In portuguese, “abraço” stands for hug, and that is exactly what Port of Açu wants to achieve with the “ABRAÇU” Project: to embrace our community. Faced with the challenge of maintaining a prosperous port-city relationship between the largest private port complex in Latin America and a small town of 35,000 inhabitants, Port of Açu develops several community relations mechanisms. In 2017, the company launched “ABRAÇU”, aiming to stimulate and value the voluntary efforts of Port employees through social, environmental, cultural and sports activities in the surrounding communities. The program is linked to SDGs 8, 11 & 17 and has generated great value to the community and local recognition.
ABRAÇU was co-created with the volunteers through a previous engagement survey, which mapped volunteers and the areas of highest priority to be tackled in terms of social vulnerability. Following that first step, the company held workshops to create and design the volunteer project, including the governance structure, by-laws, areas of activity, identification of engaged volunteers and a concrete agenda of actions. Such actions include environmental education initiatives such as seedling planting, shorelines plastic cleaning days, refit of public schools, donation of toys (during Christmas), food, hygiene products and clothes for shelters, orphanages and public hospitals.
In just over 2 years, ABRAÇU has benefited around 3.500 people (10% of the city’s total inhabitants), 25 entities, involving 89 different partners and supporters, 91 volunteers in 13 actions with a small investment of approximately US $ 7.000. ABRAÇU has proved to be an important tool for continuous open dialogue with the community, transforming our neighbors into port ambassadors and fostering direct benefits to the community and to the employees of Port of Açu.