“Hearing the testimonials of the youth and farmers, we realized that the investment made significantly changed the lives of these people. It was the most impressive.” These were the words of Elvio Gaspar, Director of the Credit and Social Inclusion Area for the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) during a visit to Bahia’s Southern Lowlands that took place on August 10.
Gaspar was accompanied by a group from BNDES, consisting of the advisor for the Credit and Social Inclusion Area, Cibele Correa, the Supervisor of the Social Inclusion Area, Ricardo Ramos, and the Head of the Unified Economy Department, Angelo Fuchs. The agenda included the actions promoted by the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation, which are funded by the financial institution. The focus was the exchange of experiences about the challenge of sustainability.
One of the visited institutions was the headquarters for the “Build Better” Project, installed in Valença with BNDES resources. The project offers vocational instruction in the area of Civil Construction to youth from the region and has already benefited 37 people. The tour through the Mandioc Cooperative Alliance was marked by the laying of the cornerstone for the fruit pre-processing unit, which will also be installed with BNDES resources. The factory will assist the 191 members of the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers’ Cooperative (COOPATAN). “It will mean more income for the cooperative members and will allow for more high quality production,” said Juscelino Macedo, Alliance Leader.
“What we seek to construct are social inclusion alternatives by generating jobs and income,” said Elvio Gaspar. “We have searched for these types of model and the effect of the alternative implemented in the Southern Lowlands is impressive. “We need to document this work in order to offer it to the country,” he said. On November 23, BNDES and the Odebrecht Foundation signed a Technical and Financial Cooperation Agreement for investments in the social, production, environmental and training actions for the integrated and sustainable territorial management of the low income communities of Bahia’s Southern Lowlands region.