Mangrove Mothers with Purpose Climate Lab
The mangrove is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. It is the nursery of marine life and has great importance for the maintenance of goods and services – for example, artisanal fishing, extractivism, shellfish collection, culture and community-based tourism.
In order to change the perception of mangroves and to build a positive and nationally proud view of this ecosystem, Purpose Climate Lab partnered with Rare Brasil, Confrem, and the Association of Users of Pará’s Marine and Coastal Extractive Reserves (AUREMs), to develop the Mães do Mangue (Mangrove Mothers) campaign, aiming at inspiring and engaging new people in the defense and conservation of Brazilian mangroves.
Mães do Mangue is a network of female extractivists with roots in the mangroves and who turn the riverbanks into an epicenter of creation, care and life for future generations.
The mangrove is an important carbon grabber and carbon sink and it contributes to reducing the climate change vulnerability of coastal areas. This ecosystem, however, is vulnerable to threats such as deforestation, pollution, predatory exploitation of resources and disorderly occupation. Furthermore, there are still many physical and imaginary impediments to talking about mangroves to those who do not live close to them.
Based on research commissioned by Purpose (BLS Research & Consulting, 2019) and on the premise that by transforming a woman’s life you can transform an entire community, we’ve identified the opportunity to develop a campaign on mangroves and their communities based on genre.
Having this in mind, our focus was Pará, the State that concentrates the largest female fishing population in Brazil and where both Rare Brasil, Confrem, and the Association of Users of Pará’s Marine and Coastal Extractive Reserves already all have historical community activities.
Furthermore, in conversations with female extractivists from Pará’s coastal reserves, we also identified a fundamental need to promote greater connection and union between women from the different Extractive Reserves (RESEX) of Pará.
Theory of Change
By mobilizing women who make their living from extractive activities in Pará’s mangroves to telling their life stories and sharing their knowledge about the conservation of this ecosystem, we will be able to strengthen the field of female extractive leaders in the region and help shift the perception on mangroves and on their communities to a positive vision, one of national pride, in order to inspire attitudes aimed at protecting this ecosystem and the Amazon biome.
The campaign’s visual identity concept aims at presenting the importance of the mangrove through stories of the RESEX residents, reinforcing the ancestral roots of the families that inhabit the territory, their cultural ties, identity, fauna, flora and other characteristics that represent the ecosystem.
The Mães do Mangue campaign has as a common thread the life stories of women who make their living from extractive activities in the mangroves of Pará.
The campaign aims at engaging local communities in the protection of the ecosystem, based on the protagonism of women from Pará’s RESEX – female guardians who play a fundamental role in confronting the climate emergency and in searching for sustainable solutions for the survival of these territories.
Mães do Mangue campaign, alongside the guardians, highlights the importance of mangroves as true nurseries of life, for protecting species, the soil and rivers and seas, by showing a positive environment that talks about pride, ancestry and belonging.
During the campaign, which ran from July to September 2021, we developed four mini-documentaries that tell the stories and experiences of women who lived and worked in extractive reserves, and showed their role in protecting this ecosystem.
The first video was released on July 26, International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.
In addition, we launched a website to centralize campaign information; produced content for social media, so that they could be disseminated by the campaign’s makers, partners and supporters; and we also distributed Paneiro do Mangal kits to 13 local influencers in Pará, with socio-biodiversity products made by these women.
Thinking about disseminating the campaign beyond social networks, we produced press releases and organized media interviews, for the publication of news stories in local media outlets.
As one of the final products, we published a printed cookbook and an e-book version, both called Cozinha da Maré, which focuses on valuing the food culture of the mangroves. The book presents a compilation of recipes from the 12 Extractive Reserves of Pará. We printed 100 copies of the book, which were distributed to the RESEX, partners and gastronomy influencers.
To promote the book and close the campaign, local events were held in the 12 Extractive Reserves of Pará, during the week of Amazon Day (September 5th). In the events, women from local communities were able to connect with each other through conversations and the exhibition of the mini-documentaries.
In addition to the partnership with Rare Brasil, Confrem and the Association of Users of Pará’s Marine and Coastal Extractive Reserves, we also had support on institutional and dissemination from the following organizations: Ame o Tucunduba, Climainfo, Conservation International, Peabiru Institute, Manguezal Institute, Institute Nova Amazônia, Women League for Oceans, Oceana, Toró – Sustainable Gastronomy, and with the participation of Paneiro do Mangal and Iacitatá – Amazônia Viva.
“We rejoice to be able to share our gift in this book, knowing that it will be able to travel to so many places. For all of us, female extractivists, this represents the appreciation of our work, which is often made invisible. It also motivates us to increasingly strengthen a network for disseminating the tidal cooking.” – Sandra Gonçalves, RESEX Mãe Grande de Curuçá
Operation within the 12 RESEX
The cookbook and local events were able to connect women from ALL 12 of Pará’s coastal RESEX. This is a historic achievement of mobilizing local leaders of the region, which opens many possibilities for future connections.
Access to local press
The campaign was well received by the Pará press. Long duration (3 to 5 min) TV reports were exhibited. In all, the campaign had 55 hits within the local press, including online, TV and radios. Band TV’s local affiliate in Bragança transmitted the mini docs in inserts during their regular programming. Female extractivist leaders were interviewed, and even after the campaign, they continued to be sought out to talk about other topics.
Strengthening the connection
The events were great energizers for the communities. The campaign created opportunities for women to integrate, get to know each other and see themselves reflected in the shared experiences. Some of the women’s groups had not met for more than 5 years, and many did not know each other until then. The groups already plan to meet again. In addition, the campaign mobilized 26 organizations, including the 12 RESEX User Associations.
Appreciation of the work
After collecting recipes for the book, some women, such as Dadá from RESEX Cuinarana, started to sell their cooking in nearby cities. During the events, women gathered to fish, prepare and sell food together. The campaign strengthened production chains led by women, such as Sarnambi’s.
City Halls and Local Departments
With the events, new bridges were built with the local government. At RESEX Cuinarana, the City Hall provided the 1st venue in Pará for the meeting of women extractivists from the mangroves to take place. Local councilors and mayors participated in some of the meetings. And city halls and their departments have shown interest in supporting projects.
Each of the local events had its own format, organized by the RESEX women’s groups themselves, which ultimately lead to a variety of outcomes: Soure writing for the 1st time ever a letter with demands from female extractivists; fishing festivals in Mocapajuba; creation of a new delicacy, “coxinha” de turu, in Curuçá.
At the end of the campaign, for the 1st time, women from 11 of the 12 marine RESEX were together in an immersive weekend in October to think about joint action fronts. At the meeting, the Pará Coastal Women’s Network was formed, a historic result for the field.
“The more people, the more ideas. The more ideas, the more changes, the more courage. After all, we depend on each other.” Remarks from a local resident of Caratateua, during a local event in Bragança, Pará
“I believe we are contributing to a revolution. This campaign is a milestone on the north coast.” – Bruna Martins, Rare Brasil, Pará
for Equity & Evidence