Mobilizing intelligences in Brazil to focus on issues of public interest was the focus of the Emílio Odebrecht Foundation (former name) back in 1982. A few years of work were sufficient to realize that it was not enough to simply foster ideas and present solutions - it was also necessary to promote the conditions to put them into practice.
This understanding prompted the foundation to rethink its role in 1988, choosing as a priority the education of adolescents for life and promoting Youth Engagement – an educational philosophy that has become a heritage of the Third Sector.
In partnership with the United Nations Fund for Childhood (UNICE F), the foundation began the campaign “Only School Can Correct Brazil” in 1994. It advocated that the country’s biggest educational problem was the lack of quality teaching, as opposed to the lack of educational centers.
The following year, the institution changed its name to become the Odebrecht Foundation. Also during this time, it launched the theme “Adolescents for a Better School,” which granted awards for the best proposals for improvements at teaching institutions presented by youth ages 13 to 18.
Timóteo de Mattos, 29, participated in one of the editions of the award and earned third place. “I would say that this experience represented a real change in awareness for me in my life”, said Mattos. The initiative involved 2,850 youth from 422 municipalities in 19 Brazilian states. A total of 924 works were presented.