MST, receives the United Nations award for Social Justice
27 October 2021
MST, Movimento de Trabalhadores sem Terra receives the United Nations award for Social Justice for its work in defense of the working class in Brazil
The International Labor Organization (ILO), creator of the award, is a multilateral agency of the United Nations (UN), based in Geneva, aimed at working on labor regulation, particularly in compliance with international standards.
MST is recognized for being an organization that works to achieve decent living and working conditions for the Brazilian people, through the history of hundreds of thousands of rural workers, who dedicate their lives in favor of agrarian reform and for the democracy of Brazil.
Founded in 1984, the Movement, in the context of the re-democratization of Brazil, has become a national symbol of the struggle for access to land and currently has around 450,000 families settled in 24 federal states. Among its greatest contributions to society are the production of healthy food in defense of food sovereignty, the preservation of the environment and the intransigent fight for human rights and universal access to quality education and public health.
In this pandemic alone, the MST, as a symbol of solidarity with the working class, has already donated more than 5,000 tons of food and around 1 million lunch boxes. Since the National Plan “Plant Trees, Produce Healthy Food”, more than 1 million trees have been planted throughout the country and, in the last month, it has built more than 100 nurseries for the Popular Agrarian Reform, with the aim of promoting plant production and tree planting.
Intercooperation between MST and Mundukide
The Federal Republic of Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and a country full of inequalities and contradictions regarding the unequal distribution of land. In 2007 MST requested a meeting to learn more about the Mondragon cooperative experience and since 2008 the Mundukide and MST intercooperation work began, with the foundation’s main task being to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the Movement’s families. For this, from Mundukide we contribute in the training of the referents of the cooperatives in each process from production to marketing.
Currently, the Mundukide working group in Brazil is made up of 6 people who have developed their professional careers in EROSKI, ULMA, COPRECI, GSR and other cooperatives. The role of the multidisciplinary team consists of strengthening teams and advising on economic activities in the states of Ceará, Sao Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul.
The MST has 160 cooperatives and more than 1,000 associations that group 450,000 families in 24 states. Since the 1990s, many of these cooperatives have exported rice, juices, beans, coffee and sugar cane derivatives to countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Also at that time, cooperatives began to develop large-scale agro-industrial products that are currently sold in small markets and municipal markets, especially in the south of the country and in São Paulo. The cooperatives also supply more than 200 municipalities through the National School Feeding Program, as well as barracks, prisons and hospitals. And they have developed their own distribution network, the Armazém do Campo stores, which serve an average of 21,000 people a month to avoid resistance from the big supermarket brands.