Brazilian craftsmanship project wins Development Marketplace 2003

January 2004 -

Not the local development authorities but the local inhabitants themselves are often the ones to present the most effective solution to a development problem. With this idea in mind, the World Bank organises the Global Development Marketplace once every 12 to 18 months. This is a world-wide contest in which new initiatives in developing countries can win start-up capital. There were a total of 2700 entries this year. In December 2003, 183 finalists came to the World Bank's headquarters in Washington DC to present their projects.

Among the 47 ultimate winners were several ideas that are also interesting from a cultural perspective. The establishment of a Brazilian craftsmanship industry in paper, for example. The tropical rainforests of the Amazon that suffer from urbanisation, illegal logging and excessive grazing are being further destroyed by farmers that burn off parts of the forest to acquire farming land. A number of entrepreneurs in Brazil now want to use the plants in the rainforest to make and paint decorative paper. The paper is made using a nearly lost technique imported from Japan, and then processed in a way that is traditional for the locals, using natural dyes. The project offers work for small farmers, the unemployed from the city, local craftsmen and artists. It also supports biodiversity and protects the rainforest.