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Rio de Janeiro's reforestation changes life in the favelas

Franka Braun's picture
Also available in: Portuguese

It’s not easy to reach Morro da Formiga, a favela that perches precariously like a bird’s nest on the side of a cliff in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. But once you get there, its dramatic view of lush forested hillsides is impressive. It wasn’t always like this though. Sixteen years ago, it was just a barren mountain with recurring mudslides threatening its residents.

Morro da Formiga is one of 144 sites of Rio’s reforestation program. I visited last week, together with a team from the Environmental Secretariat of Rio City Hall and a journalist from Agence France Presse.

morro-da-formiga
Morro da Formiga. Photo: Franka Braun


Since 1986, the Environmental Secretariat of Rio’s City Hall (SMAC) has led a community reforestation program and planted over six million seedlings on 2,200 hectares of land within the city limits. Rio had long suffered from deforestation of its hills as a result of development, causing soil erosion, sediment build-up in waterways, floods, landslides, and pools of water filled with disease-carrying mosquitos.

Buenos Aires: How the Maldonado stream went back to its bed

Maria Madrid's picture
Also available in: Español
The case of the Maldonado stream: The voice of a citizen

Imagine a busy metropolitan avenue crossing the length of Buenos Aires, Argentina, transited daily by buses and trains and lined with a large hospital, medical buildings, schools, shops and businesses.

Now imagine for 27 years this avenue flooding severely 37 times as if it were a river. During a flood, envision people being evacuated in motorboats, cars practically floating downstream, and cars and pedestrians on the bridge above it having to remain stranded there until the waters on the avenue below receded. It sounds implausible doesn’t it? Not for Buenos Aires residents it didn’t. The Juan B. Justo Avenue was such a thoroughfare.

Targeting motorcycle users to improve traffic safety in Latin America

Anna Okola's picture
Also available in: Español


Motorcycle riders and passengers have long been vulnerable users of motorized transport. In the Americas, with the increasing ownership of motorcycles, given the ease and lower costs, this trend is worrisome as the number of vulnerable users as well as those impacted by traffic crashes increases, sometimes masking a shift from pedestrian or bicycle casualties to motorcycle victims. These trends would be similar in regions such as Africa which also share the motorcycle-taxi (mototaxi) phenomenon.

Bringing Down Gender Barriers: Testimony of a Colombian Bus Driver

Isabelle Schaefer's picture
Also available in: Español

When I met Juliette Cadavid, I was immediately impressed with her energy and her smile. I was in Pereira, in the coffee zone of Colombia, filming a video on the mass transportation system of the city, Megabus, supported by a World Bank project.

But when Juliette told me her story, how she was the only woman to drive one of the larger buses (articulados) of the Megabus system (she says there are two more women driving smaller buses), how her career in the public transportation world started and how she carried on with faith and work till she landed a job in an urban transportation system, I told myself that this was a story I wanted to share.

With her urge to achieve her goals, she reminded me of the documentary Girl Rising, and how women face challenges in a world of men, but with the hope that they can overcome them.

As World Bank reports show, women have been key to poverty reduction in Latin America: more than 70 million of them joined the labor force in the last 20 years, and their income, on its own, has reduced extreme poverty by 30%. But there are still many barriers and inequalities concerning the type of work, or salary.

Juliette is one of these women who have been able to overcome challenges and stereotypes, and has managed to make her dream come true.

Listen to her story:
 

Bringing Down Gender Barriers: Testimony of a Colombian Bus Driver

 

 

 

How a ramp for people with disabilities can make a difference for a big city

Arturo Ardila's picture
Also available in: Español


Can a ramp for people with disabilities make a difference in a big city? The answer may seem obvious to many, but I encourage you to read on to find out the complexities and nuances surrounding the issue of mobility in a large Latin American metropolis. This is a true story. I was attending the launch of a project “Mainstreaming Inclusive Design and Universal Mobility in Lima ”project -  financed by the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) program and I was surprised to see people in wheelchairs asked to move away from the table where coffee, pastries and fruit were being served during the break. 
 
 At the same time blind, deaf and people with cognitive impairments, among other disabilities, were being actively welcomed.
 

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth

Andrea Gallina's picture

What is the solution to low growth in the Caribbean? That's been the question on the minds of  private sector, government and civil society representatives from 12 Caribbean countries for the last year.

They're all member of the Caribbean Growth Forum - a regional initiative designed to share experiences, ideas and expertise to promote a more prosperous Caribbean. Andrea Gallina has been coordinating the process since it launched in May 2012.

Here he explains what has been achieved so far and what the next steps are for the Caribbean.

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth

 

The most “human” bike-sharing system in the world lives in Buenos Aires

Andres Gartner's picture
Also available in: Español



As porteñas as tango, yellow bicycles from the Buenos Aires’ bike-sharing system have undoubtedly become a part of the urban landmark. In a city dominated by buses and taxis, bicycles have recently made a comeback and are slowly reclaiming the road through the bike sharing system –or bicing as we all call it. Known as Ecobici, this system has celebrated the millionth trip last December and is here to stay.

What makes Ecobici different from other bike sharing systems around the world? We think it’s about two simple answers: it is operated manually and doesn’t cost an Argentinian peso.

Jamaica + Animation: A match made in heaven

Mary Stokes's picture
At university in the US, animation graduate Kira Clayton was always asked what career opportunities she would have when she returned to her native Jamaica.
 
Now, after a a week’s intensive animation workshop from the best in the business, she is on the best path to a career and is looking forward to a summer program scholarship at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada.
Animation & Jamaica: A match made in heaven

What’s getting in the way of Latin America becoming a food superpower?

John Nash's picture
Also available in: Español | Portuguese



The United Nations estimates that with the population reaching 9 billion by 2050, global food demand will double, with much of that growth in developing countries. 
 
While the gloom-and-doom predictions of Malthus and a long line of neo-Malthusians have failed to materialize, still, one does have to wonder how all those hungry mouths are going to be fed.
 
What will it take to ensure that the recent food crises do not become permanent features of the world of the future?  While countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are quite heterogeneous in their production potential, overall they are well equipped to contribute to meeting this challenge.

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