The project is based in the Jequitinhonha Valley in the state of Minas Gerais, which is among the poorest and most drought-affected areas of Brazil. The impact of climate change, compounded by intensive farming, has resulted in lower groundwater levels, streams drying up and increased soil erosion.
As a result, water in local villages is scarce and does not meet communities’ year-round needs. Much of the local population live by subsistence farming, and their livelihoods are increasingly threatened by these challenging conditions. More than half of local families now live in poverty.
This challenging situation is compounded by negative perceptions of women and inadequate engagement with the local municipality for help. Vivamos Mejor, with JTI Foundation’s support, will address both issues.
To improve water availability, a first priority is the development of water protection and storage measures, including the construction of 170 water basins and 22 earth dams to ensure year-round supplies.
Complementing this work, the project will develop community water regulations and the establishment of water protection committees to supervise scarce water resources.
With water increasingly available, the project will then train farmers in ecologically friendly agricultural methods, micro-irrigation schemes and farm management techniques. Applying these will increase local agricultural production in a sustainable way.
Throughout the project duration, Vivamos Mejor will also help support communities to understand the importance of female participation in decision making and improve women’s health and wellbeing. This empowerment, along with promoting an understanding of civic rights, will help women and familes more effectively claim their needs and better contribute to the development of their region.
The project aims to assist 200 families over its term.
Vivamos Mejor is a Swiss Foundation focused on long-term development cooperation in Latin America. Its primary goal is combating inequality through sustainably improving the livelihoods of underprivileged communities. Vivamos Mejor is Zewo certified since 1992 and won the Impact Award conferred by DEZA/NADEL ETH in 2016.
Vivamos Mejor and that JTI Foundation have worked together in Brazil since 2013.