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The Association of Fishermen and Extractivists and Remnants of Quilombo do Degredo (ASPERQD) was chosen as the first technical assistance led by a community designated to oversee the implementation of its reparation programs for Samarco’s Fundão dam failure, in 2015.

The women of the community composed entirely of descendants of African slaves, located in the 17th region of the Doce River basin, in Espírito Santo, led the discussions made directly with the Renova Foundation and the companies, with the supervision of the Justice. The group will be responsible for evaluating and making recommendations on the work carried out by Renova related to Quilombo do Degredo, ensuring the participation of the impacted people in the reparation process.

According to Márcio Labruna, Principal Corporate Affairs who led the negotiation process with Degredo alongside the BHP Brasil Legal team, historically, advisory services have been led by institutions and/or actors outside the territories that require some type of technical support. The choice of ASPERQD as a technical advisor for the Quilombola territory of Degredo gives rise to a new perspective of community empowerment in the reparation process.

“The leaders are members of the quilombola community itself, represented by women, who bring the day-to-day empirical knowledge of that affected territory combined with scientific knowledge and a deliberate will to advance the reparation of damages more quickly. In other words, we saw in Degredo the emergence of true community self-management that tends to leave a great legacy of opportunities for its people”, Márcio highlights.

ASPERQD was chosen by Degredo in view of the historic link between the community and the Association for traditional family nuclei, enabling mobilization, organization and unity in the execution of their common goals and interests. As technical advisory, ASPERQD is composed of a multidisciplinary team, with knowledge of the characteristics and particularities of the territory and focus on the combination of efforts and technical and traditional knowledge.

This was a fundamental achievement that established a new mode of operation for independent technical advisors and was achieved through dialogue with the various actors in the process of full and fair reparation for the damages caused to the communities affected along the Doce River basin. The agreement will allow the Renova Foundation to proceed with the reparation in the territory of Degredo alongside ASPERQD and, in addition, represents the valorization of the community organization of groups considered marginalized in Brazilian society for several years.

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