amazon were involved in the survey: Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, Tocantins, Amapá and Pará.

In 2020, Sharing Worlds will focus on disseminating and assessing the results through a publication and a web portal being developed for CONAQ. All six states involved in the project will hold meetings with community members, partners and governmental institutions that work with quilombola communities. According to Program Coordinator Meline Machado, "in addition to launching the publication and the portal, we will engage different institutions in discussions about what actions can be taken to meet the needs and demands of communities through strategic planning.”