The Communidades Program, Fortaleza

Lieu : Fortaleza (Brésil)

Echelle géographique (territoire concerné) : Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza, 2,5 million inhabitants

Echelle temporelle : since 1991

Description de l'action

Contexte et historique

The programme initially established, in 1991, an inter-institutional council for decision-making regarding programme implementation. However, it was not until 1993 that the structure of the Council was finalised and finally approved by the Governor of the State of Ceara in 1994. Since 1995, the Council membership has been expanded and regular monthly meetings are held with the active participation of all stakeholders of the programme.

Initiateurs et porteurs du projet

the State Government of Ceara


The programme involves three components: Housing, Job Creation and Revenue Generation, and Training, and the creation of a broad-based and participatory institutional framework for urban governance. The concept behind the "Communidades" approach is to strengthen civil society and citizenship by providing access to affordable housing, jobs and training. The programme consists of 8 micro urban development projects involving a partnership arrangement between State Government of Ceara, the municipalities of Eus bio, Maracanau, Pacatuba and Maranguape, the Federal Institute of Technology of Ceara (ETFCE), citizen's associations in the four municipalities, the GRET - a NGO - and the Communidades network which includes over 25 institutions, primarily universities and consultants.

Groupes de population concernés

Families from favelas

Résultats obtenus/attendus

1000 housing units built in five municipalities since 1991 at an average cost of US$1,000

500 jobs created in five municipalities at an average investment of US$1,000 since 1991

15 social contracts signed between key groups of actors

A coordinating mechanism for participatory decision-making estbalished.

Moyens utilisés

- ressources financières (budget, sources, modalités)

Each housing unit costs approximately US$1,000 per unit, not including the technical assistance component, and is affordable to families earning less than $200 per month. Each job created represents an investment of approximately US$ 1,000.


Information des groupes concernés (buts, moyens)

Documentation and dissemination of information to local authorities, state governments, community-based organisations and activist groups:

This function is carried out by the "Cidades" which maintains a depository of 3000 documents, 80 journals, 200 video films and 4000 photos. This information covers key aspects of housing and urban development, job creation and revenue generation, social work and animation, environmental protection and basic infrastructure and services. It contains both local, national and international experiences and is disseminated to all interested community groups, technical staff and other key groups of actors. It provides and up-to-date source of information which can be used for training, education, policy development and awareness-building.

Mobilisation des groupes concernés (buts, moyens)

Regular monthly meetings are held with the active participation of all stakeholders of the programme

Mécanismes de consultation

The participation is a direct participation in decision-making and is carried out through the signing of social contracts between the partners of the programme spelling out the respective roles and responsibilities of each partner and institution. Fifteen such "contracts" have been formalised for the Communidades programme.

Mécanismes de concertation, de prise de décision

The decisions of the Council are transparent and are taken in a democratic manner, with each partner holding one vote. Its decisions are rendered public, thus rendering the Council accountable for its actions and follow-up. The Council's decisions are not only reflected in the budgets of the participating municipalities but also result in transfers of funds from the State Government. This institutional set up is supplemented by 15 social contracts signed between various partners in programme development and implementation.

Entité qui porte la participation (organisme de relais) (caractéristiques, fonctionnement)

Integration Council

This council is organised by the State Secretariat for Planning and is convened once a month with the equal participation of all actors involved.

The Council is made up of the following representatives and seats:

- State Government - 4 seats - Municipalities - 4 seats - Technical Training School: 1 seat - Associations - 4 seats - International consultant - 1 seat without right to vote

The objectives of the monthly meeting of the Council are:

a/ Establish guidelines and procedures for the programme b/ Coordinate and integrate the actions of the various contributing institutions c/ Allocation of resources of the programme and sollicitation of external assistance d/ Conflict resolution.

Phases (échéance de temps)

1. The implementation of integrated urban development projects at the neighbourhood level in each of the 5 municipalities

2. The "building of bridges" between partners that normally do not work together: State and local government, community groups, training and educational institutions, and non-governmental organisations are partners in the programme and contribute to various components of the programme.

3. Ensuring a lasting impact of the programme through the documentation and dissemination of information to local authorities, state governments, community-based organisations and activist groups.

4. The empowerment of people and their communities through direct participation in decision-making.

5. The establishment of an Integration Council to coordinate decision-making.

6. The creation of a Reference and Training Centre: vocational training as well as degree courses are offered in social processes and action, urban geography, urban planning, community leadership by a network of institutions.

7. An 'incubation" function: an integral part of the programme which is designed to explore, test and transfer innovative approaches in building technology, financing, social action and institutional capacity-building and management between and amongst state and local governments and key groups of actors.

Informations pratiques


GRET Urbano Brazil Rua Ildefonso Albano 935 - Aldeota Fortaleza Ceara Brazil CEP 60.115-000 Tél. (55-85) 226 1701


Une ville par tous, nouveaux savoirs et nouveaux métiers urbains - L'expérience de Fortaleza au Brésil, Robert Cabanes, Ed. Charles Léopold Mayer, 2000, Dossier pour un débat n° 100, 88 p.