Community Health Agents Unite with ‘Rocinha Resists’ Network in Solidarity Campaign [IMAGES]

Orientation on how to use mask, in Laboriaux, on June 3, 2020. Photo: Alexandre Cerqueira

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This is our latest article on Covid-19 as it impacts Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Photo-essay by Alexandre Cerqueira. 

The Rocinha favela-based mobilization network Rocinha Resists has been acting since 2018, organizing events “in an open dialogue with other favelas, to debate ideas, create concepts, and implement actions to transform the reality of this territory, taking into account its historical and emerging problems.” Rocinha Resists also serves as a support network in emergency situations, such as during the 2018 federal and military takeover of public security in favelas and during the 2019 floods. In 2020, more precisely from March onward, the focus has been on preventing and fighting coronavirus in the favela.

In an emergency distribution campaign that occurred between June 1 and 5, Rocinha Resists delivered 350 baskets of basic foodstuffs with hygiene kits along with 5,000 masks at several locations in the upper part of Rocinha. 300 volunteers helped make deliveries to families’ homes. The houses were mapped by community health agents from the Dr. Albert Sabin Municipal Health Clinic and by the Rinaldo de Lamare Social Assistance Reference Center, both in Rocinha. The partnership with community health agents was central in allowing the comings and goings through locations in the favela such as Rua 1, Roupa Suja, 99, Macega, Laboriaux, Vila Vermelha, Vila Cruzada and Cesário. The agents guided the volunteers through the alleys toward the assisted residents.

The multimedia records in this visual report were created at campaign activities on June 2 and focused on the valuable support of community health agents, who volunteered their time in an act of solidarity. They brought to the group their knowledge of care and of the locations of more vulnerable residents and less accessible places.

Preparation for the Day’s Action

Community health agent Cláudia da Silva awaits the arrival of volunteers to go into the field.
Volunteers and health agents work together.

Mental Map of the Alleys

The name of each person on the list of donation recipients was sufficient for community health agents to guide the group through a mental map of narrow lanes and alleys, which can only be drawn with the time, experience, and dedication that each health agent has for the families they serve.

Health agent Cláudia da Silva instructs the volunteers from ‘Rocinha Resists’ on deliveries.
Health agent near the slope at the end of Rua 1.

Delivery of Basic Supplies

The goal established by Rocinha Resists was to provide support for 350 families of five members each, comprised of a hygiene kit, a basket of basic foodstuffs, and six bottles of mineral water. The supplies, at an average value of R$144 (US$27) per family, were distributed beginning in April. By June, three rounds of distributions had taken place.

A resident receives basic foodstuffs.

Rocinha Resists is struggling to maintain support to residents due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic. To collaborate with the next campaign by Rocinha Resists, contact them through the Rocinha Resists Facebook page.

Videos of the Integrated Action:

1- The moment of preparation and organization for yet another delivery in area 99:

2- Community health agents ascend the alleyways of Rocinha to deliver baskets of basic foodstuffs, hygiene kits, and masks:

3- Community health agent Cláudia da Silva finds residents in Vila Cruzada for the day’s delivery:

Support our efforts to provide strategic assistance to Rio’s favelas during the Covid-19 pandemic, including RioOnWatch’s tireless, critical and cutting-edge hyperlocal journalism, online community organizing meetings, and direct support to favelas by clicking here.