Reduce poverty and promote socioeconomic development of the Quilombo communities in Maranhão are the priorities of a new project in Brazil.

Although Brazil is characterised as a High Human Development country (ranks 84th in the HDI UNDP 2011), the country has still many social asymmetries. Amongst the most vulnerable populations are the Quilombo communities in Maranhão state, one of the most mixed ethnic federal states of a country where more than 70% of the population is from African descent.

After 8 years of continuously intervening in the region IMVF has an in-depth knowledge of local reality. In order to end existing vulnerabilities that limit sustainable progress, in the next 36 months (from April 2013 to April 2016) will take place the project “Promotion of Solidarity Economy in areas with Quilombo Communities in Maranhão” that will answer a direct appeal of the Quilombo Communities in Maranhão and especially of the main local partner ACONERUQ – Association of Black Rural Quilombo Communities of Maranhão.

The fact that there are no specific public policies designed to strengthen these communities has led to increased social and economic vulnerability of these rural communities, which have low family income, difficulty to access and enjoy rights to property, poor production capacity, low expectations amongst youth and increasing women impoverishment.

Despite the many social difficulties that they face, Quilombo communities preserve their ancient values with land as a compelling richness. However, the potential of the land is not fully explored and hundreds of Quilombo people live in a subsistence economy.

Therefore it is urgent to contribute to a better coordination of the local market by introducing in these communities basic principles of Solidarity Economy and social inclusion, which will contribute to an enhancement of their living conditions and of Quilombo associations through the increase of family income generation and better sanitation conditions.

This project is co-financed by the European Union and has ACONERUQ as partner, with an expected impact on 5400 people of the Quilombo communities of Maranhão.

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