Our 2020 Fair Trade Project: Araramã Community Center

Kirra Bixby
5 min read Sustainability
Category Sustainability
Read time 5 minutes
Author Kirra Bixby
Our 2020 Fair Trade Project: Araramã Community Center

Each time you enjoy a spoonful of a SAMBAZON Açaí bowl, the impact goes far beyond your kitchen, as far as a community in the Amazon Rainforest. As conscious consumers, we continue to become more aware of how every product we purchase has roots that spread far beyond what the eye can see. One thing that sets apart a purchase is the "Fair for Life" logo you may have come across on SAMBAZON packaging.  

We are proud to be a part of a certification program that champions trade as a driving force for positive social change that benefits both people and the environment. We choose to look to the long-term, make sincere commitments, and act responsibly by giving back to the communities that make what we do possible in the first place. 

Over the many years that SAMBAZON has participated in the Fair for Life Program, we have brought many impactful projects to the communities that we work with and greatly improved their quality of life. Most of these communities could not have completed these projects on their own without our injections of large sums of money and technical expertise.  

How did SAMBAZON choose the 2020 Fair Trade Project? 

SAMBAZON’s objective when we set out to begin a Fair Trade Project is to improve livelihoods of those in our grower communities by supporting access to basic education, access to basic health services, improved quality of life, and we prioritizing smaller collectors and their organizations. The communities bring potential projects to the SAMBAZON Fair Trade committee and together they choose the most beneficial and sustainable project possible.  Once Sambazon completes these projects the community must then be able to support its ongoing needs.  

The community of Araramã in the municipality of Afuá was determined as in greatest need and highest potential for sustaining their project, a community center.  This space will give outside organizations a place to provide health, dental, educational, and other services that are lacking in this community.  It really ticked all our boxes for a Fair Trade project! 

Iranildo Texieira, a member of the Araramã community, explained what the Fair Trade Project is bringing “the construction of the building because we are a very need community. We needed it to strengthen us. It is important to me because it will be used as a support point to receive actions and visitors from the community." 

We met with the community on January 10th, 2022, and the local community representatives explained what they needed and how SAMBAZON could help with their proposed project. The project was selected by the entire community, evidenced by the gathering of signatures supporting the construction of a community center.  The SAMBAZON committee approved the request and selected the construction the Community Center for Araramã Community as the Fair Trade 2020 Project aimed to improve overall Quality of Life. 

Who makes up the SAMBAZON committee deciding on the projects?  

Representations of SAMBAZON’s Executive team, Fair Trade Management team, and the group that works with our harvest community are the key decision makers on the Fair Trade Projects. This group understands the requirements of the Fair Trade fund and how it must be used, and they also evaluate the sustainability of the projects, ensuring the communities have the necessary resources to maintain any projects SAMBAZON has built.  

The communities themselves determine what the project will be with the collective input of the whole group- not just one community leader or the Açaí harvesters alone. The project management is supported by the SAMBAZON technical team, as these communities do not always have the structure or people with technical knowledge for this.  

 What will the community center be used for? 

As we mentioned, the center will be a safe, covered space where groups can carry out charitable actions in the community.  It will also be a general meeting place for anything that will benefit the community and strengthen community spirit.  We expect a few community parties to be held there as well. 

We interviewed several members of the community who will be benefiting from this project. Oracina Martins de Souza, an Açaí Collector in the community, said that before the project, the community “didn’t have a place to meet or to receive outside people. Now we will have a place to gather visitors, a place to get together. The project is for everyone, we must always watch and care for it together.” 

Açaí Harvester Maria de Fátima da Luz Duarte explained “I believe it will help, that it will be a great benefit for the community. We can grow and strengthen ourselves with many advantages. The project will help not only the community, but all the Riverside people in the region.” 

What is the current status of the Fair-Trade Project? 

This Project will serve around 300 people. The construction work started in 2022 and is ongoing and is approximately 70% complete. They hope to finish the Community Center by April 2023.  

How does SAMBAZON set up the communities for success in maintaining the projects we build after we’ve completed them? 

The communities that we create these projects for are often isolated in the Amazon Rainforest far from access to any infrastructure besides the river.  They all have different levels of organization, community needs, and internal project management abilities. SAMBAZON helps fill in these gaps and provides the money and coordination to see these larger projects come to life.   

At the very start- we select these projects for communities that can utilize this big injection of funds to create self-sufficient projects. Ideally, our review and vetting process for the projects ensures the communities can self-manage these projects and once up and running the communities take over the day-to-day operations and ensure the resource is being used for its intended purpose. 

It is important that these projects do not cause dependence on SAMBAZON for their continuation, as we do not want them beholden to us for the project to continue benefiting the community. Community member Adriana Da Luz Duarte shared that the community center will “bring more joy to the community, as we had no place to receive visitors who come to do social actions. We can maintain the project with everyone’s help and a lot of partnership.” 

SAMBAZON couldn’t be more excited to bring this Community Center to life for the people of Araramã, and it wouldn’t be possible without your help in sharing the Delicious Powers of Açaí to the world. Each time that you purchase SAMBAZON, you vote with your dollar to support a triple-bottom-line business that gives back to the family farmers we work with. Our pledge, your impact. 

Kirra Bixby

Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Content and Loyalty at SAMBAZON

Kirra Bixby has been working in digital marketing for 8 years. Majoring in Communication and Media Studies with a focus on Journalism at the University of San Diego has provided her with a wealth of writing experience for different platforms and publications throughout her marketing career. Kirra is a lover of the outdoors, adventure, and all things Açaí, and enjoys sharing her perspective through digital media.

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