Together for the Amazon: ECAM and Meli

Meli has started a partnership with ECAM, an experienced NGO that has much to teach us about the fight to protect the amazonian rainforest and its traditional communities!

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Author: Ana Rosa de Lima

Starting up a public interest organisation, a so-called “NGO”, can be quite challenging! But this path is also full of many rewarding encounters. One of these encounters was with the Amazon Conservation Team (Equipe de Conservação da Amazônia, ECAM). Getting to know the experiences of this NGO that has been active since 2002 in the Amazon up close was a great learning experience for Meli’s team!

Through connections via Linkedin, I got to know the work of ECAM, a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (Organização da Sociedade Civil de Interesse Público, Oscip) focused on social and environmental protection of the Amazon and the people who live there. I noticed that this organization was very active in regions close to Meli’s focus areas and I immediately contacted them. To my surprise, the team was very open and helpful, making it clear that we need more people for the work we seek to establish: protecting the amazon rainforest, centering the conversation around and with those who most implement this work already – the traditional communities.

Since our first conversation in May 2020, we have been getting to know each other’s work more and more and I have been able to constantly learn from ECAM’s experience. And in December 2020, we were able to transform this exchange of experiences into something even more concrete, when we started the first Meli and Ecam partnership project: *Quilombola Women Share their History*!

This project will be developed in partnership with the group Women in Action, Sharing Knowledge, Association of Quilombola Residents of Bracinho do Icatu (Grupo Mulheres em Ação, Compartilhando Saberes, da Associação de Remanescentes de Quilombos do Bracinho do Icatu, ARQSBI) in Baião, eastern Pará. This region, which not long ago was dominated by riverside communities, is increasingly threatened by invaders and their unsustainable practices. For this reason, support for traditional communities is becoming increasingly urgent in these regions which results directly in the preservation of the forest.

The project Quilombola Women Share their History will be part of the programm Women Who Pollinate the Forest (As Mulheres que Polinizam a Floresta), which seeks to highlight the guardians of the Amazon rainforest. For this the project will initiate a process of “Listening and Telling”, including a storytelling workshop parallel to a photography workshop, with the goal that the Quilombola Women themselves will make pictures and tell the stories of their community. Both workshops are going to be facilitated by professional women from the region, such as Cynthia Rabelo and Núbia Suriane.

You will get to know more about the project Quilombola Women Share their History and upcoming partnerships between Meli and Ecam soon!

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