Resilient Communities at Sinal Do Vale

There is a growing trend globally to develop what is termed ‘Resilient Communities’. This is a term used to describe the sustained ability of a community to utilise their available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.


Fellow Member Sinal Do Vale is a perfect example of an ecosystem that has been developed with resilience in mind. The core driving principle at Sinal Do Vale is to: “Create solutions using whatever resources are available at hand.”


Located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Sinal Do Vale has seen first hand and suffered the impacts of urbanisation in recent decades as the rate of environmental degradation in the area increased to make room for urban development. New networks of roads have replaced the waterways and other natural resources.


Despite these various challenges, the Sinal Do Vale community has established itself as a ‘Resilient Community’, one that sees people from all over the globe coming to visit them in order to learn best practice on how to effectively balance the needs of the community with the preservation of history and also ensure commercial viability and long-term sustainability.

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“We have been able to show for the first-time how protection affects thousands of species, including plants, mammals, birds and insects. This has provided us with important insights into these areas – which previous studies were not able to do,” Co-lead author of the study, Dr Claudia Gray, from the University of Sussex, said. 


“Previously, regional or global studies of protected areas have mostly used information from satellite photos, to look at changes in forest cover. Instead, we used a particularly exciting new dataset, which brings together information collected on the ground by hundreds of scientists all over the world.”


From the study, scientists also discovered protection is most effective when human use of land for crops, pasture and plantations is minimised. The results suggest that better management across the existing protected area network could more than double its effectiveness.

Sinal Do Vale has established itself as a school for change / agent of transformation for resilient communities. Not only is it attracting young people who’d like to know the answer to the question: “How do I make a positive difference?” but it’s also attracting leaders and entrepreneurs who want to transform their communities in times of increased complexity.


Sinal Do Vale engage with their local community in order to co-create solutions for the various challenges they face, they also engage various change-agents and volunteers from across the globe to come into their local communities and practically implement solutions they believe in theory can work.


This approach has attracted volunteers, academics and leaders from all over the world to come to Sinal Do Vale and create a path for learning and creating solutions of how the community can become more resilient. This has inadvertently created a school for change agents, a training ground for innovation, and a safe space for the co-creation of ideas in order to find solutions to the challenges the world faces.


At Sinal Do Vale, people learn to not only challenge their assumptions, they learn how to practically implement their ideas and review their effectiveness. As well as that, people learn how to mobilise resources and people towards a common goal enabling these people to re-create similar models in their own communities.

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