PPA Solidarity and Public Agenda guarantee nutrition for 2 thousand quilombolas in western Pará

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By Jóice Denne

Since last May, more than a thousand families of remaining quilombolas have been isolated from the urban areas of Calha Norte Paraense, to prevent coronavirus in this region that covers the municipalities of Faro, Terra Santa and Oriximiná, in western Pará.

According to the Association of Quilombos Remaining Communities of the Municipality of Oriximiná (ARQMO), the urban region, especially in the municipality of Oriximiná, is fundamental for the outflow of quilombos' agricultural production. Without sales of quilombola products in the cities, until September, the majority of the quilombola population was living only with hunting, fishing and their own food production - which was already done to supply school meals for students in nearby cities, with the banana harvest, beiju, cassava and flour production.

ARQMO explained that, without sales of their products, quilombolas were left without income to supply themselves with other basic foods, such as rice and pasta. These products are important, but they have different plantings, they are more difficult to produce sustainably in communities.

To collaborate with the sustainability of quilombolas in their territories, the Public Agenda, with the support of PPA Solidariedade, delivered on September 22 the delivery of basic baskets to complement nutrition in quilombos in Calha Norte Paraense.

More than 500 families from 90% from the 12 quilombola communities in Serrinha, from the Flexal community to the Terra Preta community, received the donation.

On the other side of the Trombetas River, from the Jarauacá quilombo, another 600 families from 20 quilombola communities were also supported.

According to ARQMO, 40% of the more than 2000 people living in these territories were infected with COVID-19. They recovered and remain isolated in their quilombos, receiving scheduled health care through the Oriximiná Municipal Basic Health Unit. But quilombolas still lost 2 people to COVID-19 in the region.

Since May, the federal court has also prohibited fluvial and land access of vessels not authorized by ARQMO between any quilombola territories because it believes that this access enhances the transmission of COVID-19 between these communities.

The actions are part of the COVID-19 Impact Mitigation project. The Sustainable Territories Program, represented by the Public Agenda, with co-investments from Mineração do Rio do Norte, will respond to COVID-19 in the municipalities of Oriximiná, Terra Santa and Faro, in western Pará. The PTS representative will develop campaigns for risk communication, distribute basic food baskets, hygiene kits and masks to support vulnerable populations to protect themselves and improve health and surveillance processes in response to COVID-19, focusing on hospitals and local health units.

PPA Solidarity

USAID, NPI Expand, the Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) and SITAWI Finanças do Bem have teamed up to create a partnership to help combat COVID-19 in Brazil. The “PPA Solidarity: Response to COVID-19 in the Amazon is an initiative that engages the private sector in strategic partnerships to leverage innovative and scalable solutions to strengthen the rapid response to emergencies and combating COVID-19. The initiative will work with civil society and private sector partners on four lines of action: Mobilize communication campaigns on risks and community engagement in mitigation and protection measures to address COVID-19 and empower vulnerable communities and / or isolated to protect against exposure and transmission of COVID-19; Promote measures to prevent and control infections by COVID-19 in health facilities and communities; Support the local health system (hospitals, health posts and community health units / services) to respond and control COVID-19 through health and surveillance services; Support entrepreneurs, small social impact businesses and startups, producer groups and cooperatives with small financial contributions, business advisory services and access to low interest loans or microcredit.