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Starting on May 24, 100,000 non-medical face masks will be delivered to support the protection of communities in the municipality of Barcarena against the coronavirus.

These masks were produced by seamstresses who received technical training as part of the Travessia initiative. The project also has the support of the program Todos pelo Trabalho, Alunorte, Albras and the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative (SBI), in addition to the financial support of Hydro’s Sustainability Fund (HSF) and PPA Solidarity (formed by USAID, NPI Expand, Partners for the Amazon Platform - PPA and SITAWI Finance for Good).

In addition to the prevention of Covid-19, the generation of income for seamstresses with their activities impaired by the pandemic and the development of the local economy is being stimulated.

By June of this year, the production of masks for donation will reach 150,000 units. All the material used to make the units, such as fabrics, trims, and packaging, are being provided by the initiative. After being sanitized and packed, the masks will be donated to local non-profit organizations that have registered on the SBI platform to contribute to the delivery of the masks to the population. The initiative also has the support of the City Hall and follows a plan based on technical criteria of the incidence of the disease in the city, as well as data on social vulnerability to infection (age range, housing density, and others). 

In addition to the civil society organizations, the CRAS – Social Assistance Reference Center – units will support the distribution in locations not covered by the registered entities. 

"Hydro’s Sustainability Fund has teamed up with local and international partners in search of effective solutions to the needs of the municipality in the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the action fronts is the promotion of solutions that lead to the improvement of the communities' well-being, in the expectation of meeting local needs, from the dialogue about priorities. We are a partner committed to the territories and, through Travessia Barcarena, we seek to contribute to the protagonism of women and income generation for families, at this challenging time for everyone," says Eduardo Figueiredo, executive director of HSF. The consulting firm Synergia Socioambiental is responsible for implementing this front of the project. 

The municipal secretary of Health of Barcarena, Eugência Teles, highlighted the partnership with the company for the prevention of Covid-19. “The City of Barcarena is grateful for the joint work with Hydro, through the Synergia group, which is concerned to be donating an important way of individual protection: masks. They bring individual protection and, consequently collective, as it helps to reduce the transmission rate of the coronavirus in our municipality, demonstrating the partnership of Hydro with the control of this disease in Barcarena,” she said.

Technical training

During the project, about 90 seamstresses are receiving technical guidance in cutting and sewing, about the specifications and requirements for the production of non-medical masks, including guidance with health professionals to face Covid-19. The training also involves the areas of entrepreneurship, business, and the use of digital tools to improve local production and expand the market, generating continuous development of new products and sustainability of business in the region after the pandemic.

The seamstresses were mobilized by three local community associations, partners of the project: Centro Comunitário de Vila Nova, Associação de Moradores Renascer em Cristo and Associação Comunitária Luz Divina

Angela Araújo, a resident of Vila Nova, maintains a family tradition in sewing and sees in the initiative the opportunity to achieve financial autonomy. "I saw my mother support her family by sewing, and my intention is to become a professional and earn a living. When I understood that sewing enables me to work and take care of my son, it gained strength," says Angela, who participated in the first training modules of the project.

About Travessia Barcarena

This action is part of the program Travessia Barcarena, a result of HSF's collaboration with multidisciplinary partners to bring humanitarian aid to families and organizations in the region, prioritizing the hiring of services and acquisition of local products and providing technical training to the communities. The program has a total investment of BRL 3.8 million, of which BRL 2.5 million is invested by Hydro's Sustainability Fund and BRL 1.3 million via PPA Solidarity, formed by partners USAID, NPI Expand managed by Palladium, Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) and SITAWI Finance for Good. In addition to supporting the seamstresses, Travessia Barcarena promotes training and income generation for family farmers in the region, who will have part of their production purchased and subsequently donated to local institutions.

Hydro’s Sustainability Fund

It is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable development and supports community-based projects with participatory dynamics. Established in 2019, Hydro’s Sustainability Fund was born from a joint commitment by the companies Hydro, Albras and Alunorte to invest R$ 100 million to leverage initiatives and actions that contribute to the sustainable development of Barcarena (PA), over 10-year period. The investments in this territory are the initial milestone of HSF's trajectory.

The definition of the guidelines for investments made by Hydro’s Sustainability Fund is made in partnership with organized civil society, in participatory processes, and through open dialogues. In Barcarena, the first partnership is with the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative (IBS).

About PPA Solidarity

USAID, NPI Expand, the Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) and SITAWI Finance for Good have come together to create a partnership to help fight COVID-19 in Brazil. "PPA Solidarity: Response to COVID-19 in the Amazon" is an initiative that engages the private sector in strategic partnerships to leverage innovative and scalable solutions to strengthen rapid emergency response and combat COVID-19. In the Amazon, the Hydro Sustainability Fund is a partner in the initiative. The initiative works with civil society and private sector partners on four lines of action: Mobilize communication campaigns on risks and community engagement in mitigation and protection measures to address COVID-19 and empower vulnerable and/or isolated communities to protect themselves from exposure and transmission of COVID-19; Promote infection prevention and control measures by COVID-19 in health facilities and communities; Support the local health system (hospitals, health centers and community health units/services) to respond and control COVID-19 through health services and surveillance; Support entrepreneurs, small social impact businesses and startups, producer groups and cooperatives with small financial contributions, business advisory services and access to low-interest loans or micro-credit.

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