Local and Community Development Program: Tá Rebocado


1.- History, background and context

Situation prior to beginning the experience Socio-economic indicators identified a reality of exclusion, which is common in Brazilian favelas. Housing and infrastructure conditions were desolate, contributing to alarming rates of health and social problems. Approximately 17% of workers were unemployed. Nevertheless, the historic and cultural wealth revealed the valuable human capital of this community.

The community census carried out by Pracatum in 1997 collected the following data: a population of 5,500, 77.29% of whom earned less than or equivalent to US$80 per month per capita; 17% unemployment; 6% illiteracy; 25% of housing at risk of collapse; 37% of lots with open-air water or drainage.

2.- Objectives, strategies and scope

General objectives:
The primary objectives include access to housing and basic sanitation, employment and income generation, increased education and professional-training levels, and improved health conditions.

Strategic criteria:
Community leaders from the Candeal were linked to form the Deliberation Council of the Pracatum Social Action association. This Council prioritized creation of programs to guarantee the communitys self-management and sustainable development. Pracatum then institutionalized its two programs: T Rebocado, and the Professional Music School. Priorities were defined within the vision that only through culture, education, community networking, and dignified housing, would Candeal be able to eradicate poverty and promote the social inclusion of its children. The first demand presented by the community was precisely urbanization, with emphasis on the housing problem.

5,500 inhabitants.

Territorial scope:
Neighborhood of Salvador/Candeal small.

3.- Actors involved and their roles

The resource mobilization policy constitutes a key strategy for the success of T Rebocado in Candeal, given the involvement of all the sectors of society (governmental, private and philanthropic).

Initially, Pracatum articulated the coordination between the third sector (in this case represented by the residents associations and Pracatum itself) and the public authority. A financial contribution of US$1.54 million was designated to the urbanization process through an alliance between the Federal Government and the State Government of Baha. A large part of those financial resources were administrated by the State itself. Other governmental bodies, like the Salvador Prefecture, collaborated with services and consultancy support.

The Committee for Information Democratization and the Solidarity Community Program Support Association are examples of philanthropic organizations that work together with Pracatum, providing technical and financial support to its professional training projects.
In the area of health, work was undertaken in conjunction with the Federal University of Baha and the Baha Dentistry Association.

The Electrical Company of Baha (a private company) also contributed technical support in the elimination of clandestine connections and through resident training on energy savings.

4.- Program or project components

The demands for housing, basic sanitation, and community facilities represent a critical factor for the social unity which emerged in Candeal through implementation of T Rebocado.

Until then, the Candeal community was excluded from decision-making processes which affected the lives of its members. As an example, the community felt threatened by the incursion of real estate speculation in the region, but was unable to unite to fight for the right to ownership of the lands on which their homes were built.

The lack of experiences in domestic spaces also represented a challenge for the establishment of a model of self-managed community development. It was therefore necessary that the Pracatum programs work in an integrated manner, valuing local talents, stimulating self-esteem, and promoting citizenship. Pracatums Music School, forged in the heart of Candeal, has had a fundamental role in this process; the School builds its curriculum based on the neighborhoods musical history. This school is now a national reference in the teaching of Brazilian popular music.

In addition, to guarantee the strengthening of local leadership and to create effective participation spaces, Pracatum institutionalized the following: a deliberative council, 45% of the membership of which is made up by community leaders; weekly community assemblies; the position of community mobilizer, assumed by a young person from the community; the Candeal Presente group, which is a volunteer group of community agents, and an alliance between the three neighborhood inhabitants associations.

Another challenge to the success of T Rebocado was the growing need to consolidate the quality of the actions developed, improving the use of technical, human and financial resources. For that purpose, all of the programs lines of action are being systematically evaluated. One of the main mechanisms has been active community participation in weekly assemblies, in which approximately 200 persons gather to critique actions, suggest adjustments, plan activities, etc. In addition, the constant information flow between technical support personnel and the community guarantees the programs transparency, legitimacy, and credibility.

As the community organized through the program, a Sustainable Development Plan was elaborated addressing social, economic, cultural, and political questions.

As a community-based, nongovernmental and nonprofit entity, and because it was created and built by a Candeal resident (the musician Carlinhos Brown), Pracatum was able to secure the legitimacy and credibility necessary to support the community development process.

Acting as an articulator of joint work, Pracatum was able to mobilize all sectors of society to participate with residents in the establishment of the Development Plan, attracting technical, human and financial resources from the public, private and philanthropic sectors.

5.- Primary instruments used

The objectives and strategies of T Rebocado are the result of democratic and participative construction among residents, local leaders, and technical support personnel from the institution. Demands are identified in the community assembly, which is also where proposed solutions to problems presented by the community are discussed. The neighborhood residents are the legitimizing base of the process, since they are the ones who identify the true needs lived in the community and collaborate with practical solutions. Active community participation has been a preponderant factor, from the need-identification phase to the moment of construction of proposals, establishment and execution of activities, and accompaniment and evaluation of on-going processes.

The institutions technical team and executives are responsible to formalize proposals into projects, developed and evaluated with the active participation of the community. The methodology developed is sustained in opinion research, censuses, weekly community meetings, socio-economic studies, and photographic documentation.

The guidelines are conceived based on: study of local history; cultural, aesthetic and physical environmental characteristics; socio-economic diagnosis, and study of the use of space. This information is enriched by inputs and proposals from community members in the weekly meetings held since 1996.

To design the Development Plan and the urban interventions project (housing, community facilities and infrastructure), Pracatum used data collected in a community census carried out by its technical team in 1997. That was considered the most suitable option because the data of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) did not take into account the specific geographical area of Candeal.

Specific data from the community integrated in the reflection:

  • Evaluation, study, and precise land registry of the typologies found.
  • Observation of social norms and behaviors with strong implications in housing conditions.
  • Observation of types of uses of private and public spaces and their interrelations.
  • Study of the optimal use of parcels and plots, of the topography, available construction techniques and materials, and climate conditions.
  • Conservation, recovery, and valorization of local cultural models.

6.- Achievements and main lessons learned

In addition to the results evident in the physical reconstruction of the community (housing, infrastructure, and community facilities), Candeal now celebrates decreased rates of illiteracy, health problems, unemployment, etc., at the same time that it sees the number of its youth capacitated for the labor market and prepared to exercise their citizenship, grow. Local development is only sustainable when the community has its own identity and assumes the responsibility to drive the process.

The former Candeal favela has transformed into city neighborhood, where the strength and musicality of the African-Brazilians is venerated. In addition, the Candeal community transformed into living example of utopia and fulfillment for other communities.

Another important lesson refers to the question of governance. Despite increasingly strong participation in the assemblies, provision of services was always left in Pracatums hands. There was therefore a dependency. How could inhabitants associations move beyond a demanding posture to assume a role as service provider? Local leaders very skillfully drove the communitys political articulation, but they were not ready to generate and manage the resources necessary for the provision of community services. With the problem identified, Pracatum began to invest in training community youth to assume the execution of services (courses, education campaigns, etc.), and in the reinforcement of the inhabitants associations, through the construction of appropriate infrastructure and leadership training.

Results obtained

  • Expansion of the water and electricity networks; installation of the sewer system with domestic connections in 85% of housing units; expansion of the drainage network by 500 meters; recovery of access stairs; slope containment, and expansion of traffic routes by 500 meters.
  • Construction of 122 housing units and housing improvements in 252 units.
  • Improvements to the soccer field, expansion of two community centers, and construction of a new community center.
  • Construction of a health center with a family health program.
  • Construction of a plaza El Milagro de Candela reform of Terreiro de Candombl Mutuiara, and recovery and revalorization of two water sources.
  • Dental health program with weekly attention to 126 children.
  • Sports activities: gymnasium for 20 adults, recreation for 20 children, and training of 28 community health agents.
  • Literacy classes for 90 youth and adults, information-systems course for 300 youth, and educational reinforcement for 54 children through art-education workshops.
  • Strengthening of small businesses, through entrepreneur courses for 20 people.
  • Professional training for 60 youth with courses on therapeutic-massage techniques, and dental assistant training. Also, professional training courses for 142 women on Afro-hair styling, musical instruments, culinary arts, candle and soap making, and crafts.
  • Development of the political integration project: political formation course for 22 adolescents and environmental education workshops for the community.
  • Finally, we also find development indicators in the popular imagination. The highly disseminated pride in being from Candeal is a reflection of the feeling of strong historical and cultural identity, and the pride in belonging to an elegant and creative community which is a symbol of resistance and fulfillment.

7.- Sources

XIV Educomunicao: Prcticas de grupos Afrodescendentes de Salvador, Baha Il Aiye Araketu Olodum Pracatum.
XIV.4 Asosiacin Pracatum Revirtiendo el xito en la Mdia, para el xito de la creacin de un espacio educacional.
Source: SCHAUN, Angela, Educomunicao: Prcticas de grupos Afrodescendentes de Salvador, Baha y sus articulaciones comunicativas. Ro de Janeiro: UFRJ/ECO, 2001.

Salvador, final del siglo XX: Intervenciones recientes en reas de habitacin, cambios y permanencias en el habitar.
Source: Gordilho Souza, Angela, Lmites del habitar: Segregacin y exclusin en la configuracin Urbana contempornea de Salvador y perspectivas al final del Siglo XX. Salvador: EDUFBA, 2000.

8.- Contacts

APAS Asociacin Pracatum Accin Social
Calle Paulo Alfonso Candeal Pequeo de Brotas Salvador/Baha, Brazil
CEP: 40.280-390
Tel: (55-71) 276-4949
Fax: 276-1110