“Learning to be, to know, to do and to live together”. This was the premise which accompanied more than 600 educators from all over Brazil attending the XXIII National Meeting of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet), held between September 27 and 29 in Foz do Iguaçu (Paraná). Representing the educational component promoted by the Odebrecht Foundation, Family House students and directors supported in the Southern Bahia Lowlands and Foundation leaders attended the event – the largest ever held in the country.
An intensive exchange of experiences, through cultural presentations, accounts of successful projects, round tables and talks with specialists such as Paulo Artaxo from the University of São Paulo and Aziz Abu Sarah from National Geographic were the highlights of these three days. “We feel a strong sense of achievement when seeing in practice that we are taking a journey in synergy with what is being discussed in terms of education in Brazil and around the world. We have the same motivation: seeking to construct a better future by believing in the next generations”, highlighted Fabio Wanderley, Odebrecht Foundation Senior Officer.
From the point of view of Eliana Batista, Cleiton Costa and Marcelo dos Santos, the three young protagonists who represented the Igrapiúna (CFR-I in Portuguese), Presidente Tancredo Neves (CFR-PTN in Portuguese) and Agroforestry (CFAF in Portuguese) Family Houses, the high point of taking part was the experience with other institutions. “I am really happy to learn from different realities than mine”, said Eliana. “I found out about schools which also benefit quilombola communities. It was really rewarding”, commented Marcelo. For Cleiton, concern for the environment caught his eye. “It is really good to know that Unesco and other institutions are committed to climate change and natural resources, like us”, he stressed. According to the CFR-I Director, Francisvaldo Rosa, it is an exchange which will be shared with the communities. “We are returning with the mission of clarifying all of the experience acquired here”, he added. In 2015, the three educational institutions became UNESCO associates and part of the ASPnet.
The event also celebrated the certification of 77 new schools on the program, which is now the second largest in the world in the number of associates and touched on aspects relevant to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Our target is to take to the schools the importance of following the SDGs as a priority in their work and show how education influences attaining all the other goals”, confirmed Maria Rebeca Gomes, Unesco Brazil Education Coordinator. It is an approach which, according to Odebrecht Foundation Educational Coordinator, Joana Almeida, is now practiced at the educational units supported in the Southern Bahia Lowlands. “Taking part in the meeting is a great opportunity for us to share UNESCO’s central topics, which are the Family Houses’ pillars, such as sustainable development, the culture of peace, ethics and respect for diversity”, she confirmed.
CFR-PTN, CFAF and CFR-I are part of the Development and Integrated Growth Program with Sustainability (PDCIS in Portuguese), designed and promoted by the Odebrecht Foundation. The initiative’s pillars are education and work, inspired by Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO in Portuguese).
Created by UNESCO in 1953 and present in more than 181 countries, the Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) emerged as a mission to promote a shared position to improve the quality of education, according to criteria defined within the scope of peace, human rights, sustainability and quality of life. It has 364 associated schools in Brazil, representing more than 342,000 students and 26,000 teachers are directly involved.