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Country Programme of Brazil

Brazil's policy on poverty and social issues is progressive by international comparison. However, social inequality remains the key challenge, due to ethnic, regional and gender-specific disparities. According to government figures, one third of the population lives in poverty. Caritas Switzerland has supported marginalised children and young people in Brazil for three decades through its development work.


1. Human Rights & Social Justice: Helping Children and young people living in precarious situations to have access to (inclusive) education and leisure activities, as well as showing them ways to become integrated in the labour market. Additionally, Caritas Switzerland helps to ensure that young people are given protection and legal support. It is our declared goal that families, communities and civil-society actors are aware of, and actively engaged in ensuring that the rights of children and young people are observed and enforced.

2. Climate Protection & Disaster Risk Reduction: Long periods of drought in the North-east of Brazil prevent the development of smallholder agriculture and lead to existential problems. By generating energy from biomass, the programme makes an important contribution to a sustainable supply of energy within the context of protecting resources and the climate (e.g. reduction of CO2 emissions), and contributes to securing the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Brazil’s North-East. The programme takes a holistic approach and combines the construction of water cisterns with small gardens and biogas plants.

3. Humanitarian Aid: In case of a disaster Caritas Switzerland coordinates its activities through the national Caritas in Brazil which has decades of experience in the implementation of emergency operations. The national Caritas is implementing humanitarian aid through regional and local Caritas structures in affected crisis regions. Caritas Brazil is able to mobilize countless volunteers and launch additional funds through solidarity calls together with the Brazilian Bishops' Conference.

Linking development work, humanitarian relief and crisis prevention is a key element in Caritas Switzerland’s understanding of International Cooperation, and is reflected in the design of the Caritas Country Programme for Brazil. Caritas Switzerland includes the cross-cutting issues of partner strengthening, gender mainstreaming and conflict sensitivity in all interventions in Brazil. 

Caritas Switzerland focuses its activities in Brazil on the poorest regions in the north and northeast (e.g. Céara, Bélem, Pernambuco) of the country, as well as areas with the highest rates of violence, namely in neighborhoods in cities with large income disparities, and lack of social institutions (e.g. Rio de Janeiro).

Caritas Switzerland established a local coordinator’s office in 2014. For many years, we have cooperated with a strong national Caritas Brazil organisation, as well as reliable partner organisations, so that monitoring from the centre was feasible. The activities of the regional Caritas body are coordinated and supported by the national Caritas. In case of emergency aid activities, Caritas Switzerland also coordinates its involvement via the national Caritas Brazil organisation. 

In the current strategy 2012-2016 for the Brazil program, Caritas Switzerland pursues stable financial development and new financial partnerships, the strengthening of the technical and programme-related capacities of the partner organisations, reflections on the thematic orientation, as well as the establishment of a climate project in North-East Brazil. The financial volume for the Brazil programme is CHF 4’337’864.

A short history of CACH’s presence in the country
For over 30 years, Caritas Switzerland collaborates with the national and regional Caritas agencies in Brazil, as well as with various other NGOs, such as „São Martinho“ or „Crefas“. In recent years, the Brazil program included projects in the areas of food security and climate change, waste recycling, operation of a school for the deaf in the northeast and programs for disadvantaged children and young people from urban areas.

Currently, Caritas Switzerland is implementing its long-term programme 2012 -2016 for Brazil which has an increased focus on "Children and young people in precarious situations". It has been a huge success and through various projects more than 10’000 children and teenager could be reached another 300 were reintegrated into their families.


Country Programme of Brazil 2012-2016


Fields of Activity

Education and Income
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

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