Quilombola lands represent the preservation of the country's history and culture. Contributing to the strengthening of traditions, Neoenergia is about to complete a project that in the last two years has taken several social and environmental actions to 100 families from the remaining communities of Santa Rosa and Serra do Talhado “quilombos", in Paraíba's hinterland. The company has been promoting, among other activities, workshops on ethnic identity, production of booklets to rescue the history of the two communities, implementation of selective collection, professional training and the construction of new spaces for the organization of residents and clay pits to improve water safety.
All actions are carried out based on the communities' demands, valuing their leading role and traditional ways of life. The programs included education and environmental management activities, income generation and sustainable development, in addition to valuing the quilombola culture. The two communities were benefited, for example, from a workshop for raising funds and preparing projects, providing long-term autonomy.
“Our goal is to contribute to the development of communities, offering conditions to encourage their articulation with autonomy and respect for their rights. Besides promoting initiatives to improve independent territorial management, we seek to value black culture and strengthen the identity of the groups, to rescue and maintain collective memories," says Thomaz Toledo, Neoenergia's Environment Superintendent.
In order to stimulate cultural practices and an activist organization of the residents, the company built a new headquarters for Santa Rosa Community Association, located in the municipality of Boa Vista and founded in the 19th century. According to the organization's president, Edilene Monteiro Fernandes, the meetings were previously held in residents' homes. “For us, it was a very important action. We had the appreciation and rescue of our culture and, at the same time, a headquarters was built to be the basis for many projects and new achievements for our community. One example is that we will be able to commercialize our pieces of pottery, and this will be another source of income", she claims.
Pottery making was the theme of one of the workshops held for Santa Rosa residents. The community also received activities related to medicinal plants and the development of a community vegetable garden. These actions were developed to add more productivity to the work already developed in the region, but without neglecting local knowledge and concepts.
In Serra do Talhado, a quilombola community in Santa Luzia, works to recover and open clay pits will be started, aiming to improve access to water. The region is part of the so-called “Polígono das Secas" (Drought Polygon) and water scarcity is one of the factors responsible for causing losses to the local economy, which is based on agriculture, especially in farming and goat raising. Besides strengthening water safety, the residents had professional training, such as the course for palm production and other species used as alternative food for cattle, to be used as animal feed.
The studies to define the actions carried out under the project were started in 2019, based on public consultations with the residents, ensuring more transparency to the process and evidencing the leading role of the communities. The actions are part of the offset plan for Santa Luzia transmission line, acquired by Neoenergia in lot 6 of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) auction 02/2017, whose operation was started in the second half of 2021. The communities are located near the line stretch between Santa Luzia and Campina Grande, within the limits established by Inter-ministerial Ordinance number 60/2015.
The project was built to reinforce the supply of clean energy in the Northeast and is the connection point for two strategic Neoenergia projects in the segment of generation from renewable sources, the Chafariz Wind Complex and Luzia Solar Complex, which are under construction in the same region.
The works of the wind complex also benefited the community of Serra do Talhado, with the support to Associação Comunitária das Louceiras Negras da Serra do Talhado, an entity comprising women from the Quilombola community, which produces pottery pieces, such as pans and pots. The visual identity was redesigned, providing increased visibility to the work done by the artisans, as well as an entrepreneurship course.