Training program encourages Indigenous Peoples to develop projects

Women's empowerment: Entre Parentas will have its last module in March

Entre Parentas started as a training program aimed at strengthening the capacities and role of Indigenous women in sustainable value chains. However, it has yielded other very positive results for the communities involved, such as the development of Brazil nut, babassu oil production projects, and the creation of agroforestry systems. 

The Entre Parentas training program has reached its final stage, its last module will be held in March. The module will focus on providing women with tools that will enable them to act as consultants and inspire new initiatives in the area. 

The program started in March 2021 as part of the Nossa Terra II (Our Land II) project: Indigenous Land Management in Southern Amazonas, which is a component of the Program on Sustainable Value Chain and Territorial and Environmental Management of Protected Areas in the Amazon. Implemented by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB) and supported by USAID/Brazil under the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). It also involves other partners, such as the Native Amazon Operation (OPAN) and another eight Indigenous organizations (APIJ, APITEM, APITIPRE, OPIPAM, OPIAM, OPIAJ, OPIAJBAM, and FOCIMP). 

It was the first project aimed exclusively at Indigenous women, including 32 participants from the regions of the Madeira and Purus rivers in southern Amazonas. They were nominated by their own communities and local organizations.

"It's a very important initiative for us. We are very appreciative of this ongoing training, built together with our partner audiences. We developed the program with the idea of raising the profile of women in Indigenous value chains and territorial management," explains Sara Gaia, deputy coordinator of the IEB Indigenous Peoples program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, training was delivered virtually, and this demanded strengthening local communication infrastructure. Local communities received communication with cell phones, tablets, headphones, and other equipment,  to enable women to access the FORMAR Platform, the institute's virtual learning environment (check the Portuguese version).

"We realized right at the beginning of the process of strengthening the communication structure that it would also be important to talk about this new territory called the internet. This led to another project," adds Gaia.

She refers to A Territory Called the Internet (Um Território Chamado Internet), a project consisting of a series of six short videos launched in February 2022. It aims to discuss the opportunities and minimize the impacts of the internet in various locations across Brazil, including Indigenous communities. The videos are available on YouTube, and may also be shared on social media.

Content — The topics covered in 2021 include, for example, the role of women in the social organization of production; best economic practices; the improvement of project management skills; and the introduction of new technologies.

"In the second module, we developed tools together with the women so that they could build their own projects, and we are now seeing the results of that," says Gaia.

According to Dilacy Apurinã, one of the program participants, this training program has helped women to feel valued and share their work. “All IEB projects were great, but this one with women is particularly enriching, as it contributes to strengthening their roles. We want to work together with these women so that they feel valued, both when they are producing handicrafts and when they are planting. I want this to be an opportunity to organize a fair with these women. Our food is very rich, but with this small project it will be unforgettable — it will be a step towards standing on our own feet," she says.