Building a future at Barro Alto
Building a future at Barro Alto
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Farmer Joaquim Borges Guimanaes is benefiting from dairy programme Projecto via Lactea, part of our socio-economic development work with the community around Barro Alto in Brazil.
Our social investment initiatives within the town of Barro Alto and surrounding areas have been as varied as they have been valuable. Through early development of our Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT), we identified key community needs and have subsequently invested more than $5 million in improving infrastructure, creating employment opportunities, providing healthcare and developing education pathways.
However, it has only been through considerable community engagement and collaboration – the cornerstones of the SEAT programme – that this work has managed to be so successful. Working with CARE Brazil and a number of other NGOs has enabled us to target areas that are most in need and develop projects that provide the greatest benefits; like the assistance that has been given to help farmers increase milk and honey yields.
In fact, dairy products are one of the main products of this rural community and in recent months there has been significant progress in improving both the quality and the quantity of the final product. Using technical consultants employed through our NGO partner, CARE, the programme has addressed factors such as hygiene, milking rotas and overall farm management to achieve lasting improvements. “It has also been a question of meeting with farmers to discuss how they do things and what will work for them in terms of changes,” says Juliana Rehfeld, Anglo American’s head of sustainable development for Nickel.
Elsewhere, our partnership with the Barro Alto Sustainable Development Foundation has enabled us to extend the municipal hospital so that the facility now has its own maternity wing as well as specialised equipment that will enable doctors to carry out complex surgical procedures. We have also employed a firm of health education consultants to provide appropriate training to hospital staff, ensuring continuity and a positive legacy.
Our long term approach is further demonstrated in our work with Repro Latina. Through this NGO we have provided assistance in order to promote safe sexual behaviour and the adoption of a healthy
lifestyle among young people in the region. With our help, volunteers are trained to provide greater awareness on such issues as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy and drug use.
Other projects around the region include: the launch of the Centre for Digital Inclusion, which will provide hundreds of people with basic computer skills each year; a collaboration with the Barro Alto Cultural Arts Partners Association to offer students the opportunity to make and play traditional musical instruments; and support to a local sports foundation which organises volleyball and gymnastics under the auspices of Gol de Letra – acknowledged by the United Nations as ‘a world model in children and adolescent assistance in a social risk environment’.
The SEAT programme at Barro Alto is intentionally diverse in order to focus on the region’s various priorities, and we continue to learn more about these needs as the project progresses, through an annual forum and regular round table discussion groups. These outlets provide the platforms for frank discussions concerning all our social investment projects and enable us to continue to best serve the community.