In 1999, the Odebrecht Foundation arrived to Bahia’s southern lowlands, where a vicious cycle of poverty and social exclusion had taken hold. In its efforts to reverse this situation, the foundation soon discovered that was not enough to offer the youth quality education. It was necessary to protect the Atlantic Forest and guarantee a healthy environment. It was also necessary to offer dignified work opportunities and fair income distribution, allowing for access to justice and full exercise of citizenship.
A community initiative focused on the community has helped improve the quality of life of hundreds of rural farmers and their families. The Bahia Baixo Sul Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS) has accepted the challenge of turning a rural area with major environmental heritage into a prosperous and dynamic region, placing talented youth in the field. To achieve this common, superior and noble objective, PDIS established partnerships with several different actors in organized civil society, the federal, state and municipal governments and private initiative, forming an innovative Governance system, where the first, second and third sectors work in an integrated and synergic fashion to promote social inclusion.
The actions focus on the youth and their interaction with their families, aiming to transform the reality of the rural zone. The projects underway promote the simultaneous development of four Capitals: Productive (Generation of work and income), Human (Quality rural education), Social (Construction of a more just and unified society) and Environmental (Conservation of natural resources). “The result will certainly lead to the construction of a sustainable development model that can be reapplied in other regions of Bahia, Brazil and the rest of the world,” said Mauricio Medeiros, Executive Chairman of the Odebrecht Foundation.