Since its creation 52 years ago, the Odebrecht Foundation forges partnerships that are essential for promoting the social transformation of youth and their families. When, in 2003, it decided to concentrate its efforts in the lowlands of southern Bahia state by creating the Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), the institution already knew it would require intensive teamwork. A bond that involves not just qualified financial contributions and technology transfers, but a firm commitment to acting ethically, with integrity and transparency, guided by clear goals and robust accountability.
Mitsubishi Corporation and Braskem are some of the companies that embraced this development model and support the foundation through Private Social Investment. This practice is characterized by the voluntary, systematic, monitored and planned transfer of private funds to social, environmental, cultural or scientific projects. The projects may be executed by foundations, companies, institutes (both professional and family run), communities or individuals.
Mitsubishi, which has been a supporter of the Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS) for nine years, believes in the transformational potential of educating youth living in rural areas. Aiichiro Matsunaga, Regional CEO of the Mitsubishi Corporation for Latin America, visited the region in 2014 and was impressed by the work conducted by the Family Homes, which are schools supported by the Odebrecht Foundation through the PDCIS that, through contextualized education, combine a high school education with vocational training. “I'm happy to help the local community earn a living by teaching agricultural techniques, while we protect the environment,” he said. The Agroforest Family Home (Cfaf) in Nilo Peçanha, the Rural Family Home in Presidente Tancredo Neves (CFR-PTN) and the Rural Family Home in Igrapiúna (CFR-I) are supported by Mitsubishi.
Aiichiro Matsunaga, Regional CEO of the Mitsubishi Corporation for Latin America (in red shirt), visiting the Lowlands of southern Bahia in 2014
According to Jorge Soto, Sustainable Development Director, Braskem is proud to be an investor in the institutions supported by the foundation, working on both educational and environmental projects, jointly with the Land Conservation Organization (OCT). “These projects promote social inclusion through entrepreneurship and environmental preservation. This is fully aligned with Braskem’s purpose of improving people’s lives. We believe that sustainable development never should be conducted separately, so this type of partnership is fundamental, especially when there’s complete alignment of values, such as between these two organizations [Odebrecht Foundation and Braskem].”
A partnership that transforms
Through the Tribute to the Future program, another fundamental partnership is secured with the Local Boards for Children and Adolescent Rights (CMDCA) of the cities hosting the educational units, which execute the projects supported by the program. “The partnership with the Odebrecht Foundation is extremely valuable, because it helps us raise funds for the Municipal Children and Adolescent Funds and to work with public and municipal policies focusing on children’s rights,” commented Robson de Carvalho, President of CMDCA of Nilo Peçanha.
In 2015, Myriam Tricate, coordinator of the PEA in Brazil, was one of the representatives from Unesco who visited the Family Homes
Another major transformational link is with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In 2015, the Family Homes supported by the PDCIS became part of the Associated Schools in Brazil Program (PEA), which is a network of 364 schools that work to promote the values and development of a culture of sustainability and peace. After visiting the Homes in 2015, Myriam Tricate, the coordinator of PEA in Brazil, commented on the schools’ impacts in the region. “It was the clearest demonstration of the transformational power of education. There is no doubt that knowledge is essential for our lives, for our work and for this world in which we have to learn throughout our life. I believe education adds something extra. It teaches us to dream, broadens our horizons and makes us want to go farther, and that is my wish to the students of the Lowlands of southern Bahia. May they dream big and make big things happen,” she said.