Home Institution

College of William and Mary

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


This study examines the method of income generation through handcraft production used by Projeto Saude e Alegria, or the Health and Happiness Project, in Urucureá, a small community in the region of Santarém, Pará, Brazil. Urucureá is a rural community of ribeirinhos (or caboclos), traditional populations living along the banks of the Amazon River and its tributaries. The project of organizing community-based handcraft production in the community began in 1995, and since then the TucumArte group has been quite successful in strengthening their production of woven basketry from the straw of tucumã, a locally abundant species of palm tree. This study compares the economic and social environments in Urucureá with those of Nova Sociedade, a neighboring community existing without the income stemming from the work of TucumArte and Projeto Saude e Alegria, in order to evaluate the differences between a community involved directly with a commercial market and one that lacks that link. Through this comparison, the researcher evaluates the effects experienced in Urucureá and the reliability of handcraft production as a mode of income generation on a regional scale. The study concludes that the effects resulting from the income generation are overwhelmingly positive in Urucureá, but that the reliability and replicability of this form of income generation is low, due to the dependence on high community motivation and organization, as well as sustained NGO commitment.


Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Growth and Development | Latin American Studies


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