This profile was prepared when Guilherme Souza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
In order to save the Paraíba do Sul River from a declining stock of fish and ecosystems destruction, Guilherme has worked with local citizens to make it the crucial center of their economic livelihood. His program joins local fishermen and community members in fish repopulation, particularly native and endangered species, to restore the environment and engage more people in economic activities in and along the river. Guilherme teaches young people and their families the value of biodiversity and demonstrates that protecting the river and nearby forests will help promote tourism in the form of sport fishing and generate income for fishermen. Guilherme's idea is to change the relationship between people and their habitat, increasing the sustainability and active use, not misuse, of the river's resources.