Centro de Educação Popular e Formação Social (CEPFS), an IAF grantee partner since 2010, took a top honor at the ceremony awarding Von Martius Prizes for Sustainability during the annual Ecogerma Conference that took place in Sao Paulo on Sept. 30 and Oct 1 hosted by the Brazil-Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the assistance of the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo.
The theme for this year was the impact of solutions to the crisis in water and energy. CEPFS has been helping farming communities in the state Paraíba withstand some of the worst droughts afflicting the Brazilian Northeast in decades and generally improve access to water in the prevailing semi-arid conditions. With its IAF grant, CEPFS installed compost toilets, introduced cisterns to capture and store rainwater and provided the training necessary for the farmers to apply farming techniques that consider the limited water resources.
For the past six years, these and other efforts undertaken by CEPFS have been recognized with awards in the Humanity category of the Von Martius Prizes, but in 2015 CEPFS placed first for its project titled Convivência con o semiarido, or coping with semiaridness, cosponsored by the national petroleum company Petrobras as part of its social responsibility program. The benefits reached Brazilians in the municipalities of Cacimbas, Desterro, Imaculada, Matureia, Texeira and São José do Bomfin, also in Paraíba. Joining in the applause were entrepreneurs, public officials and representatives from research institutes and civil society.
Talk about community-led development!