In Brazil, opportunities for the youth in the countryside have always been limited. A visible result of this situation is the growing migration of this part of the population, especially in the range between 15 and 29 years, to urban centers. Data from the 2010 census, raised by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that the Brazilian rural population has decreased by more than three million during the 2000-2010 period.
In Bahia, an innovative experiment aims at contributing to reverse this situation. The Development and Integrated Growth Program with Sustainability (PDCIS), which operates in the Environmental Protection Area Mosaic of the Southern Bahia Lowlands (region with 11 municipalities and home to 285,000 people), promotes education, generation of work and income, with citizenship and respect for the environment.
The program, coordinated by the Odebrecht Foundation, unites the efforts of the Federal, State and Municipal Governments, the private sector and the organized civil society, to make the above-mentioned region prosperous, in a socio-economic and environmentally sustainable manner, keeping the youth in the countryside, fully integrated with their families and into their communities.
The PDCIS seeks to build opportunities for young people and their families assisting them in developing the communities where they live. Through the Rural Family Houses, Civil Associations that create favorable conditions for youths to access a contextual education, in harmony with the reality of the countryside and directed to training young rural entrepreneurs.
The methodology used by these teaching units is the Pedagogy of Alternation, where students spend a week boarded in the school, with lessons in the classroom and in the field, and two weeks in their family properties, putting into practice the new acquired knowledge, under the close supervision and the guidance of expert monitors. The four Family Houses in activity have benefited around 950 young people.
The graduation period takes three years. During these, students learn about farm management, soil management, irrigation, drainage, cooperatives, in addition to the tending and needs of several crops. Students go through different stages during the process of training and, from the first year, have direct contact with specific productive practices dedicated to the area of their course. A total of three Rural Family Houses are already accredited to offer technical courses integrated into the Secondary Education syllabus. One is in accreditation phase. Check them out:
• Rural Family House of Presidente Tancredo Neves – CFR-PTN:
It encourages young people to remain in the countryside and in the family farms. Established and located at the Presidente Tancredo Neves municipality (BA), the CFR-PTN is accredited by the State Board of Education Bahia to teach Technical Professional Education in Agriculture course, Integrated to the Secondary Education Syllabus and affiliated to the State of Bahia Department of Education. The CFR-PTN students assisted by the Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research (Embrapa) access techniques, developed by Embrapa in the implanted Experimentation field in Novo Horizonte farm, where the Family House is located, that ensure higher quality and productivity in the cultivation of their crops. All knowledge is shared with the community, transforming these young people in local development agents and potential leaders. The Teaching unit in a already operational partnership with the Bank of Brazil Foundation (FBB), deployed PAIS - Integrated and Sustainable Agroecological Production, a social technology that promotes sustainable agriculture.
• Rural Family House of Igrapiúna – CFR-I:
Here the youths learn about rural administration, management of natural resources (soil, water, flora and fauna), cooperatives, to the tending and needs of several crops. CFR-I, located in Igrapiúna municipality (BA) offers the course of Professional Technical Education in Agribusiness Integrated with Secondary Education Syllabus. The House is accredited by the State Board of Education and affiliated by with the State of Bahia Department of Education. Besides formal classes the education is complemented by activities in the computer lab, internships, rural workshops, technical visits and farming performed on the properties of the students’ Family-Units.
• Agroforestry Family House – Cfaf:
Located in Nilo Peçanha municipality (BA), CFAF is a reference center in the generation and dissemination of knowledge applied to agroforestry activities. In this educational unit accredited and affiliated by the State of Bahia Department of Education, young people have access to the Technical Professional Education in Forests course integrated to Secondary Education Syllabus. The House combines traditional and technical knowledge, adapting the current teaching methodologies and best practices to the local reality and the available natural resources. Inserted in an environment where there is a predominance of quilombola communities, CFAF incorporated traits of this cultural heritage into its curriculum, addressed through actions that bring to the young people the history of their ancestors, rescuing their identity and local traditions.
• Water Family House – CFA:
The Water Family House Educates young people for citizenship and a productive way of life, integrating in a synergistic manner actions focused on developing new aquaculture entrepreneurs i.e. Fish Farmers.
The CFA provides a Qualification course in Aquaculture with the duration of one year. The proposal is to professionalize them as rural fish farmers, specialized in tilapia. The training covers topics such as Fish Technology, Cooperatives and Associations, among others. Currently the structuring process for official accreditation within the State of Bahia Department of Education in order for it to be granted the license to teach the course of Technical Professional Education in Aquaculture Integrated to Secondary Education syllabus is in the right track.
In addition to the Rural Family Houses, it is also inserted in this context the Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP) Youth House, which promotes qualified education for the reality of the countryside through the development of an educational technology adapted and adjusted for the needs of rural works.
The Youth House is the result of joint action between the organized civil society, public authorities (state and municipal) and Private Enterprise. The educational campus, supported by the OSCIP, offers basic education: kindergarden, elementary, as well as the secondary level and Youth and Adult Education. Students receive a civic education, based on the incentive to be masters of their own destinies.
About the Odebrecht Foundation
The Odebrecht Foundation, a private, nonprofit institution, established by the Odebrecht Group, turns 50 in 2015. Since its inception, the Odebrecht Foundation focus on contributing to the formation of a structured population in family units, responsible for their own sustainable development. Its mission is to educate for life, through work, for values and the overcoming limits.
The Foundation focuses its efforts on the development of adolescents and their families, based on their abilities and needs, in order to create solutions in conjunction with local communities. The essence of the chosen actions is based on the principles, concepts and criteria of the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology, which focus on education and work, and values human capabilities, such as the willingness to serve and the desire to evolve.