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Our partners in the field of children’s rights and education have long-term experience and are acknowledged reference points at regional and national level, working in close cooperation with government agencies.
They have strong lobbying and advocacy competences and are represented in all relevant municipal and statewide bodies.
Brazil exhibits extreme regional differences – the richer South and Southeast regions enjoy much better social indicators than the North and Northeast, and the richest 10% earn nearly half of the nation's income, which makes Brazil a very unequal society. In Brazil, 87% of the population lives in urban areas, where many (good quality) state services do not always reach poor neighbourhoods, due to security risks, corruption and the inefficiency of public authorities. The rights of these groups are further neglected by the fragile and inefficient judicial system. Caritas Switzerland explicitly supports low-income populations, especially children and adolescents, focusing on education and enhancing income and job opportunities. Points of intervention are those areas which are not covered by the state, or where the quality of the current system can be improved.
Besides social and economic inequalities, the country faces further development challenges, especially in finding ways to combine the benefits of agricult ral growth, environmental protection and sustainable development. Brazil’s North and Northeast are, according to the projections of the ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’ 2014, the regions most affected by climate change, and their population is disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. Increasing resilience to changes in climatic conditions is hence an essential component for poverty alleviation and the enhancement of economic opportunities.
Caritas Switzerland is putting the two fields of activity Education & Income and Climate Change at the core of the Country Programme Brazil, geographically focused on the North and Northeast of the country.
Education & Income
Although legal provisions to protect and promote street-connected children’s rights are in place in Brazil, violations of their legally recognised rights are common. The mplementation and enforcement of these rights clearly need to be improved. According to UNICEF, an average of 28 children and adolescents are killed every day, making Brazil the country with the second largest number of homicides of children and adolescents, with a detection rate under 10%. The regional development in this field is quite different: whereas the homicide rate in southern Brazil is declining, it is increasing in the northern and north-eastern part of the country.
The interventions of Caritas Switzerland focus on two approaches: vocational and life skills-based education (LSBE). The latter is applied to pertinent health and social is sues of children and youths, which are not traditionally included in the academic curriculum. The approach engages children, families and civil society in strengthening child rights systems and ensures that the local government meets its commitments to children’s rights. In case of assaults or violation of their legal rights, legal and juridical assistance shall be provided. Participation in local and state forums to monitor public authorities and awareness-raising are considered essential.
Vocational education and training is based on the “Lei da Aprendizagem” (right to apprenticeship) enabling the employability of young people in situations of social vulnerability. Training is linked with private sector organisations to provide apprenticeships for the young people, supported by teachers throughout the professional development process.
Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction
As one of the first emerging economies, Brazil has introduced legislation on absolute mitigation goals. The country committed itself to increasing the share of wind, solar and biomass energy sources for the overall fuel mix up to 23% by 2030. In 2014, the ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’ confirmed the increasing negative consequences of climate change in the Northeast of Brazil. This structurally weak region will be one of the most vulnerable regarding dryness and droughts in future.
The projects of Caritas Switzerland and its partner organisations focus on mitigation and adaption efforts within the existing framework of the national legislation. In our interventions, we work at the community and cooperatives level rather than the household level to avoid dependency on external support and local conflicts. We strive towards a strong involvement of local public authorities in order to strengthen their management capacity. Due to the implementation of efficient and renewable energy sources, the projects contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and to the generation of income of marginalised population groups.
First experiences with biogas plants in rural areas have shown that the technology is suitable as a renewable source of energy and broadly accepted among the local population. The combination with other mitigation and adaption measures is an integral part of the project. In the recycling project in urban Recife, where used cooking oil is turned into biodiesel, the use of fossil fuels could be decreased and CO2-emissions reduced. To reach the highest possible and sustainable reduction of emissions, the focus of our interventions will be on the possibility of upscaling and replicability. Much importance is attached to cooperation with local and regional agencies as well as actors in civil society (advocacy).