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Project in progress | Female empowerment


The project

The "Aguapé Project" main goal is to value the work of Pantanal women and disseminate traditional knowledge associated with the use of water hyacinth fiber, providing a secure income alternative for the community. 


The Traditional Community of Barra de São Lourenço is located at Serra do Amolar, 216 km north of Corumbá, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Access to the community is only possible via the Paraguay River, with the route from Corumbá to Barra of the São Lourenço River lasting an average of 6 hours. 

The community of Barra do São Lourenço has its roots coming from different local ethnic groups, such as the Guató Indians and former slaves. Tourist fishing, especially the collection of live bait, has become one of the main sources of income in the region. Furthermore, many residents dedicate themselves to artisanal fishing and provide services for fishing tourism boats. To complement this, they also grow subsistence foods, adapting to the cycle of floods and droughts in the sub-Pantanal of Paraguay. 

Species: Aguapé

(Eichhornia crassipes) 

Aguapé (Eichhornia crassipes) is a species of aquatic plant from the Pontederia family (Pontederiaceae), managed for centuries by traditional communities and with a wide variety of uses. In Pantanal-sul-Matogrossense, crafts are practiced using water hyacinth fiber, which is collected in bays and canals. 

This practice reflects traditional indigenous knowledge long practiced by the Guató People, inhabitants of the region. Local crafts showcase the region's fauna, flora, and distinctive characteristics, bearing indigenous influence that expresses the beliefs, habits, traditions, and cultural heritage of the Pantanal people. 

Community history

Prior to engaging in crafts utilizing water hyacinth fiber, numerous women from the traditional Pantanal community of Barra de São Lourenço were involved in collecting live bait, sold to tourists in the region. However, this activity is deemed risky due to women having to enter the water to capture animals trapped in water hyacinth, some of which may be venomous. Additionally, frequent exposure to water increases the risk of gynecological infections among these women. 

Confronted with these challenges, a group of 25 women (including Catarina Ramos da Silva, the custodian of this ancestral knowledge responsible for imparting techniques for crafting artisanal pieces to local women) recognized the significance of disseminating traditional knowledge linked to the use of water hyacinth fiber. They viewed it as a safer alternative for Pantanal artisans to sustain their livelihoods. Consequently, the Association of Women Artisans of the Traditional Community of Barra do São Lourenço (Associação Renascer) was established.


Presently, however, the group encounters infrastructure challenges, lacking adequate physical space to conduct crafting, dry and process the fiber, and fashion the pieces. Additionally, they need to rent boats for collecting water hyacinth from more remote areas.


The project aims to address these challenges by acknowledging the importance of providing a secure environment for these women's production. This involves facilitating access to land and biodiversity, alongside safeguarding and preserving their cultural heritage. 

Historical impacts:

2000: The Pantanal is recognized as a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, highlighting its ecological and cultural relevance. 

2015: Creation of the Associação Renascer, formed by 25 women from the Traditional Community of Barra de São Lourenço, with the aim of generating alternative income through crafts using aguapé fiber. 

2019: Formalization of Avon’s support for the “Aguapé” project.

2022: Study proves that Indigenous and Traditional Peoples are essential for the preservation of forests  

2023: Start of the “Aguapé” project.

Full name:

Aguapé Project: Valorization of the Associação das Mulheres Artesãs da Comunidade Tradicional of Barra de São Lourenço


12 months.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

Project activities

Objective 1. Train women to craft aguapé, generating new sources of income and adding value to products developed by women in the community 

Production of materials to add value to the crafts: packaging, labels and the Association's logo will be created, with the aim of giving more visibility to the work of artisans, in addition to adding value to the product sold. The labels should tell a little about the history of the art of working aguapé fiber and its relationship with traditional knowledge associated with the use of biodiversity. All definitions will be made together with women, through collective meetings.


Training for aguapé management and craft production: two training courses will be offered, taught by Catarina Ramos da Silva – the guardian of this ancestral knowledge, with the aim of disseminating the craft-making technique among the association's own artisans; and to qualify women for access to markets.

Objective 2. Develop a manual/protocol of good aguapé management practices, which allows the dissemination of traditional knowledge associated with aguapé within the community 

Preparation of a manual guide of good practices: the guide will be created together with women from the community, and will be based on their experiences and agreements made between them on the ways to manipulate the species, respecting its biological characteristics, to maintain balance and maintenance of the species in their natural environments.

Objective 3. Invest in infrastructure and community equipment for working with aguapé 

The activities of this goal revolve around the construction of an 80m² warehouse within the community area, which will ensure that the fibers remain dry during the period necessary for the elaboration of the crafts, in addition to serving as a place for group meetings and as a strategic point for commercialization. A motorboat will also be purchased, which will bring greater independence to women in collecting aguapé, allowing them to travel to more distant waters in search of the raw material. 


women trained to develop crafts using aguapé fiber;


manual of good practices for managing structured aguapé;


increase in women's income.

Project impacts



Avon is part of the Natura&Co group, one of the largest beauty groups in the world, and its purpose is to empower women and promote their financial independence. With the aim of being the best beauty company in the world and for the world, Avon has a sustainability policy that focuses on commitment to life, addressing social problems such as equality and inclusion, and environmental problems such as climate crises and loss of biodiversity. 

Associação Renascer

Responsible for executing the project, Associação Renascer since 2015 has sought to generate alternative income for women in the Pantanal community of Barra de São Lourenço, MS, through crafts and disseminating traditional knowledge.

Bioeconomy platform that enables projects to value Brazilian biodiversity. It has a multidisciplinary team with more than 12 years of experience in project management and corporate communication. Its work has already enabled the operation of 23 projects to enhance biodiversity and created a network of more than 500 organizations and companies active in the socio-environmental cause. 

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