This cooperation project between Brazil and Cape Verde aimed at the joint elaboration of an economic feasibility study in the areas of handicrafts and the collection and recycling of garbage in the City of Praia, as a means of fomenting the generation of work and income, and the professionalization disadvantaged segments of the Cape Verdean population. The work was developed based on the concepts and principles of solidarity economy and cooperativism, following a structure similar to the Brazilian enterprises linked to the UNISOL association, in order to foster a development that is both environmentally sustainable and socially just.
Concentrating around 30% of Cape Verde's population, Cidade da Praia identified garbage collection and recycling as two strategic points of difficult organization. The garbage is not currently sorted, nor does it have a planned destination, due to the absence of a properly implemented recycling chain. Likewise, decent survival alternatives for people living in dump areas, in unhealthy and inhumane conditions, collecting leftover food (for feeding pigs) and recyclable materials are not promoted.
Another disadvantaged area in Cape Verde is local handicrafts. The City of Praia does not have its own identity in handmade clothing (based on ceramics, weaving, stones, wood, shells, crochets and embroidery) and many imported products are now commercialized. Crafts can be an important source of preservation of local culture and history, but need to improve the quality and added value of production, especially through the use of local raw materials.
In order for the local handicraft and refuse recycling sectors to be able to develop in a coherent and sustainable manner, and at the same time promote the generation of work and income for the population, and environmental preservation, it was necessary to elaborate a specific study that listed actions and structuring activities.
Held between 2011 and 2015, the project aimed to prepare a feasibility study for the sectors of handicraft and waste recycling in the City of Praia, based on the principles of solidarity economy and cooperativism. The study focused on the development of an action structuring methodology to: (1) map the formatting of productive chains in the target sectors; (2) evaluate the application of social technologies; (3) identify and encourage the participation of community leaders; and (4) support potential economic solidarity groupings.
The study was based on exchanges between the two countries. At the outset, a UNISOL team composed of representatives from the recycling and handicraft sectors was in Praia for contacts and information gathering. In the area of handicrafts, a diagnosis of the local artisans (about 50) was carried out in a participatory manner, identifying their socioeconomic profile, their needs and their priorities. This activity resulted in the joint preparation of a preliminary version of a project to strengthen the sector. In the area of recycling, after a visit to the City of Praia dump, a diagnosis was made of the potential of the recycling chain, together with garbage collectors (totaling 80 people), aiming at the development of solutions for the transformation of local reality . An evaluation was also made of materials with potential for recycling and the products to be manufactured and marketed, as well as the necessary investment and the financial return of the initiative.
In turn, a delegation from Cape Verde visited Brazilian experiences of UNISOL-related enterprises such as handicraft and garbage recycling cooperatives (including social projects with garbage collectors) and other local initiatives in the context of solidarity economy. The Cape Verdean representatives were also in the "National Handicraft Business Fair" ("FENEARTE"), participated in meetings with artisans and visited a landfill and a factory in Osasco, to learn about an example of transformation of recyclable material.
The feasibility study was finalized in 2015, indicating initiatives that could be implemented by the local administration of Praia City, as well as the means and steps necessary to do so. The proposals include, among others, a marketing strategy for handicrafts involving the Cape Verdean Ministry of Culture and the "National Handicraft Forum" ("FONARTES"), in order to enable better marketing conditions and income generation in this area. sector. It was also projected the implementation of a PET bottles processing unit, which foresees the acquisition of recyclable raw material, at fair prices, in the hands of the collectors, for the manufacture of brooms and other products.
On the Brazilian side: Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC);
On the Cape Verdean side: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Implementing agency: Central of Cooperatives and Solidarity Enterprises of Brazil (UNISOL Brazil) and Praia Town Hall
Isadora Candian dos Santos,