Information and news on Brazil

Life Expectancy in Brazil
From 1940 to 2016, the life expectancy in Brazil had steadily risen to an all-time high of 75 years. This improvement was largely due to efforts by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment to strengthen the health and sanitation systems in the country. A continued increase in life expectancy can be achieved by utilizing technology to enhance the capabilities and performance of the healthcare system and by improving sanitation and access to clean water for all Brazilians.

An Improved Healthcare System

In 1988, after the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship, a newly established constitution created the Unified National Health System (UHS), which was expanded to provide free of charge and comprehensive health services with near-universal access. A focus on prenatal care, child nutrition programs, immunization campaigns and other important preventative services have played key roles in the increase of the life expectancy in Brazil.

In 1994, the Family Health Strategy (FHS) was founded. It has been heavily relying on community health workers (CHWs) to provide basic and preventative healthcare. Teams of doctors, nurses and community health workers were deployed throughout the country to cover territories of 3,000 to 4,000 residents. The FHS provides medical resources to underserved areas and allows the health teams to closely monitor the health status of the residents in their region. Currently, there are more than 265,00 active CHWs delivering care to around 67 percent of the population. The FHS was instrumental in increasing the life expectancy in Brazil from 67 years in 1994 to 75 years as of 2016.

The Use of Technology

Although the UHS is vital to improving health and life expectancy, the system still faces challenges caused by rising healthcare and medicine costs, maldistribution of medical professionals and poor access to health services in low-income regions. The Ministry of Health has invested in health technology systems and mobile applications to expand access to health services, improve the quality of care and reduce the overall costs of the UHS.

In 2012, they partnered with the medical journal, BMJ, to create the BMJ Best Practices application. More than 11,400 people now use the mobile app to make more informed diagnostic and treatment decisions for their patients at the point of care. Early diagnosis and treatment help to improve health outcomes, so it is beneficial for Brazil to continue to embrace this kind of technology. It is estimated that the country would spend $336 million on healthcare technology and applications by the end of 2018, but would potentially save $42 billion per year over the next 15 years. Hospitals and clinics with integrated health technology, such as electronic health and medical records, have also been shown to have a 3 to 4 percent lower mortality rate, which improves life expectancy rates in Brazil.

Improve Sanitation and Access to Clean Water

It is estimated that 50 percent of Brazilians do not have access to sewage and sanitation services. In fact, 35 million Brazilians still lack access to clean water. Inequalities exist in the over-concentration of services throughout affluent regions while services are lacking in poor and low-income regions. Between 2010 and 2014, there were almost 14,000 hospitalizations for diseases related to poor sanitation. In the densely populated Porto Alegre region, dengue rates were five times higher from 2001 to 2013.

In order to address the burden of sanitation-related illnesses, the National Public Sanitation Plan was formed in 2007 with the goal of providing clean water and sewage services to 93 percent of households by 2033. Between 2007 and 2015, the percentage of households with access to clean water had only slightly increased from 80.9 to 83.3. Operating with a deficit of $1.9 billion has impeded progress, and the program is currently on pace to meet its goals by 2050. With proper funding, however, the country could meet its original goals, which would go a long way to increase the life expectancy in Brazil.

Substantial investment from the federal government, public-private sources of capital along with investment from foreign aid programs such as UNICEF is still needed if Brazil is going to establish the infrastructure to achieve its original goal by the target deadline of 2033. As the country looks to the future, expanding the FHS, integrating technology into the healthcare system and enhancing sanitation services are key focus areas. These priorities will sustain and further improve the life expectancy in Brazil.

Chinanu Chi-Ukpai
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Living Conditions in BrazilBrazil has one of the most unequal wealth distributions in the world, which leads to drastic differences in quality of living conditions between Brazil’s poor and rich. Big cities in Brazil will often have luxury apartments next to slums piled up on the outskirts of the town.

10 Facts about Living Conditions in Brazil

  1. Slums are called favelas, which are living conditions for the extremely impoverished in Brazil. They are built by their occupants on the edges of big cities like Rio de Janeiro.
  2. As of 2013, two million people in Brazil live in favelas. The occupants of favelas are extremely poor, unable to afford better housing in urban areas. These citizens often moved to urban areas to find better work but were forced into the slums when they could not find a job that paid them enough to purchase better housing.
  3. The communities of favelas do not have any organization or sanitation systems and are built illegally. With a lack of any structure or legal system which leads to higher crime rates, favelas are often sites of crime and drug-related violence.
  4. Rates of disease and infant mortality are high in favelas, and poor nutrition is common. The lack of sanitation and proper healthcare leads to diseases and more deaths in children.
  5. Unpredictable weather, which could cause landslides, can often wipe away entire communities of favelas. Weather like this leaves those who have limited housing with none at all.
  6. Over 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate housing. In addition to urban slums, rural areas of Brazil also experience significant poverty and lack of quality housing. This means many Brazilians rural dwellers do not have access to sanitation systems like flushing toilets and running water.
  7. Favelas are becoming increasingly common as sites for tourism. Every year, around 40,000 people visit favelas in Brazil to see the poverty that they would otherwise never be exposed to.
  8. Overall, there is an intense need for more housing in Brazil. The country needs to construct eight million more houses to provide enough shelter fulfill to those who need it. Current housing is cramped and people are often forced into the favelas as a result.
  9. Habitat for Humanity works closely with Brazil to reconstruct slums and drive housing projects. As an organization, HFH has helped almost 13,000 Brazilian families to find or build better housing. They have also worked to rehabilitate Brazilian slums.
  10. The Brazilian government launched a program in 2009 called Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My Home, My Life) that helped four million low-income families build homes. Families with low incomes were able to apply to move into new homes or have their current home reconstructed.

Programs like Minha Casa, Minha Vida are essential for the government to invest in, in order to improve living conditions in Brazil. 

– Amelia Merchant

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Brazil Can't ContinueBrazil is a tropical sought getaway for anyone looking for adventure, fun, and possibly romance. Tourists from all over the world travel to Brazil in order to explore new places and find something new within themselves. For the people of Brazil, however, living in poverty in Brazil can’t continue.

Income inequality

After collecting data, researches have shown that Brazil is a vastly unequal country where inequality affects all corners and areas. Here’s a common example: in terms of ethnicity, or skin color, the people with the lowest rates of income, 78.5 percent, are black or mixed race, while only 20.8 percent are white.

A report by Oxfam International states that in Brazil, the six largest billionaire’s wealth and equity are exactly equal to 100 million poorest Brazilians.

If the labor market were to continue this path as it has for the last twenty years, women and men won’t be earning the same wage until the year 2047, with 2086 being the year where the income of blacks and whites stands equal.

In March 2017 alone, 17 million children under the age of 14, equal to 40.2 percent of the Brazilian population of this age group, live in low-income houses.

In 2017 the number of people living in extreme poverty in Brazil went up by 11.2%, rising from 13.45 million in 2016  to 14.83 million, based on data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Definition of extreme poverty used in a research was set by the World Bank and is defined as an income per capita below $1.90 a day.

According to IBGE, in 2017, the wealthiest 1% of Brazil’s population earned 36.1 times more than the bottom half of the population, averaging a monthly income of nearly $8,000. The poorest 5% of Brazilians received an average income of around $11 a month comparing to $14 the year before. Income of the wealthiest 1% only dropped 2.3% in the same period.

Even with achievements in poverty reduction beginning to make strides in the past ten years, inequality still sits at a high level. Universal coverage in primary education was one of the biggest accomplishments for Brazil, but Brazil is struggling to improve system outcomes.

Positive trends

A major silver lining is that reducing deforestation in the rainforest and other biomes have made a great deal of impact in terms of progression from ecological damage. Still, Brazil continues to face development challenges such as: finding ways to benefit agricultural growth, environmental protection, and sustainable development.

Brazil played a huge role in formulating climate framework and has ratified the Paris Agreement. In that sense, the country has demonstrated its leadership role in international negotiations on climate change where many other countries came up short. With these significant contributions to climate change within its borders, Brazil has voluntarily committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 36.1% and 38.9% by 2020. Chances are big that Brazil will most likely reach projected numbers sooner.

Poverty in Brazil can’t continue, especially having in mind country’s potential for tourism and the amount of beauty and natural resources it has to offer. There is a solution, and as with most things, it rests in the most obvious place: understanding the scope of the problem and seeing it for what it truly is. Knowing nothing is hopeless because even hopelessness can’t exist without hope existing in a first place. This is how poverty is combatted. This is what the people of Brazil deserve: to hope and truly live.

– Gustavo Lomas
Photo: Flickr

Apple and the Malala Fund Working to Bring Education to Girls in Brazil

Founded in 2013, The Malala Fund has taken many steps towards improving education for girls across the globe. To do this, members of the initiative have invested time in local education, advocated for policy changes and an increase in resources and by providing a voice through their own publications and newsletters. As it is now, The Malala Fund has made substantial progress in Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria, India and Afghanistan. More recently, they have made movements towards ensuring approximately 12 years of education reaches girls in Brazil.

According to CNN, Brazil has the eighth largest economy in the world, but despite this, millions of girls are still denied access to education. Reasons that are perhaps correlated with this are poverty, which often results in exploitation, under-representation in government and unequal wages due to discrimination against gender and/or race. Another potential factor contributing to low education is safety concerns since rates for sexual abuse against girls are high. In 2015, 6,706 of 17,871 registered cases of sexual assault against women were attacks on children between the ages of zero and 12.

Apple Teams Up With The Malala Fund

The goal of The Malala Fund is to reach more than 100,000 girls and provide them with the necessary materials they need to become leaders and educators in their region. To make this possible, Apple and The Malala Fund has teamed up together to bring education to girls in Brazil.

Apple and The Malala Fund’s partnership mainly involves on providing financial resources to The Gulmakai Network, a group of “champions” in developing countries that work to speed up the process of ensuring every girl gets an education. Particularly in Brazil, the Gulmakai champions are tasked with not only making sure girls can access education but also educating teachers on discrimination and training young women to be more vocal about their rights.

Technology Used To Improve Education

Apple will be assisting in the form of technology, curriculum, research and grants that will be available to local advocates. Perhaps playing the biggest role is the Apple Developer Academy. The Apple Developer Academy program in Brazil is currently educating students by connecting them to other locations globally and mobilizing them to ensure that they are developing products that are useful.

Now, through this partnership, current students will be learning and using their skills in Swift (Apple’s programming language), graphics, and many more to tackle the education problem in Brazil. Specifically, students in these academies have been tasked with designing and developing apps with the purpose of enhancing the overall experience of obtaining an education. They are also encouraged to develop means of safe, secure communication for the Gulmakai champions as they empower girls and advocate.

With the help of Apple, its academy students and alumni, The Malala Fund hopes that every girl will be able to choose her own future and follow her own path whether it be to become a business tycoon, a dancer, an educator etc. Apple and The Malala Fund hope that they can successfully present this golden opportunity to girls in the safest way possible at the highest quality, so they don’t have to live in fear like so many others.

– Stephanie Singh
Photo: Flickr

Understanding the critical effects of yellow feverMany diseases still roam the Earth carrying deadly potential. One such disease is yellow fever. Understanding the critical effects of yellow fever is the best way to make progress in working to eradicate the disease.

Yellow fever is beginning to make a comeback in Nigeria and Brazil as both countries are seeing threats of the disease in urban areas. There was a spike in the disease in the 2000s in Africa and the Americas, which put 40 countries on the high-risk list. In 2016, yellow fever outbreaks were only contained when a mass vaccination drive reached the 30 million people most greatly affected.

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is an African mosquito-borne infection of primates. In its natural habitat, it’s transmitted between monkeys via forest-dwelling Aedes mosquitoes. The virus was introduced to the Americas through the slave trade and it is now enzootic in forest habitats.

Humans can be infected with yellow fever after spending time in a forest and then infect others through human-to-human transmissions. Yellow fever can cause a spectrum of symptoms across the board ranging from mild to fatal. It’s especially important to begin understanding the critical effects of yellow fever.

In some clinical cases, a sudden onset of fever with a severe headache, arthralgia and muscle pains happen first, followed by jaundice, which may appear on the third day. Jaundice usually indicates a poor prognosis. Transaminase elevations are also prognostic, and in severe cases, there may be spontaneous hemorrhage, renal failure, delirium, coma and death. Mortality of clinical cases can be as high as 80 percent.

Disease Prevention & Treatment

For half a century, a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine known as YF 17D was used to beat yellow fever. Unfortunately, few countries implement routine vaccination and YF 17D requires more than one dose to have lasting effects.

Vaccination comes with a certificate but a routine of shots is required for the duration of one’s life. Although the vaccine doesn’t last the lifetime, the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is valid for the life of the person vaccinated, beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination.

Many preventative measures exist but once contracted, there is no sure cure for yellow fever. Supportive therapy is the only option but the use of antivirals is an active field of research. Those who have contracted the disease must avoid aspirin and other anticoagulants as it increases the risk of bleeding. This is an example of why it’s important to understand the critical effects of yellow fever.

Understanding the Critical Effects of Yellow Fever

The current yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria began in Ifelodun, Kwara State in Western Nigeria in September 2017. By January 2018, a total of 358 suspected cases had been reported in 16 states, with 45 deaths. In late 2017, Nigeria aimed to quickly contain an emergency outbreak by vaccinating more than three million people.

The yellow fever virus continues to circulate where people remain largely unprotected. An immunization has been put in place as part of the continued efforts to eliminate yellow fever globally by 2026.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health reported that between July 1, 2017, and Jan. 23, 2018, 130 cases of yellow fever were confirmed in the country, of which 53 resulted in death. One-year earlier in the same time frame, there were 381 confirmed cases and 127 deaths were reported. Since 2017, Brazil’s Ministry of Health has provided some 57.4 million doses of the yellow fever vaccine.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization have provided wide-ranging support to the Brazilian government in responding to yellow fever outbreaks by:

  • Supplying the yellow fever vaccine
  • Purchasing syringes through the PAHO Revolving Fund
  • Adhering to recommendations based on the best available scientific evidence
  • Acquiring special vaccination cards for fractional doses that ensure more people can have the vaccine and the doses can last longer (as used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Working in the field alongside the national and local authorities

This year, helpers traveled to Minas Gerais to assist with the identification of yellow fever outbreaks in monkeys. These efforts of the national and state health authorities help them to better understand the circulation of the yellow fever virus while also serving as a reminder to further vaccination strategies.

Yellow fever has no limitations on the people it affects and is limitless in its reach. The first step in the fight against this disease is understanding the critical effects of yellow fever. Only then can it be abolished worldwide.

– Gustavo Lomas
Photo: Flickr

Economic Development in Brazil Key to Keeping Poverty Rate Low
According to a 
report issued by the World Bank, economic development in Brazil has lifted some 29 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2014. The level of inequality declined significantly, with the Gini coefficient (the statistical measure of distribution often used to chart wealth inequality) falling by 6.6 percentage points in the same period, from 58.1 down to 51.5.

Moreover, the poorest 40 percent of the population experienced a massive rise (an average of 7.1 percent between 2003 and 2014) in income while the whole population enjoyed a 4.4 percent income growth.

A Variety of Programs Focus on Economic Development in Brazil

Most of the credit for such economic development in Brazil goes to a massive initiative, namely a global center for poverty reduction called Mundo Sem Pobreza (World Without Poverty), which has effectively become a place where ideas and anti-poverty programs are translated into reality for the benefit of the most disadvantaged citizens.

One of the most prominent of such programs is called Bolsa Familia. In its decade of implementation, this program, which consists of a conditional cash transfer program through which parents receive a fixed monthly stipend of about $30 in exchange for sending their children to school and complying with different health checkups, has managed to reduce poverty by half in Brazil (from 9.7 percent to 4.3 percent), aiding some 50 million low-income Brazilians.

According to a study led by Paul Glewwe of the University of Minnesota and Ana Lucia Kassouf of the University of Sao Paulo in 2012, Bolsa Familia did in fact improve children’s school enrollment rates.

This program has been paired with others, such as Brasil Sem Miseria, which was designed to help millions of Brazilians escape extreme poverty, while the Brazilian government has taken very seriously cogent issues such as expanded access to education and reducing income inequality.

Brazilian Government Both a Help and a Hindrance

However, what has really lent a helping hand to the overall betterment of Brazil’s social and economic conditions was a combination of public policy (expansion of access to education and government transfers to the poor) and favorable market factors (rising wages for low-skilled workers), both of which have led to substantial declines in inequality in Brazil.

Despite the laudable results achieved through social programs and economic development in Brazil, the rate of reduction of poverty and inequality appears to have stagnated since 2015. Political instability and a problematic recession have kept Brazil in an economic stalemate.

Moreover, while President Dilma Rousseff’s successor Michel Temer promise a rigid fiscal policy, major adjustments are undermined by budget rigidities and a difficult political environment.

Indeed, less than 15 percent of expenditures in Brazil are at the discretion of the political realm. Most public spending is rigidly determined by constitutional regulations and cannot legally be reduced.

Statistics Show Recent Progress

The overall situation is not beyond repair. In fact, 2017 saw a rise in household spending by 1 percent compared to a 4.3 percent decrease in 2016. Exports rose 5.2 percent compared to 1.9 percent in 2016. Imports grew by 5 percent (they dropped by 10.2 percent in 2016), marking the first increase in four years.

Thus, constant attention to keeping the markets open and efficient alongside a careful administration of public finances are key to getting Brazil back on track towards economic development and poverty reduction.

– Luca Di Fabio
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo is, by far, Brazil and Latin America’s largest city. The urban population is about 12 million, not including the metropolitan region right outside of Sao Paulo that accounts for about 20 million people. Despite the fact that the city’s commerce accounts for more than 12 percent of Brazil’s total GDP, close to a third of Sao Paulo’s 12 million people live in slum-like conditions.

The combinations of favelas and irregular land subdivisions are glaring symbols of Sao Paulo’s lingering poverty and tremendous inequality; however, while the conditions of Sao Paulo have worsened over the years, there have been some signs of structural improvement. Here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Sao Paulo.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Sao Paulo

  1. Sao Paulo is known as the largest city in the Western Hemisphere and has a poverty rate of 19 percent.
  2. Sao Paulo has a significant income gap between the rich and the poor. In 2000, a study conducted by Sao Paulo University found that half of the state’s population earned only 15 percent of the total income of the state.
  3. Sao Paulo has a gap between skilled workers needed in an industrialized and rapidly growing economy and limited skills available in the workforce. Brazilian employers and companies face increasing competition for skilled workers that limit the opportunities for growth.
  4. Sao Paulo struggles with the housing shortage in which about 1.2 million people live in urban favelas or corticos. Favelas are private or public lands that began as temporary squatter settlements. Corticos are abandoned buildings that are illegally occupied and are typically in precarious states of repair.
  5. Residents in Sao Paulo’s second biggest slum, Paraisopolis (which literally translates to Paradise City), have expressed a strong desire to stay rather than be relocated. This resistance has inspired official Brazilian policy to shift towards slum upgrading rather than slum eradication. Slum upgrading proves to be easier, cheaper, and not to mention, more humane.
  6. One of Sao Paulo’s major goals was to bring electricity, effective sanitation and clean water services to as many urban areas as it could afford; now, almost all favelas have access to clean water services and electricity.
  7. While Paulistanos generally have adequate access to water resources, the water supply system loses about 30 percent of water in distribution.
  8. In 2006, the Sao Paulo Municipal Housing Secretariat created an information database system with the ability to track the developmental statuses of favelas and other precarious settlements. This system allows for the effective targeting of slum upgrade efforts and environmental cleanups.
  9. Transportation issues are amongst the most noticeable signs of Sao Paulo’s difficult infrastructure. The average Paulistano spends about 2 hours per day in traffic jams which costs the city about $23 billion a year. On the other hand, public transportation is notoriously overpriced, overcrowded and uncomfortable.
  10. Government corruption is also known to be a major contributor to the slum-like conditions in Sao Paulo. Frustration with the government’s unmet urban needs have even resulted in protests; however, rather than a source of concern, these protests may be a sign of progress. Local and national governments have responded with efforts to promote transparency of government spending as a a result of these demonstrations.

Favela Reduction

While there have been tremendous efforts towards upgrading the favelas in Sao Paulo, these areas still have a long ways to go.  It is extremely necessary for a collective promotion for the inclusion of both local community leaders and government agencies so as to effectively reduce the number of favelas in Sao Paulo.

– Lolontika Hoque
Photo: Flickr

Brazil is a big country and within all its expanse the number of slums, known as favelas, is also large. In 2010, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics revealed a count of 15,688 slums with 11.4 million residents (this study is done every decade). The low-income, crowded areas are often featured in articles from all around the world. However, most of the press coverage on favelas focuses on sensational aspects such as violence, crime and drug trafficking—this illustrates how the media misrepresents Brazil.

Media Misrepresents Brazil

An article from NBC News, for example, lists five facts about favelas painting a picture of it based on wrongdoing, poverty and danger. The piece defines a slum as “a hotbed for crime and drugs.” Similarly, one of the articles published by The Guardian describes a favela as a place for “guns, drugs and Bandidos.”

Articles are not the only example of how the media misrepresents Brazil. TV news (including those on Brazilian channels), movies and Brazilian soap operas often reinforce favelas as dangerous places. “People create a narrative where favelas are a territory of barbarism and don’t have any contact with the outside world. It’s an idealization of a place where only terror thrives,” writes the researcher Felipe Botelho Corrêa about the Oscar-nominated movie, City of God, which is set in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Undeniably the violence rates in favelas are high. However, these pieces help perpetuate a stereotype of Brazil—an idea that slums are neighborhoods where there is only space for crime, violence and drug trafficking.

Initiatives Promoting Favelas

In fact, great initiatives take place in favelas as well. One of these is Favela Mais, a project created by Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE), that encourages entrepreneurship in favelas such as Heliópolis and Paraisópolis in São Paulo. “These businesses generate jobs and profit, helping the community to grow because the money stays in the neighborhood,” says Guilherme Afif Domingos, the president of SEBRAE.

The journalism school, Énóis, is another project that is trying to transform the reality in favelas. It was founded in 2009 in Capão Redondo, one of the most violent neighborhoods in São Paulo’s outskirts, by journalists Amanda Rahra and Nina Weingrill. Énóis started as onsite workshops and in 2014 it launched an online platform offering journalism courses. Currently, the school has 4,000 registered students, who have written more than 20 articles about life in favelas.

Besides these social initiatives, favelas are genuinely spaces of great cultural diversity and expression. They are the birthplace of many Brazilian artists and famous singers such as MV Bill, Tati Quebra Barraco, Carlinhos Brown and Anitta. Anitta started singing in a choir at a Catholic church located in an impoverished neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, she is among 50 singers in the Social 50 Billboard ranking and earns up to $ 500,000 per show.

Media in Brazil: The Way Forward

Agência de Notícias das Favelas, a news agency focused on events happening in favelas, is trying to shift how the media represents Brazil. The organization is helping break the stereotype of slums as places associated with criminality and violence. On its website, the agency is defined as “an NGO that wants to expand the struggle to democratize favela’s information to the world, with its own residents as protagonists.”

Initiatives like these destigmatize favelas and help with its social and economic growth. The traditional media should give these stories more attention. Only then will favelas be fairly represented as the creative and inspirational places they are.

– Júlia Ledur
Photo: Flickr

social gastronomy“Food should not only taste good but also do good for society.” With this motto, Gastromotiva has been helping people in conditions of vulnerability and social exclusion through something as simple as food. Since its foundation in 2006 by chef David Hertz, the Brazilian organization has impacted more than 100,000 people globally through education and social gastronomy initiatives.

How Gastromotiva is Helping Those in Need

According to an April 2018 report published by the World Bank, 50 percent of the Brazilian population between ages 19 and 25 is vulnerable to poverty. In this scenario, Gastromotiva uses the power of education, food and gastronomy as a social change agent. The organization acts on three main areas: education, social gastronomy and food waste reduction.

The first project created by Gastromotiva was vocational kitchen training, culinary classes offered for young low-income people at no charge. During the four-month intensive program, students learn not only technical skills but also concepts such as eco-gastronomy, food waste cooking and personal development. After graduating, they are presented with a variety of employment options at Gastromotiva partner restaurants. This way, students become multipliers and empower others by disseminating their knowledge about social gastronomy in their own communities. So far, 4,000 people have graduated.

In addition to the culinary classes, Gastromotiva also offers food entrepreneur classes and acts on the social gastronomy movement, a human-centered solution to generate opportunity, dignity and inclusion through food. The movement involves establishing partnerships with other organizations, gastronomic businesses, chefs and companies all over the world.

“Social gastronomy goes beyond one chef, one meal, one Michelin star,” explains David Hertz in a TED Talk. “When we are all connected we can feel love and respect and with food, we can transform millions of lives.”

Current Endeavors in Social Gastronomy

Most recently, Gastromotiva launched Reffetorio Gastromotiva, a restaurant school in Rio de Janeiro created by chefs Massimo Bottura, David Hertz and the journalist Ale Forbes, to fight food waste, malnutrition and social exclusion. At Reffetorio, chefs host workshops and gastronomy classes and also prepare 450 three-course meals for homeless people every night with food that would otherwise be wasted.

“We give these people not only quality food but also a moment of peace and dignity when they feel like human beings,” said Gastromotiva’s CEO Nicola Gryczka in an interview with The Borgen Project. Gastromotiva collaborates to achieve, until 2030, various Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, including no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities and partnerships for the goals.

Looking Toward the Future

Besides Brazil, Gastromotiva is currently present in three other countries: Mexico (Mexico City), South Africa (Cape Town) and El Salvador (San Salvador). This year, the management team plans to expand the project to Colombia, Argentina and Turkey, where it will implement a program focused on refugees in partnership with World Food Programme.

Gryczka says that the organization is constantly looking for partners in different countries that can help spread the message of social gastronomy and minimize different global problems.

“Because it’s something that impacts all our lives, food is the easiest way to help people find solutions for social issues, such as hunger, poverty, malnutrition and unemployment,” she points out. This is what Gastromotiva means by “food should do good for society.”

– Júlia Ledur

Photo: Flickr

Facts About BRACThe Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) is a non-governmental organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972. It is surprisingly obscure despite its impacts. These are 10 facts about BRAC that are necessary to understand more about the organization.

10 Facts About BRAC

  1. BRAC is the largest non-governmental organization (NGO) in the world. The Economist described it as “the largest, fastest-growing non-governmental organization in the world–and one of the most businesslike.”
  2. BRAC’s mission is to alleviate poverty and encourage economic participation by empowering people through social and economic programs.
  3. Founder Fazle Hasan Abed created BRAC after becoming disillusioned with poverty in Bangladesh. Now, BRAC has a positive impact in the poorest Asian and African countries in the world, reaching an estimated 138 million people.
  4. BRAC is funded by the Omidyar Network, which invests in impactful NGOs to bring about social change. This allows BRAC’s programs to be very effective and far-reaching.
  5. In 2016, BRAC successfully put 400,000 young children in primary school, gave 90 percent of households in obscure locations healthcare and lifted 86,975 households in Bangladesh out of extreme poverty.
  6. BRAC uses its money wisely. It was awarded an AAA rating by the Credit Rating Agency of Bangladesh Ltd (CRAB). This is the highest rating that it could have received from CRAB.
  7. BRAC approaches poverty differently than other NGOs. Using a businesslike approach, BRAC understands that there are factors beyond economics that account for why people are impoverished. BRAC tackles social issues and inequality as well as using its funds to ensure its impacts are more sustainable.
  8. BRAC has four main projects, including social development, social enterprises, investments and a university.
  9. BRAC University is in Dhaka, Bangladesh and is modeled after the NGO. It fosters goodwill by encouraging students to work in careers involved with national development and progress post-graduation.
  10. BRAC enterprises allow individuals to break out of the chains of poverty by equipping them with the necessary tools needed to have a more profound participation in the economy. As a result, it has established many enterprises, one of which is BRAC Dairy, which has become Bangladesh’s top dairy producer and ensures fair prices and treatment for dairy workers. Another example of a BRAC enterprise is BRAC Sanitary Napkin and Delivery Kit, which produces feminine hygiene products to encourage women to stay in school, and home birth delivery kits to ensure that births are sanitary and safe.

These 10 facts about BRAC truly show how influential BRAC is as an NGO. Despite making such large strides already, BRAC does not foresee slowing down anytime soon. In 2021, it aims to empower 20 million individuals to get the services they need and help 110 million people in Bangladesh that are living in poverty.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr