Boat aid

Published: Thursday 30 June 2005

Funky learning: inside the Zon Isolated Communities Brazil

The Zona Franca Verde , a boat carrying some 90 people, has just concluded its expedition on Solimoes river in northwest Brazil. The expedition allowed 131 isolated communities who live along the river an opportunity to obtain birth certificates and other documents, medical assistance, environmental education and support for generating income. These communities are located in the vicinity of the 417-km natural gas pipeline built by the state-run oil company Petrobras.

The project was financed by Petrobras as compensation to local communities for the impacts of the pipeline. Fifty government and non-government institutions participated in the programme.

The goal is to raise local incomes on a lasting basis. So the main task of the expedition was a "socio-economic diagnosis", reported Valcleia Lima, the programme's community organisation coordinator. After a participatory process of setting priorities, the communities will be provided with resources for environmental, social and economic investment, noted Lance Viana, a participant.

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