Information and news on Brazil

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

Water Pollution in BrazilThe 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro brought glaring international attention to the issue of water pollution in Brazil. Untreated sewage flows into coastal waters, particularly around Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the two largest cities in the country. Beaches are coated in trash, sand is reduced to a greasy sludge and the water is black and noxious.

In the weeks approaching the 2016 Games, the United Nations advised athletes to spend as little time in the water as possible, avoid swallowing water, cover cuts with waterproof bandages and to shower as soon as possible after exposure.

The reason for these extreme precautions was due to the massive amounts of raw, untreated sewage that is allowed to flow through the channels and into the Atlantic. The worst affected areas in Rio de Janeiro are in the northern part of the city, where the low-income favela communities are concentrated. In these neighborhoods, the government has invested inadequate resources into water systems and sewage treatment.

Foreigners are not the only ones wary of the water in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay. Locals know to not even dip their toes in, aware that they will likely get a disease from the sickening waters. It has been reported to contain high levels of bacteria and viruses that could likely lead to stomach and respiratory illnesses.

Water pollution in Brazil is not only a major health issue, but an environmental concern as well. Fishermen have seen major decreases in fish and wildlife populations in coastal regions. Where they used to catch six fish in an hour, they may now only catch one.

In response to the international criticism, the Brazilian government erected “eco-barriers” across streams and rivers to keep trash from floating into Guanabara Bay. However, not only are they ineffective, the eco-barriers inconvenienced the poor and disenfranchised local fishing communities, cutting off the water routes fishermen used to get to Guanabara Bay.

For many poor communities in Rio de Janeiro, fish are a vital resource for both food and income. Fish are used to feed families and are sold at the local market to buy essential goods like rice and beans. Guanabara Bay is a lifeline for many desperately poor families and the eco-barriers disturbed their access to that lifeline.

What is worse is that the eco-barriers did little to stem the flow of trash into Guanabara Bay, only collecting about 7.5 percent of the rubbish. The inefficiency of government initiatives like this only exacerbates and prolongs the crisis of water pollution in Brazil.

However, one initiative looks promising. Under the umbrella of the Clean Urban Delta Initiative is a proposed solution to help litter pickers get more value from plastic waste by providing a low-cost plastic shredder and molding machine that can make plastic statues or trinkets that could then be sold to tourists at iconic sites in Rio. Local people would be given the opportunity to earn significantly more money, and the government may find some relief from the problem of water pollution in Brazil.

– Sydney Lacey

Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Brazil
The biggest country in South America is dealing with one of the most drastic poverty issues on Earth. Despite billions of dollars invested in event tourism like the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016), Brazil’s economy has begun to spiral downward as the country faces its biggest decline in over a decade. These crucial facts about poverty in Brazil offer insight on the issues that plague them.

Poverty in Brazil

  1. The homeless population is revolutionary
    One of the recent facts about poverty in Brazil is that squatters there have collectively chosen to occupy abandoned hotels and are now facing the threat of eviction. One example is the Mauá Occupation, which houses over 1,000 people that make up around 237 families. Mauá was a unique idea back in 2007 when the homeless population was barely surviving on the streets and began taking up land by way of force. Now, it has become a full-blown movement. Like many countries, Brazil suffers from gentrification and increased living costs. Brazil’s gentrification has created a revolution of homeless people occupying space both as a protest and out of necessity. This past November, over 20,000 homeless marched throughout the city in direct protest of the housing inequity.
  2. Slavery ended only 130 years ago; inequality still devastating
    In 1888, Brazil became the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery, and the social, economic and moral ramifications of it still ripple throughout the nation. This is one of the more subtle and lesser spoken facts about poverty in Brazil because it reflects an ugly part of a recent history. Known as Afro-Brasileiros, black and brown Brazilians make up 51 percent of the nation’s population and suffer from discrimination and exclusion more than their lighter-skinned neighbors. Afro-Brasileiros also make up the majority of the homeless and poor population, and only seven percent of the city’s rich self-identify as such. Despite being known as a racial democracy, 80 percent of Brazil’s richest one percent are white, while only 13 percent of black and mixed-race Brazilians between 18 and 24 are currently enrolled in college. Afro-Brasileiro activism takes many forms; the Quilombos are descendants of slaves fighting for reparations. Another group focuses on the disproportions of blacks dying at the hands of Brazilian police. They have the slogan #VidasNegrasImportam, which translates to “Black Lives Matter.”
  3. New spending cap is making matters worse
    The new spending cap, known as PEC 55, will cut public spending for programs that help the poor. A U.N. official lauded it as the most socially regressive austerity package in the world. With 60 percent of Brazilians opposing it, the 20-year spending freeze inducted by President Temer has been protested and deemed a direct attack on the poor by many analysts.
  4. Unemployment was once slow growing; now it’s much faster
    Since the end of the World Cup in 2014, Brazil’s economy has been steadily declining to a new low. Unemployment grew from about six percent in December 2013 to nearly 12 percent in November 2016, despite almost 30 million Brazilians rising out of poverty between 2004 and 2014. Economic inequality is now expected to increase and around 2.5 million more Brazilians will be forced into poverty in the coming years.
  5. Water everywhere but not much to drink
    Roughly 20 percent of the world’s water supply is in Brazil yet much of the population suffers from a water shortage. The problem is that water is being used to power the economy, not the people. This is actually one of the older facts about poverty in Brazil, as the nation’s water misallocation has always been notoriously underserving. More than 60 percent of the nation’s energy is from hydropower plants while 72 percent of the water supply is consumed by agriculture via irrigation. In fact, Brazil is one of the most water-dependent nations in the world. More than eight percent of its GDP is agriculture and agroindustries, making it the world’s second-largest food exporter. Allocation of most of the nation’s water goes to the business sectors, and between 2004 and 2013, there was only a 10 percent increase in sanitation networks among the poorest 40 percent (i.e., households with toilets).
  6. From an emerging economy to a shrinking one
    Formerly an emerging economy growing at a rate of 7.5 percent in 2010, it shrunk at about the same rate over the last two years. Shrinkage is expected to increase due to President Temer’s privatization plan, and around 57 state assets are set to undergo a privatized makeover. From highways to airports and even the national mint, the privatization is in an effort to increase employment and improve quality of the service provided by the sectors. There is some proof that this could work; back in the 90s, the privatization lead to the considerable modernization of several crucial sectors. The best possible scenario still leaves the majority of the population, specifically the poorest, out of the financial loop.  Attracting international interests is great for the richest population looking to sell land to the highest bidder which happens to be China.
  7. Deforestation of the Amazon by China hurts locals directly
    China’s overwhelming demand for food meets Brazil’s immense agricultural production in a way that primarily benefits the wealthiest of Brazil. The Brazilian government has been selling off large parts of the Amazon to China directly, ironically in an effort to help China’s pollution while hurting Brazil’s sensitive ecology and economy. China’s deforestation of the Amazon temporarily increases employment in Brazilian cities near the forest, but then once first stages of production are over, massive layoffs result in a plummet of employment with the social climate (increased crime and violence) going with it. The massive deforestation even threatens Brazil’s ecological promises involved with the Paris Agreement.
  8. Infant mortality has dropped significantly but could be lower
    As of 2016, Brazil has significantly lowered it’s infant mortality rate from about 53 deaths per 1,000 (circa 1990) live births to about 14. While this is quite an achievement for such a developing country with so many social problems, UNICEF, the organization most responsible for helping the decline, remarked that the indigenous children of Brazil’s mortality rate is twice as high as those of city-born children. This shows that even for countries with relatively low levels of mortality, greater efforts to reduce disparities at the sub-national level are still needed. According to UNICEF, back in 2013 at least 32 municipalities still had an infant mortality rate of 80 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  9. Worker’s Unions are going extinct
    A recent law passed by President Temer allows employers to bypass nearly all hurdles set up by unions by eliminating a “union tax” that generates funding for worker’s unions. Designed to aid multinational corporations and not workers, the “reform” has been criticized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as being in violation of international conventions. This permits inhumane working conditions and legalizes free labor. Legislation changes like this alter the future of the Brazilian workforce exponentially as multinational companies begin their migration into the Amazon.
  10. The right conditions for slavery
    Temer altered the definition of slavery so that it is defined by the victim’s freedom to leave. Meaning if a worker is kept in all the same living conditions as slavery, but not being physically forced to stay, it is to be considered legal labor. This is an emerging fact about poverty in Brazil because it has not happened yet, but legislatively, the absurd conditions do exist and the threat of slave labor is very real. This critical alteration of the definition has lead to the need for deeper investigations and, in alignment with the new changes, requires a police report with every case, creating more complications with each case. This drastically hurts the effectiveness of the ILOs ongoing fight against slavery which saw the liberation of more than 30,000 slaves in Brazil since 2003. The migration of businesses to the Amazon has made investigations much harder for the ILO and the conditions under which slaves work have gotten more brutal as well.

– Toni Paz
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Brazil
For the projected Fiscal Year 2018 budget, the United States is allotting $815,000 to Brazil. This budgetary decision is planned to further a partnership with the government of Brazil in improving regional stability through security and law-enforcement, progress in medical care and increasing environmental coordinating and military training. In addition to these improved Brazilian conditions, there will be U.S. benefits that come from foreign aid to Brazil.

A Fruitful Partnership

This budget will assist the Ministry of Health in creating an AIDs-free future population. Funding from this budget will also address military protection to combat transnational crime through advancements in the rule of law and counterterrorism programs.

The two countries also opened dialogues addressing other concerns regarding climate change. Previous signing in 2015 of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on Climate Change, and the USAID-GOB Development Objective Agreement on Biodiversity Conservation signed in 2014, focuses on biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

This partnership that enables the countries to address current issues is one way the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Brazil.

Since The United States was the first country to recognize Brazil’s independence in 1822, the two countries have a long history of working together to expand economic growth, support human rights and improve defense and security.

Shared Interests

The countries have shared development in education, energy, health, science and technology. Due to previous foreign aid, Brazil has bolstered itself into a position of economic growth that has enabled it to import U.S. goods and export to the U.S. while also supplying foreign aid to other developing countries.

Combatting the Zika Virus

There are also large efforts being taken between the U.S. government and the government of Brazil to address and fight the Zika virus. USAID and Brazil are also looking to further development in other countries, particularly African and Latin America, as well as provide food security through agriculture development and productivity in Haiti, Honduras and Mozambique.

Trade and Tourism

Some other ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Brazil are through trade, business investments and tourism. Since 2003, Brazilian firms made large investments in the U.S., amounting to billions of dollars. These projects amounted to $2.5 billion in 2010 and, once they’re completed, will create 4,806 new jobs in a variety of different sectors.

Commerce with Brazil creates both small and large business ventures, with one being the WindStream company based out of New Albany, Illinois.

This partnership between the U.S. and Brazil promotes the growth of both economies through trade and provides economic durability. It furthers the advancements of both countries enabling the countries to supply aid to developing countries. The partnership between the U.S. and Brazil shows the benefits of foreign aid and the progression that continuous aid can provide to other countries.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr

Education Needs Driving Humanitarian Aid to BrazilBrazil has the fifth largest population on the globe. Despite its reputation for luxurious resorts, crystal waters and festivals, it still struggles to employ its residents. This is mainly due to a large social gap, where the richest 1 percent control 50 percent of the economy. “Chronic poverty”, or the idea that someone born into poverty has very slim chances of rising above it, is a huge factor. Humanitarian aid to Brazil is set to decrease these numbers.

Poverty in Brazil is attributed mostly to child abandonment. Mothers and fathers are leaving their children in the streets due to low incomes, health problems such as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and a lack of resources for their other offspring. With the harsh conditions on the streets, few children live to see their 18th year.

There are roughly eight million impoverished children living in Brazil. Due to a lack of education and resources, they resort to street performing, thievery and begging to survive. In many cases, they are taken in by drug lords and other criminals and used as drug runners and prostitutes. With little to no proper nutrition, they are feeding themselves with the refuse found in garbage bins and dumps. Without an education or a family to support them, they will most likely remain unable to become employed.

A lack of education is a terrible dilemma for the 26 percent of the population who live below the poverty line. According to the Brazil Without Misery Program, 4.8 million people are living on no income whatsoever. The program teamed up with Bolsa Familia to give humanitarian aid to Brazil and its people. They provide education and basic nutritional needs to low-income families around the country. The families receive cash benefits, and in return, they must work to keep their children in school and follow the basic health and vaccination program.

The United States is set to donate $815,000 to Brazil this year. The aid is deepening the bond between the two countries and is providing humanitarian aid to Brazil in ways that are desperately needed. The money is planned to be used to deploy new technologies in healthcare and to decrease the AIDS problem spreading among young mothers. This will hopefully lower the numbers of orphaned children, and in the process, will increase the chances of them receiving an education.

With projects around the country working to promote education and healthcare among the youth, the government has started making these needs their focus. It is providing internal humanitarian aid to Brazil itself. Women are receiving better hygiene education, children are receiving healthcare and the government is working to house homeless teens and provide them with schooling.

Politicians are fighting to make civilian welfare a priority. They are working to have the government approach the poor rather than the other way around. Promoting civilian education and welfare has greatly benefited the economy as well as other countries in the process. For instance, the World Food Programme opened an office in Brazil, overseeing school feeding and food security for families and students. The program provides meal assistance for 50 countries, including 47 million children.

Brazil has since seen positive growth in linking public policy with school meals and security. School attendance has increased steadily by 200,000 annually for the past 10 years. Education is becoming a priority for families as well as the country itself.

Brazil has elevated in ranks in recent years, becoming the ninth largest economy in the world. This shift has led to it becoming a donor country for the first time in 2008, giving 53 percent of its donations to Africa and the rest to surrounding countries in Latin America.

While the country continues to receive assistance and is working tirelessly to promote education with a wider reach, Brazil is spreading its wings and dipping into the donor pool. The world has yet to see the difference this growing country can make.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr