Traditional peoples obtain management skills for community sustainable business

In response to a demand from Amazon communities, a training program named FORMAR Gestão will start mid-April to build community associations skills to manage their own enterprises.

Representatives of indigenous peoples, traditional populations, as well as managers of local organizations will participate in an online training program, due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program builds on the International Education Institute of Brazil (IEB)  experience with FORMAR Castanha: a modular program that trained collectors on good practices for production and marketing for the Brazil nut sustainable value chain. 

With this new project, focusing on strengthening community enterprise management, the goal is to train up to 50 students from various communities, protected areas, and Indigenous Lands supported by the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). Each community business can name up to two course participants, one of whom should preferably be a woman. 

The pedagogical committee in charge of developing the structure, modules, and contents of the course included representatives from seven organizations, in addition to  IEB: Native Amazon Operation (OPAN), Water Pact (PACTO), Vitória Amazônica Foundation (FVA), Chico Mendes Memorial (MCM), Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute (IDSM), Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), and the US Forest Service (USFS). 

Themes - Course topics range from management, sustainability, and economic feasibility of three important sustainable value chains in the Amazon – Brazil nut, açaí, and pirarucu. Managers and technical staff will be trained on skills, techniques, methods, and tools that are key to improving working practices and decision-making processes in the context of community project management in the Amazon.

"The pandemic has shown us that remote learning can help traditional peoples and communities to become stronger. But it will be challenging to migrate to a fully virtual environment for this training," says IEB project advisor André Tomasi. In order to ensure that all participants have access to the sessions, locations with reliable internet access and equipment have been mapped. 

Tomasi explains that the organizers built upon lessons learned from modeling the Entre Parentas training program, launched online in March solely for indigenous women. In its first edition, 32 women living in the Madeira and Purus rivers’ Indigenous Lands have attended the course (learn more about it here).

At the end of the training program, participants are expected to be able to identify alternative practices, obstacles, challenges, and opportunities related to the management of community ventures to strength their sustainable businesses.

Expanding horizons – The training course is part of the project Sustainable Value Chains and Territorial and Environmental Management of Protected Areas in the Amazon. A project supported by USAID/Brazil through PCAB.

The project’s objective is to preserve the biodiversity of protected areas in the Amazon and advance the promotion of wellbeing and community autonomy through territorial and environmental management. The course program focuses on Brazil nuts, pirarucu, açaí, and sustainable timber value chains involving 26 Indigenous Lands and 22 Protected Areas in three Brazilian states (Rondônia, Amazonas, and Pará). In total, about 400 traditional and indigenous communities are being reached by the Sustainable Value Chains project. 

Since last year, the IEB has been leading its implementation in a consortium of partners engaged in the two year project. The USFS team provides technical cooperation in the areas of developing value chains and consolidation of producer groups, and ICMBio is involved in the development and implementation of activities in federal Protected Areas.