The Social Mobilization and Community Participation Project was
sponsored by the EICOS Program and the Rio de Janeiro State Government,
as part of the Guanabara Bay Pollution Management Program, and
largely funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, BID (IADB).
The Guanabara Bay Pollution Management Program has implemented
several water and sewage treatment works as well as environmental
improvements, in order to gradually decontaminate this important
environmental area and enhance the quality of life of Rios
project which affected 163 neighborhoods from 7 municipalities,
reaching an average population of 5 million inhabitants. To survey
this area, the team employed 70 field researchers (10 for each
municipality), another 10 researchers to provide technical and
management support to the field work, plus senior researchers
and an image lab team. The Social Mobilization and Community Participation
Project established and coordinated by Professor Tania Barros
Maciel used the approach of participative research as a tool to
identify the main interests and aspirations of communities.
main goals of the project were:
To raise the awareness of the population affected by the pollution
management work, making them realize the importance of the project
for the Bays environmental recovery, and involving the community
in participative activities related to environmental issues.
To contribute to the implementation of environmental education policies
in the State of Rio de Janeiro, in particular for communities.
To provide awareness-training and environmental workshops to
help the creation of local Agendas 21.
At the end of the project, the population should be aware of the
projects importance in enhancing the quality of life, as well
as the environmental improvements that will result from the recovery
of the Bay. But, above all, they should become aware that the existing
problems are intimately connected to their identification of their
own needs and to a search for local answers. The main strategy employed
was to establish partnerships with local leaders, identified through
questionnaires and participative observation.
project also had the participation of the EICOS Image Lab, in charge
of recording the projects memories and stages, as well as
of producing visual documentation to illustrate several aspects
of the work , such as small documentaries and visual reports. This
video archives form now a valuable material stored at the Image
Lab Database concerning environment, environmental education, community
participation, community leadership and participative research.
would like to highlight the following project undertakings:
Creation of workshops for the preparation of local development projects
in partnership with local associations. These workshops generated
a project contest;
Trainings and awareness-raising meetings with community leaders,
conducted by a multidisciplinary team comprised by biologists, sanitation
experts, environmental managers, sociologists, anthropologists and
A questionnaire about quality of life, which intended to obtain
data about the habits,, attitudes and life conditions of the populations
involved in the project.
Social Mobilization and Community Participation Project represented
an excellent research field for the EICOS Program, as well as an
example of interaction between researchers and members of the community.
The bonds established between the research team and the population
still exist and continue to generate significant partnerships.
CHALLENGES FOUND AT THE MUNICIPALITIES