Maranhão Rural Poverty Alleviation Project
Maranhão is the second largest state in north-east Brazil and one of the poorest in the country. The project is to benefit 29,700 families in 600 communities in 43 municipalities of the state, paying special attention to the needs of rural women and youth, as well as to traditional communities -- indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent (quilombolas) and fishers (caiçara), among others.
The Maranhão Rural Poverty Alleviation Project aims to reduce rural poverty and inequalities based on gender and ethnicity by promoting sustainable and inclusive development. On completion of the project, beneficiary families are expected to have increased their assets, reduced the incidence of child malnutrition and enhanced their food security.
One of the main objectives of the project is to improve the capacity of rural people to effectively participate in the local development process and to better manage their organizations. The impetus for communities' social and political participation goes hand-in-hand with the work to strengthen their economic capacity.
To achieve these goals, the project is to provide training and technical assistance. For the most part, it will build on existing resources, such as the networks of community-run technical schools, like the Family Farming Schools (Escolas Família Agrícola )and Rural Family Houses (Casas Familiares Rurais), which have been suffering from serious infrastructure constraints.
The project also aims to diversify beneficiaries' agricultural production, so that they can have better access to markets and produce sustainably and securely. It will do so byinvesting in renewable energy, water supply systems and production and marketing infraestructure and through support to the quilombola and indigenous peoples for obtaining land titles.