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A priviliged moment of union, dedication, initiative, participative organization, learning and working in Padrinho Sebastião’s brotherhood

Since February 2003, Céu do Mapiá has been going through a very special moment, greatly mobilizing it’s people and winning the heart of it’s founders and elders as much as of it’s youngsters and newly arrived dwellers.

This is all due to the so called PDC, Plano de Desenvolvimento Comunitário (Community Development Plan), an intense process of work amounting so far to an year and four months of activity.

As the name says, the plan is meant to mobilize the community so that it can discuss and decide by itself in which ways it wants to grow and develop. The project arose out of a legal necessity: to elaborate a Plan of Controlled Resources Management, an obligation the community has before the federal government’s office of natural resources (Ibama – Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente), for being situated inside a reservation, the Floresta Nacional do Purus (Purus River National Forest).

Projects Workshop held on June 9th: all meetings and conferences for
the Community Deveopment Plan begin and end with the participants
holding hands and singing a hymn

How the Community Development Plan came about

The need of technical and financial support to elaborate this Plan of Controlled Resources Management led our organization IDA-Cefluris to ask for help from WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the world’s largest and most traditional environmentalist NGO. This organization not only answered our call, but – in partnership with the village’s public administration office, the AMVCM – Associação de Moradores da Vila Céu do Mapiá (Association of Residents of Céu do Mapiá Village) – also invited two more NGOs of strong presence and well recognized work in the Amazon – CTA (Centro de Trabalhadores da Amazônia) and Instituto Nawa – to help in the training and empowerment of people from the community itself, who were involved in the project as agents of communal development.

What the Community Development Plan has already achieved

In the first stage of work, during 2003, a first round of conferences and meetings were held at all the community’s districts, apart from the so called “dream workshops”. In these occasions, all of the village’s residents had the opportunity to point out what each of them considered to be Mapiá’s benefits and problems and also to suggest solutions for these problems. In the “dream workshops”, everyone was also given a chance to reflect on what they imagined to be the ideal Mapiá, the Mapiá of their dreams.

Theatrical sketch representing the Mapiá of each one's dreams,
presented in the General Assembly held in April 18th

This general examination of the community used the image of a bridge – as a means to take Mapiá from it’s present moment to a better future for all. This bridge would be made of many boards, each one of them representing a sector of the village’s administration – organizing, in this way, the discussions and lines of study and action in different groups, with each participant dedicating himself to the area of work he or she was most insterested in.

Also during 2003, many concrete actions were carried out, with the following results:

  1. Survey and profile of all the institutions working in the community: the AMVCM and its administrative branches (health, energy, social assistance etc), the school, Casa de Ofícios (the textile and handcraft center), CMF – Centro Medicina da Floresta (Forest Medicine Center), Santa Casa (Holy House of Health) and others.
  2. Acquisition of a computer and a printer for the AMVCM.
  3. Repair of the community radio station’s equipment.
  4. Financing of part of the magazine “Céu do Mapiá 20 Anos”, published by the State Government of Acre.
  5. Aerial photographs for studies of the National Forest.
  6. Consultancy of lawyers specialized in land rights and territorial law.
  7. Three Groups of Action composed of village residents: Forest Resources Controlled Management, Agricultural Production and Environmental Health.
  8. Courses of wood joinery in Rio Branco (Acre’s state capital) for the Forest Resources Controlled Management Group of Action.
  9. Courses of an ecological system of agriculture known as agroforest, for the Agricultural Production Group of Action, ministered by a team from UFAC – Universidade Federal do Acre (Federal University of Acre).
  10. Detailed examination and diagnosis of the conditions of garbage disposal, water and sewage in the community, done by the Environmental Health Group of Action, with support from specialized technical consultancy.
  11. Closer approach of the federal government’s office of natural resources (Ibama).

Presentation of a general picture of the Commuity Development Plan,
at the Assembly held on June 20th

This year, the work on the Community Development Plan continued in a new phase. First, all the resident’s opinions and suggestions gathered in 2003 were collected and brought to new meetings in all the village’s districts, to deepen the study. This phase reached it’s most important moment at a great assembly in April. In this occasion, all the lists of Mapiá’s benefits, problems and possible solutions were presented to the whole population, organized in the aforesaid “boards” that symbolize administrative sectors. Each member of the community chose, then, the area he wanted to work in, resulting not only in the creation of new Groups of Action, but also bringing new members to those that already existed (the complete list of Groups of Action is given below). For the next phase, going on at this moment, were created the Project Workshops, so that each one of these Groups of Action could choose the main problems it wanted to solve and elaborate it’s project of work to achieve this, also with the necessary technical consultancy. Once written and finalized, these projects will be revised by the Community Development Plan’s team of technical consultants and sent to organizations and institutions which help finance such lines of action. However, the community’s Groups of Actions are mostly, apart from preparing projects, already at work (some at quite advanced stages) on what they can do already, without waiting for funding to arrive.

Groups of Action

1 Forest Resources Controlled Management
Unites residents who work in sawing, joinery, carpentry and wood handcraft. Together with Environmental Health, it is one of the two Groups of Action that already has it’s project formulated, studying the creation of rules for proper extraction of wood in the National Forest and organizing this activity in the community.

2 Environmental Health
Unites volunteers who care about garbage disposal and healthy water and sewage conditions. Together with Forest Resources Controlled Management, it is one of the two Groups of Action that already has it’s project formulated, proposing a system of selective garbage collection for the village, together with environmental education campaigns and scientific analysis of the local conditions of water and sewage.

3 Agricultural Production
Unites residents who work in agriculture and are interested in the communal organization of the production, including annual planning and selected areas for plantation. Their form of work is innovative, replacing the ancient slash-and-burn method of traditional Amazon people with modern ecological systems known as agroforest and agrobeach.

4 Communication
Unites Rádio Jagube (the communal radio station) and Telecentro Nova Idéia (the communal center with computers and internet broadband satellite access, in partnership with the school) with residents interested in amplifying the community’s internal and external communication with other means and resources.

5 School
Unites the teachers of the community’s school (Escola Estadual Cruzeiro do Céu), seeking better negotiations with the government, elaboration of the school’s Political Pedagogics Plan, more training for teachers and workshops for technical courses.

6 Social Assistance
Unites volunteers interested in strengthening the communal services of social assistance, accessing information about public programs, collecting funding and support in geral, helping the elderly and destitute members of the community and promoting family education campaigns. This group has, among it’s members, Madrinhas Sílvia and Dodô.

7 Energy
Unites workers and local technicians interested in creating an ecological system of public energy for the community.

8 Doctrine
Unites volunteers interested in the organization and maintenance of the church and the feitio (ritual production of our Sacrament). This group also initiated a detailed plan of work in the Community Development Plan’s Project Workshop and is headed by Madrinha Júlia in person.

9 Public Health
Unites workers of this community sector, seeking the creation of a Communal Health Plan and a Center of Reception, Diagnosis and Referral, to integrate the current Health Center with the Santa Casa (Holy House of Health) and the CMF (Forest Medicine Center) and organize general assistance.

10 Art, Leisure and Culture
Unites residents interested in creating a communal arts and culture center and organizing activies such as a music school, capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) and sports.

11 Vegetable Gardens, Arboretuns and Forest Nourishment Resources
Unites residents interested in creating communal vegetable gardens and arboretuns and using local product (in items such as flours, fruit jam, biscuits etc) to improve the quality of food available in the community and lower it’s cost of living.

12 Cooperative
Unites members of Cooperar (the local cooperative) and other residents interested in structuring and strenghtening this enterprise, accessing external markets for the the local production (both agricultural and non-agricultural) and increasing the final products’ value.

13 Visitation, Reception and Tourism
Unites local hotelkeepers and other residents interested in organizing the reception of visitors both in Céu de Mapiá and Boca de Acre, remembering that rules for visitation of the National Forest should be an important part of the final document of the Plan of Controlled Resources Management.

14 Community Development Agents
Unites the residents trained by our technical consultancy as agents for the facilitation and organization of the whole process’ meetings, conferences assemblies and all other kinds of activities, as well as helping the Groups of Action in the elaboration of their projects.

The Group of Action for Environmental Health in conference for the elaboration
of it's project, at the workshop held on June 10th

If you want to help Céu do Mapiá’s Community Development Plan, or any of these Groups of Action in particular, either through donations of money or equipament, or through technical-professional expertise in any one of these areas, your support is most welcome!

We also ask you to spread all this information about the Community Development Plan in your own church or center.

Associação de Moradores da Vila Céu do Mapiá: (55 97) 457-1005
E-mail Grupo de Comunicação PDC:


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