PSA is a non-profit civil initiative that has been operating in Brazilian Amazonian communities since 1987, aiming to promote and support participation in integrated and sustainable community development that clearly improves public policies, quality of life and the exercise of citizenship among assisted populations.
PARTICIPATORY ACTION IN THE COMMUNITIES
PSA currently assists approximately 30,000 rural community residents, with special attention to traditional communities, many of which are socially vulnerable. The residents are located in rural communities of Santarém, Belterra, Aveiro and Juruti in Western Pará.
Developed with and for the communities, its actions seek solutions for their real problems, such as:
- Health and basic sanitation;
- Land management, agrarian and environmental;
- Social organization, citizenship and human rights;
- Agroextractive production and income generation;
- Renewable energies;
- Forest economy, ecotourism and artisanal production;
- Education, culture, communication and digital inclusion.
The participatory process is fundamental for significant and lasting results. Therefore, when implementing its programs, a PSA technical interdisciplinary team uses participatory methodologies to mobilize and engage residents. As a result, the residents are not simply participating members in the program’s actions but are active partners in creating solutions to their own challenges.
With information presented in a fun but educational way, community leaders, rural producers, entrepreneurs, teachers, health agents, women, youth and children become action replicators. Therefore, the population actively participates in the diagnosis, planning and monitoring of the actions, enabling its members to self-manage their own development.
Mocorongo Grand Circus: River community presents music, poetry, educational and cultural skits.
Mocoronga Network: young reporters are trained to produce/broadcast various forms of media.
ASSISTANCE AND EXPANSIONWith broad actuation and mobilization in the communities and its sustainable results, PSA has become a leader in fomenting and developing sustainable development through credible and programs. As a result, public and private institutions, NGOs and social movements increasingly call upon PSA to learn from its experience, expanding the capacity of Brazilian communities to promote true social, economic and environmental transformation.
Actions for communities to mitigate the negative impacts of pressures on their land through self-management. Projects include:
Healthcare, inclusion technologies, community engagement and sanitation technologies with projects such as:
To supplement formal education, revival of the Amazon’s riverside culture and promotion of citizenship. Projects include:
Stimulate traditional and innovative business activities with low environmental impact, through the following:
PSA acts directly in the rural area of the cities of Santarém, Belterra, Aveiro and Juruti, in Western Pará state, and within the Legal Amazon. The populations assisted by PSA are comprised primarily by traditional populations distributed along riversides and roadsides. These are communities comprised of 30 to 200 families, occupying unclaimed lands or Settlement, Farmland and Conservation Unit areas.
These communities survive from extractivism and family agriculture activities, but are no longer guaranteed this subsistence, due to the depletion of natural resources. They are increasing impoverished, especially given that there are roadblocks to reaching their potential. Among the main challenges of the riverside populations are health, education, income generation and land management. Therefore, in addition to healthcare initiatives, PSA focuses on training these populations for socio-environmental development through education, environmental education, digital inclusion, culture and land-related education.
PSA was founded by a physician, Eugênio Scannavino Netto, and arts educator Márcia Silveira Gama, who were hired by the Santarém city government (Pará) in 1983 to promote healthcare to riverside communities. The pair chose to use participatory, educational and self-management methodologies, incorporating prevention activities, research, training of local volunteers – through the Health Patrollers – and educational competitions known as “gincanas”.
Nearly two years later, their work was interrupted due changes within the Santarém city government. In order to continue and expand these actions, the Center for Advanced Studies on Social and Environmental Promotion (CEAPS), the non-profit civil institution that runs PSA, was created. With the support and collaboration of Sérgio Arouca (Fiocruz) and Cesare Della Rocca (Unicef), in 1987 PSA activities were supported by resources from the Brazilian Development Bank-BNDES (Finsocial), participation from the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) and technical sup ervision from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).
By incorporating social entrepreneurs, especially local ones, combined with knowledge of the communities, the scope of activities was expanded and gradually resulted in a plan for integrated community development. Beginning in the 2000s with 16 pilot communities, the initiative expanded to other locations, in shared management with the communities themselves.
Currently, PSA acts directly in four cities in the western region of Pará, generating practical and lasting benefits to approximately 30,000 persons, in addition to expanding sustainable technologies to other areas of Brazil and abroad.