Social mobilization and environmental education: how a pilot project has empowered women in the Mangaraí River region

Posted in: 09/21/2021

Synergia was contracted, in early December 2020, to start another important project in Espírito Santo. The Mangaraí River pilot project, coordinated by the Capixaba Institute for Survey, Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (Incaper), is moving the communities around the Mangaraí River. The activities involve community leaders, the school community, institutional representatives, but the focus is on women.

There are about 60 women farmers, discussing and reflecting about their life stories and the role of gender in the socio-technical division of rural labor, projecting dreams and proposing concrete actions to give visibility and strengthen female collectives in the territory.

With the activities, it has already been possible to observe the formation of leaders who are imbued with the importance of participating in spaces of power and decision-making. Another noteworthy factor was the awakening of interest in the formation of local participatory instances, such as community associations.

Social mobilization: Collaborators in the Rio Mangaraí pilot project
Activities with women from local communities are the focus of the Rio Mangaraí Pilot Project. Photo: Synergia

The project is part of the Integrated Water and Landscape Management Program (PGIAP), of the Espírito Santo State Government. Among its main objectives are:

  • Socio-environmental assessment of the Mangaraí Basin and impact monitoring results;
  • hamdaAdequacy and recuperation of unpaved roads;
  • Construction of social equipment on the banks of the Mangaraí;
  • Monitoring of water bodies;
  • Payment for environmental services through the Reforest Program;

In this major project, Synergia was contracted to execute the Environmental Education and Social Mobilization actions, with a focus on female empowerment.

To define the area of coverage of the pilot project, monitoring campaigns were carried out involving the Santa Maria da Vitória River and its main tributaries: Rio das Farinhas, Rio da Prata, Córrego da Pedra Preta, Tirol River, Crubixá-Açu River and Mangaraí River.

The estimate is that, with the improvement of the quality and quantity of the waters of the Mangaraí sub-basin, there will also be a significant increase in the quality of life of the region’s 3,700 inhabitants.

It is worth pointing out that, indirectly, the 600 thousand residents of Grande Vitória that are supplied with water from the Santa Maria da Vitória River will also benefit.

By carrying out the diagnosis and community planning, as well as monitoring the project, Synergia has worked directly with six communities around Mangaraí. The objective of the work is to provide data and information that are indispensable for the preparation of the Mangaraí River Hydrographic basin Planning and, consequently, of the Action Plan for the development of socio-environmental strategies with the communities.

In addition, the goal is to set up an advisory committee to monitor the project, representative of people previously identified as important for the desired change.

For this, we carried out an intense process of engagement with local leaders, formal and informal, rural landowners and producers, associations and institutions operating in the territory and, mainly, with women and young people from the communities in general and members of the Quilombola Community of Retiro.

Female Empowerment

Target of the project, the female empowerment has been consolidated with activities that focus on the strength of local women and encourage the exchange of knowledge.

Our Education Center has developed a schedule of hybrid activities, with events in both face-to-face and online formats, suited to the current pandemic moment, ensuring that women can share their daily lives, experiences, and knowledge. The experience aims to generate recognition and empathy, leading these women to recognize each other and build support networks to solve their common problems.

social mobilization: women participating in the Rio Mangaraí Pilot Project
Women participate in the exchange of knowledge in the Rio Mangaraí Pilot Project. Photo: Synergia

In this process, the exchange of knowledge aims at self-knowledge, the empowerment of their skills, and the valorization of women farmer collectives. The activities bring collaboration into their daily lives, creating an empowered women’s network from knowledge sharing and collective organizing.

The process also covers the discussion of gender and, as a result, gives greater visibility to the importance of women to their communities and territories, whether from an environmental, social, and/or economic point of view.

A business plan has already been consolidated with a specific group of women. This action, inclusive, was recognized in a solemnity that the Espírito Santo state government held on this year’s Farmer’s Day. The tribute was important to show how relevant the actions have been to the region and how much it is hoped that the results can have repercussions in the communities and in the lives of these women, with knowledge that can be passed on for generations.

The cycle of knowledge exchange will also end with an exchange with representatives of women’s production networks, for the presentation of success stories, and with the construction of an action plan for the continuity of the empowerment process.

Want to know more about the pilot project? Check out other vehicles that have also reported on their actions:

Mangaraí River Pilot Project performs actions of social mobilization and environmental education

Mangaraí River pilot project was presented to public manager from Santa Leopoldina

Mangaraí River Pilot Project performs actions of social mobilization and environmental education

Mangaraí River pilot project was presented to public manager from Santa Leopoldina

Mangaraí River Pilot Project performs actions of social mobilization and environmental education


5 – Igualdade de gênero
6 – Água potável e saneamento
11 – Cidades e comunidades sustentáveis

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