Income generation project will benefit women from the Cafundão community, in Mariana (MG)

Posted in: 02/13/2023

A project to generate income in Cafundão , Mariana (MG), has provided a great opportunity for the realization of an old dream of the women of the 70 families that live in the community : having an industrial kitchen to produce sweets and cookies to be sold locally.

The industrial kitchen will be built by Synergia Socioambiental , which has been operating in the Minas Gerais region since 2015, experiencing the challenges that communities there face in relation to income generation. The project supports the expansion of the activities of the Cafundão Agricultural Cooperation Association in order to guarantee more income and consequent improvement in the living conditions of the population , especially women.

Project shed for income generation in Cafundão, Mariana (MG),
Cafundão Agricultural Cooperation Association. Photo: UFOP

The Association, founded in 1996, relies primarily on the work of men from the community, who make traditional soapstone pots in a workshop. More recently, women began to grow vegetables in agroecological gardens , whose production is sold to the local city hall to supply school lunches from the public school network, through the National School Feeding Program (PNAE).

The women’s desire, led by the association’s president, Regiane Aparecida de Lana Fonseca, was to expand the Association’s activities , producing and selling biscuits and agroecological family farming products , based on traditional recipes and developed from local resources . The dream came true with the support of Synergia – which, in addition to building the kitchen, will also provide technical support and training .

A woman harvests lettuce in a project garden for income generation in Cafundão, Mariana (MG),
The project will expand the activities of women beyond the activities of growing vegetables in agroecological gardens. Photo: UFOP

With an estimated duration of 12 months , the project provides training for the creation of new products, follow-up by the Synergia team in mobilizing and organizing women in the community to develop the project, support from the marketing and communication team in creating the product brand , accounting and legal advice. In addition, courses in management and entrepreneurship , food processing, agroindustry and small business management will be offered in partnership with UFOP/NUPEDES .

“We understand that productive diversification will boost the generation of work and income for women in the Cafundão community and this will improve the quality of life, especially for women, with a direct impact on their families,” explains Alexandre Araujo Pinho, Sustainability director and Synergia’s Social Responsibility.

At socio-environmental consultancy, the decision to sponsor this project had three decisive factors :

1) the proximity and knowledge that Synergia has in relation to the territory ;

2) its commitment to the Ambition ODS Program , of the United Nations Global Compact, to expand support for diversity, equity and inclusion, especially among black women;

3) its technical team, made up of professionals trained in socio-environmental education, agronomy, process and people management, capable of operating in the territory throughout the implementation period, until its consolidation.

For Alexandre Araujo, the participation of a dedicated multidisciplinary team can be the differential for the results that will be achieved by the income generation project : “We invited several people from Synergia to participate in this project and all of them, in their areas of activity, were immediately willing to to participate, making their time and knowledge available. We are sure that it will be, in addition to being pleasurable, very well executed. And, more than that, we are very optimistic about the positive results for the community, as this is the main objective”, says the executive.

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