* Community-Based Ecotourism is an action that contributes to raising family income and conserving natural resources.
It can be another source of family income, conserve natural resources, and delight people about caring for the land and nature are the goals of a project that Mamede Institute and WWF-Brazil develop today with the Canaã Settlement, in Rock that is 80 km far from the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul. Settlers are learning that simple living and caring for nature generate interest from tourists seeking rural experiences. In the settlement there are several natural and cultural attractions, with the possibility of the tourist to visit the fields; monitor the production of dairy cattle; visit the Santo Antonio Hill - where believers make pilgrimages and devotions; various water sources; natural environments with Cerrado vegetation, gallery forests and seasonal forests, and abundant wildlife. Typical foods, garden produce and family farms are also offered, as well as breads, milk and cheese.
For all of this to work, however, the community needs to be well prepared and organized, so the importance of residents' training and engagement courses.
And it is this kind of initiative & #8211; organize the community to offer community ecotourism services & #8211; that Instituto Mamede is doing in partnership with WWF-Brasil, through the project “Sustainable Municipalities protecting the cradle of Cerrado waters and the headwaters of the Pantanal” supported by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) and Brazilian International Institute of Education (IEB).
Don Eaton's WWF-Brazil explained that “the project, Sustainable Municipalities, seeks to promote economic alternatives that are environmentally sustainable for rural communities, contributing to income generation, strengthening the local economy and maintaining essential environmental services for production areas, rural communities and regional biodiversity. "
The work with Community-Based Ecotourism in the Canaan Settlement The participation of 23 community members has been built through a dialogue process since 2017, culminating in the first training module in July this year, based on Quilombola Community Furnas da Boa Sorte, located in the municipality of Corguinho (130 km from Campo Grande), Mato Grosso do Sul. There, the training has been developed since 2015 and, this year, the second module took place in February with the participation of 43 people.
Simone Mamede and Maristela Benites from Mamede Institute, have the partnership of several institutions such as the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UEMS), the Graduate Program in Environment and Regional Development of UNIDERP and Mato Grosso do Sul Tourism Foundation - FUNDTUR-MS. Thus, experience and responsibilities are shared in order to inspire and ensure the construction of more sustainable territories that perceive local-based tourism as an alternative for better land use and biodiversity conservation. In addition to encouraging research and extension on this topic and investment in training and structuring tourism in the state, they said.
Participatory methodologies such as open space, spoken map, participatory diagnosis, lecture and field practices have been used to conduct the training. The courses are divided into three modules: I) Planning and Sustainability; II) Environmental Education and Script Formatting and; III) Entrepreneurship and Marketing.
According to Simone Mamede of the Mamede Institute, “the activity has been conducted with great care and dedication. All monitors have undergone training and the application of the modules has been evaluated and monitored. Dialogue, perception and follow-up by both community members and other actors are frequent and enriching actions, which have added a lot in the formation process. Protagonism, empowerment, belonging, participation and social identity are the structuring themes that underlie the actions and each training module ”.
As a result of Quilombola Community Furnas da Boa Sorte It has already received some groups of tourists and has realized the importance of expanding the range of activities with the tourism potential. In this sense, the women, which represented more than 50% of the people who attended the last training, has mobilized to create a non-governmental organization that represents the community's women's core.
This second semester will include the installation of community-based Ecotourism interpretation and signage boards and by 2019 new workshops on specific topics are also planned.
“Community-based ecotourism has proven to be not only an income alternative for these communities, but a way of transforming people and recognizing the beauty and simplicity of everyday life. A learning about the culture of peace, living and living, a continuous and collective construction for sustainability ”, concluded Mamede.
* Text provided by WWF-Brasil and Instituto Mamede
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.