Eixo_Forte_RegionIn an effort to take charge of the future of their communities, and achieve sustainable development based on community-based ecotourism, residents from 16 regions of the Eixo Forte (also known as the Juá) have developed a comprehensive regional development plan.

A federation of the various residents, community and trade associations of the region (Federação das Associações de Moradores, Comunidades e Entidades do Projeto Extrativista do Eixo Forte, or FAMCEEF) was created to lead the development plan while delegating tasks to 12 separate working groups. The nearly 18-month process of creating the regional action plan was highly collaborative and involved the following: community leaders, farmers, entrepreneurs, women’s groups, youths and many residents from all walks of life. CEN's local partner team, Eunice Sena and Paulo (Paulinho) Sérgio Campos de Melo, held scores of town hall-style and smaller working meetings to hear residents’ aspirations for their communities.

Afterwards, they presented their findings in a general regional meeting to present the outcome of their collaborative efforts. The process was then repeated two more times to not only develop and solidify ideas, but to ensure that the plan accurately portrayed the collective vision of the entire community.

The regional action plan covers a lot of ground — from creating tourism and community infrastructure, growing agriculture production, encouraging entrepreneurs, nurturing local culture, and identifying education and environmental conservation needs. The program details five programs and 44 separate projects.

tourist_cabinEach objective also identifies the responsible groups and resources needed to accomplish the goal. Recognizing increased income and employment opportunities, tourism plans for the area include lodging, canoeing, hiking, and building an adventure park and a ropes course. Increased agricultural output is needed for the future, and considerations such as the space and resources needed, such as training more individuals in organic farming techniques, have been identified. The plan also acknowledges the need to focus on sales and marketing techniques for greater economic success in producing local handicrafts, creating a brand for the Eixo Forte region and surveying past customers to find room for improvement. Environmental concerns are considered as an aspect of many goals, such as packaging handicrafts with renewable materials that can be reused. The plan also includes the need for reintroducing wild species to the region and campaigning for reforestation and replanting seedlings. With all of these objectives, there is also a management plan for coordinating how individual organizations will work with the federation administration to accomplish these goals.

The regional community plan not only gives an outline of the future these residents hope to have, but also helps working groups to build the capacity to coordinate and manage the implementation of the plan. They have control over creating their goals for the development of their region, which will ultimately bring them closer to achieving these objectives.

Read our draft Regional Development Plan for the Eixo Forte Communities. This document is the ongoing work by a group of volunteers who have been translating the 300+ page Regional Action Plan. Even in draft form, readers can gain a good appreciation of the scope of the plan and the extent of the communities’ vision, as well as the tremendous hard work of the community organizers and our partners Eunice Sena and Paulo Melo.

Additional Resources

CEN’s Community-Based Tourism Program
What is Community-Based Tourism?

Regional Development Plan for the Eixo Forte/Jua - draft English translation
Regional development plan for the Eixo Forte/Juá (Portuguese)
How our tours support the regional action plan
CEN’s Tapajós River Communities and Forest Discovery: CEN Founder-Led Tour