Challenges to communicate water topics? Learn from Ame o Tucunduba!

Through the effort and passion of young women Ame o Tucunduba was born as an organization in 2016.  We do educational practices aimed at youth, to increase the participatory management of the Tucunduba river basin.

We believe that young people can and should be a protagonist of the change of their reality. We can’t wait for the government or someone else to settle down all the problems. Especially when we are talking about rough areas, which are the places that suffer more with the lack of basic sanitation and flooding in the rainy season.

So, today we are formed by eight women, from different areas of knowledge and we have three projects:

–        Faça Você Mesmo (Do It Yourself) urban intervention;

–        Fala Tucunduba (Speak Tucunduba) a 3-month formation course, that aims to increase the youth participation on the management of the water resources;

–        Expedição Tucunduba (Tucunduba Expedition) a technical visit along the course of the river, to recognize its extension and its peculiarities;

But not everything was as easy as everyone thinks…

Our first challenge was to gain space in the community by talking about urban rivers. It is difficult to access information on this topic, and when people talk about it, it happens in a technical and academic language. So, from the beginning of our organization, we decided to communicate in a simple, didactic and accessible approach.  I think the main challenge that we face today is to change people’s perspective on the city’s rivers. The majority of people see these spaces only as sewer drainage and not as the natural environment around us.

The urban rivers of Belém, especially the Tucunduba River, are living and dynamic rivers and should be considered in this way. At least, this is the way in which we would like to see this river in the planning of public sanitation policies in the city.

This story was written by Micaela Valentim, a young 22 year old oceanographer who co-founded the organization Ame o Tucunduba.