SERVE’s Development Work in Brazil

In Brazil, SERVE works in two communities with Caritas Parnaiba in the north east of the country.

The area of Ilha Grande (8000 people in 9 Communities) and Parque Estevao (200 families/ 817 people) are residents on the periphery of Parnaiba, the second biggest city in the second poorest state in Brazil- (Piaui) and are multiply deprived communities. They display all the characteristics of favelas as officially defined by IBGE. Families live in sub-standard housing.  There is a lack of clean water resources, sanitation, health posts, police stations, schools, street pavement, public lighting and washing areas. The social capital is weak and is evidenced by weak community leadership, poor self-esteem, violence, high levels of illiteracy, poor child attendance and performance at school, high levels of sickness amongst children, poor knowledge about rights, weak income streams and disengagement from social services and the political system.

A needs analysis carried out by Caritas Parnaiba has found the following:

1. Very youthful population living in fluid communities (Under 14’s-37%/15%);

2. The average number of children per family is very high in comparison with the average in the Northeast of Brazil- (4.3/3.6);

3. The level of formal education is very low with more than fifty percent of the population illiterate (Illiteracy-Female53%/Male 59%);

4. 45% of children attend school regularly but desist very early and leave school early;

5. Very high levels of single parent households (25%)- 34% of Catadores families are led by mothers;

6. 1/3rd of families in Parque Estevao earn their living through the informal sector from collecting rubbish;

7. Low participation in community activity (12% in unions/ 23% in community meetings);

8. High Unemployment rates (60%);

9. The average monthly income of residents is 40% of the city average- R$190 per month versus $R482 for the city of Parnaiba;

10. Only 3% of families save money at the end of the month;

11. Inward looking communities with little social interaction with other communities;

12. Proximity to dangerous rubbish dumps with many health hazards;

13. Survey indicates the following wish list- clean water 82%; pavements 69%; health posts 33%; police station 30%; school 10%; church 6%;

14. The people feel abandoned in terms of transport, rubbish collection, water, telephone, work, school, health post, police centre and roads;

15. All of the statistics for the Catadores are lower and more serious than for other residents in the community;

16. Lack of a cooperative or association to fight for the rights of the Catadores;

Active and Completed Projects in Brazil


Location: Ilha Grande & Parque Estevao communities, Parnaiba, Brazil

Partner: Caritas Parnaiba

Funding: €149,000

Completion Date: September 2014

The year 2013/14 is the third year of a three year initiative whereby the project targets two of the poorest areas in Parnaiba, namely the Ilha Grande and Parque Estevao.

The third year will exclusively prioritise the community of Parque Estevao. The project is committed through participative community development models to implementing:

(1) The provision of Dignified housing for impoverished families;

(2) The provision of basic community infrastructure including sanitation facilities and associated amenities;

(3) Community Education/Training and literacy programs;

(4) Human rights initiatives involving strengthening the capacity of Grassroots Lawyers and implementing Rights and Registration Campaign in favour of the Catadores;

(5) The strengthening of the Catadores Association and the running of a successful broom enterprise (brooms made from recycled material) by the Catadores( families who make their income from rubbish collection and who inhabit the dangerous city dump)

Brazil new house


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