In a huge step forward, a local fazenda (ranch) that we have been pressuring for three years now to open their own school, has opened a private primary school on the Cuiaba River. With this functioning school now in the area, our means by which we can achieve our goal of primary education for everyone in the area now must also change. Instead of focusing on getting kids into classes at our center, we are focusing instead on working to get this new school publicly registered so that all members of the community can attend, instead of just those few kids who live at the fazenda. In order to publicly register the school with the state of Mato Grosso, according to the agreement we have with the state Secretary of Education, the school must be within the state's borders. PCER is well within state lines, but the private school that recently opened is technically located in another state (although it is physically closer and has closer ties with the Pocone municipality in Mato Grosso). Using the PCER location in tandem with the new school is paramount to successful public registration. With this comes the ever-present question of transport--especially that on the river. I am hereby announcing a volunteer position for someone to help me build a 10hp boat motor that will be able to be used with solar panels and batteries to take kids back and forth to school along the river each day.
In other news, PCER is now officially partnered with Focus Conservation Fund and through that partnership we have teamed up with the Brazilian Federal Institute for Education, Science and Technology (locally known as IFMT). The goals of this institute align well with ours: it is designated as a higher learning institution which caters to rural dwellers, granting degrees in sustainable fishing, ranching, and eco-tourism practices. The idea behind the institute is that the rural fishermen's and ranchers' occupations currently are mostly unrecognized by governments on all levels, preventing many rural dwellers from getting tax breaks, private health care options, and retirement pensions. Granting degrees legitimizes these careers, but also offers rural dwellers a means of earning more through advanced degrees in their fields. IFMT also aims to provide basic education for rural communities, although its singular campus 10km outside Pocone is not sufficient to education to the extremely rural communities where no such resources exist. This is in large part why IFMT agreed to join forces with us. The other major reason is the interchange of sustainable technologies that we've been pushing recently.