January 14, 2021
Projects and social actions were readapted at Casa Imerys and at the Hub Capim mines in Brazil, to maintain knowledge sharing with our neighboring communities.
More than 2,400 people were attended by Imerys projects and social activities in the neighboring communities of Barcarena, through Casa Imerys, and in the kaolin extraction mines of Ipixuna do Pará, throughout 2020. As we aimed to maintain our initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic, prioritizing preventive health, the Community Relations team needed to reinvent the structure and methodology of the activities developed. By structuring it this way, we managed to guarantee a high involvement of the community.
Among the main challenges for the team were: mapping the Internet structure of all the communities that attended in Barcarena and then to evaluate the dynamics of the community members. We identified that the cell phone was the preferred equipment for people to stay connected, so the projects and actions were designed for this preferred device. “We developed a quick process to ensure the video classes were not too long, which enabled the participants to use their cell phone thus facilitating their participation. However, taking this format to the community who were not familiar with online activities was a challenge.”, reports Flávia Souza, Community Relations Analyst.
We also needed to adapt how we issued our information to the communities, which had to migrate from face-to-face contact to an easy to use tool that the company was already using and strengthened during the pandemic. “For us to maintain information and contact with communities without being together in person, we use Fala Comunidade (Talk with Community) on WhatsApp. We strengthened this tool through calls and video calls, to continue the relationship with community leaders”, says Flávia.
All Casa Imerys projects for Digital Inclusion, School Reinforcement, Sustainable Entrepreneurship and the Sewing Masks project were maintained with online video classes from March to the end of July. We then developed the projects using a mix of solutions from August to November, following the municipal decree of Barcarena and the preventive safety guidelines of the Ministry of Health, this enabled us to issue content remotely as well as with small groups of people. “In total, we certified 2,470 people, including 1,500 from the communities such as Vila do Conde, Bairro Industrial, Canaã, São João island, Curuperé and Acuí, in Barcarena; as well as 970 people from the mines. The numbers were very similar to our planning and exceeded our expectations. With in person groups as well as people using online training tools that have never used this platform before, the results were very pleasing”, she comments.
Marcilene Ribeiro, 30, a nurse, from Vila do Conde, explains that the School Reinforcement and Computer classes, made possible by Casa Imerys, helped to keep her son, Osmar Pietro, 9 years old, learning and up to date. “This project was an opportunity for him to continue to learn since the school had to remain closed during the pandemic. It was very useful, quiet, safe and contributed to his learning ”, says Marcilene.
Participant in the Business and Computer for Business course, Milena Alves, 23, from Vila do Conde, comments on how important the course's learning was. “I had the privilege of taking a free course and gaining learning and knowledge. Online classes allowed the flexibility of time and space, as we can attend classes from anywhere and at any time”, Milena points out.
In the seven communities neighboring the Imerys mine, in Ipixuna do Pará, in addition to reformulating the way of engaging dialogue with the community, it was necessary to postpone the launch of projects.
“The on-site social projects at the mine returned in August with biweekly meetings, with a reduced number of participants and following the protocols of preventive measures set by health authorities. We also implemented a volunteer project with Imerys employees in the mines and delivered masks to the communities, among other actions”, comments Cristina Mascarenhas, Social Projects Assistant.
Serving the Santa Maria do Pauporanga, Fortaleza and Canaã District, which neighbors the mine, was also challenging due to the difficulty of maintaining contact with riverside communities and those living in isolated areas. Despite this, the School Garden project and the Environmental Education project were maintained, the latter also extending information to protective health in the pandemic period. "Voluntary actions were carried out with Imerys employees, who took useful information to help protect the health of those in the community during the pandemic, we distributed masks to community members and took temperature measurements", comments Brenda Santos, Social Projects Assistant at Imerys.
Certification reinforces the quality of production for the food industry in Brazil.
With a desperate lack of healthcare supplies for Covid-19 patients in Brazil’s largest state, Imerys produced and delivered 3.3 tonnes of cryogenic perlite that was essential for safeguarding bottles of medicinal oxygen at the right temperature.
Materials that were previously discarded after use became raw material in the hands of community residents close to our operations in Barcarena.