Successful Cities Alliance slum upgrading project to be replicated in Recife, Brazil
The European Union (EU) has agreed to co-finance a project to reduce poverty in Recife, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco.
The EU will finance 75 percent of the $1.3 million project, which focuses on six slum communities in the Recife-Olinda metropolitan area.
The project proposal was put forward by the municipality of Olinda and the Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI). It was approved in 2008 and is currently entering its initial phase.
The Recife venture draws from the Technical and Social Support Project (PATS), a successful slum upgrading project in Salvador, Brazil that was supported by the Cities Alliance with the Bahia state government. The Bahia project is described in detail in the Cities Alliance publication Alagados: The Story of Integrated Slum Upgrading in Salvador (Bahia), Brazil.
As in Bahia, the project in Recife will focus on reinforcing civil society. It aims to simultaneously increase access to social services and spur job creation, particularly for young slum dwellers. Additionally, an advocacy component will articulate the need for an integrated social and territorial approach to slum upgrading that can be replicated throughout Pernambuco.
The social development planning and activities that will be developed as part of the Recife project will ultimately be integrated into slum upgrading programmes financed by the Brazilian government and the World Bank.
President Lula highlights Brazil’s slum upgrading efforts
In related news, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva highlighted the government’s support for its poorest citizens in a February 4 interview with the BBC.
“We have the biggest investment programme of shantytown urbanisation, basic sanitation and house building that Brazil has ever had,” the president told the BBC.
“When we created our growth acceleration programme in 2007, we invested more than 100 billion reais ($44.3 billion) to take care of basic sanitation and build houses.”
President Lula also drew attention to a new approach to policing that is being tried out in the Santa Marta slum of Rio de Janeiro.
“We are working in a way that the state is present in the day-to-day life of poor people,” he said in the interview.
“In the past it was only the police intervening with lots of brutality which punished the guilty and the innocent – very often only the innocent. Now we have police there, who are becoming a community police force.”
Brazilian police have been engaged in an ongoing confrontation with drug traffickers in the country’s slums. Most recently, at least 10 people were killed when police raided several Rio de Janeiro slums in an anti-drugs operation on February 4. The day before, riot police occupied the Paraisopolis shantytown in São Paulo after an outbreak of violence.
For more about President Lula’s interview, please visit the BBC website.