Mitsubishi Corporation renewed for three more years its partnership with the Odebrecht Foundation to promote the sustainable development of youth in the Lowlands of Southern Bahia. Since 2009, the institutions have joined forces to carry out educational, productive and environmental projects in the region, which is home to 285,000 people in 11 municipalities with low Human Development Indexes.
Under the new Cooperation Agreement, the Japanese multinational will focus on the teaching in context of students at the three Family Homes supported by Odebrecht Foundation (Agroforest Family House (Cfaf), Rural Family House in Igrapiúna (CFR-I) and Rural Family House in Presidente Tancredo Neves (CFR-PTN)), which includes investments to train over 300 new rural entrepreneurs each year.
According to Fabio Wanderley, Superintendent at the Odebrecht Foundation, the partnership goes beyond financial support. “We’re working to benefit communities and foster development and social transformation, with the entire effort grounded in solid values that uphold ethical conduct, with integrity and transparency,” he said.
Students from the Rural Family Home in Igrapiúna (CFR-I), one of the institutions supported by Odebrecht Foundation
According to Aiichiro Matsunaga, CEO for Latin America at the Mitsubishi Corporation, the surprising results achieved by the Family Homes reinforce the decision to opt for this model of education and sustainable development. “It’s really rewarding to be able to help local residents become self-sufficient by teaching them agricultural techniques, while we also help to protect the environment,” he said.
Part of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) and supported by the Odebrecht Foundation through the Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), the three Family Houses reached the mark of 1,200 young graduates and students in 2017.
At the institutions, which offer technical programs integrated with their high school education, students such as Renata Silva, 15, learn farm management, soil management, irrigation, cooperatives, ethics, citizenship, as well as the proper techniques for cultivating a variety of crops and courses from the national common curriculum. A resident of the small community of São Paulinho in Teolândia, Bahia, the teenager started cultivating her land by planting four hectares with plantains. In a year and a half, she expects to harvest 90 tons of fruit, with revenue estimated at R$20,000. “I’m determined to enjoy quality of life here in this rural area, helping my community and family,” said the sophomore student from the CFR-PTN.
In 2014, Matsunaga visited the Lowlands of Southern Bahia and heard firsthand from students their stories of transformation. “I saw the joy in their eyes when they put into practice what they learned through this project, with the hope of raising their families right there, without having to leave,” he said during his visit to the Family Homes.