Instituto Gente

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The Coconut Coast and its challenges

The Pedra Grande community is located two kilometres from the main access road on the North Coast of Bahia, the Linha Verde. With just over 200 inhabitants distributed in 40 families surviving from extractive activities, they arrived there to work at the old sugar cane mill.
Located on the border between two municipalities, its residents have lived on the fringe of public policies and social development programmes for decades. With strong African roots, they still retain the main sources that guarantee the livelihood of their families: producing manioc flour, fishing and collecting fruit.

In the last two years, the residents of Pedra Grande were able to start to dream of a different future. With support from Obrigado coconut water and in partnership with the Municipal Town Hall, Instituto Gente runs formal and non-formal education programmes for 115 children and teenagers and 24 adults who study at the Castro Alves School, at a pilot project which aims to serve as a reference and starting point for a great development activity in the region.

The Pedra Grande Community

Instituto Gente is based in the Pedra Grande village in the municipality of Conde. It has a population of 200, divided into 40 families, who live in mud houses with thatched roofs in conditions quite similar to those of their ancestors. They farm the land using ancient methods. They get their water from the river running nearby, they fish, plant manioc, and, in spite of the difficulties they might face, have strong bonds and help each other out. This represents a key point in community development initiatives.

The Castro Alves municipal school, which has served this community since 2008, consists of only two classrooms where studied nearly 70 students, a number too large for such small facilities. Working through partnerships, Instituto Gente has contributed by providing school lunches and teaching material, thereby helping develop both children and the community.

In 2012, Instituto Gente built and is now running a new school building. This has led to a significant improvement in cognition, learning, and self-esteem of the students, who previously were introspective and faced learning difficulties.

Before and After

The changes in the community that show the evolution of the project.

The Classroom
The Classroom
The Headquarters School