Meeting the needs of people suffering from food insecurity in Porto Alegre, Brasil

Movimento #AFomeTemPressa, January 2022

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Movimento #AFomeTemPressa– Brazil

Social Solidarity Economy entity description:

ElHambreTienePrisa (Movimento #AFomeTemPressa) is a social movement, although it is not a formal legal entity. It is structured as a dynamic of voluntary work and articulation of people and member organizations aimed at meeting the needs of people suffering from food insecurity, both in a situation of life on the streets and in the poorest communities on the outskirts of the city of Porto Alegre, capital of the province of Rio Grande do Sul, in the extreme south of Brazil.

In addition to the more than a thousand people who benefit weekly from food, the initiative provides collective actions in support of community structures that generate work and income through recycling, distribution of clothes, distribution of basic food baskets, collective work offices to solve community problems, etc.

Member of: RIPESS LAC; the Latin American Confederation of Workers’ Cooperatives and Mutuals (COLACOT) and the network of food producers’ initiatives that produce food for the poorest populations in Porto Alegre which includes more than 15 movements and organisations.

Covid-19 Context

The issue of hunger and exclusion predates the pandemic but has become much more acute since the coup that interrupted the experience of popular government (Lula and Dilma) in 2016.

The coup, in addition to the handing over of the country’s strategic capital to transnational corporations, interrupted a wide range of social inclusion programmes, income distribution, correction of historical social asymmetries. This generated the return of hunger, extreme poverty, homelessness, etc.

General description of the Social Solidarity Economy initiative:

The methodological proposal is based on 3 basic strategies:

1. Develop a concrete, regular action that benefits people and communities in situations of food and nutrition insecurity.

2. Link work teams with specific responsibilities for each organised group.

3. Promote the debate on the structural and circumstantial factors that lead parts of the population to live in a situation of food and nutrition insecurity, poverty, and social exclusion.

Key actions/activities:

The Movement currently has a central unit and 8 community units (community kitchens) that carry out weekly activities involving more than a thousand meals a week.

Key partners:

● A group of more than 60 volunteers who contribute according to their availability, either financially or by dedicating part of their time to the activities of making and distributing food, or by collaborating with their skills.

● The Solidarity Production Chain of Native Fruits, a network of more than 60 organisations and enterprises of social and solidarity economy and agroecology.

● The Latin American Confederation of Workers’ Cooperatives and Mutuals - COLACOT.

● Some cooperatives and organisations that support with regular and/or occasional contributions of agricultural products.

● Central Workers’ Union CUT.

● The Landless People’s Movement - MST

Main results and impact:

From the movement’s perspective there is clear awareness that the actions aim to fight the consequences of the current situation rather than solving the problem and the causes. This clearly points to the precarious nature of the actions. However, it is abundantly clear that what can be done in very significant for the beneficiaries and for the work teams, both in their pragmatic aspects and in methodological learning.

There is still much to be done in terms of political debate, outreach, awareness raising and reflection on the issue.