The Odebrecht Foundation, which created in 1965, has defined youth as the focus of its operations for the past 25 years, assuming the mission of educate for life, through work, on the basis of values and surpassing limits.
The decision to do things “with youth” as opposed to “for youth,” and understanding youth as part of the solution, is referred to as Youth Leadership. The term was created by Professor Antonio Carlos Gomes da Costa and has been adopted by the Non-Profit Sector.
Seeking to operate within this context and develop methodologies and strategies for social intervention, Odebrecht supported some 50 projects directly and indirectly from 1988 to 2002 throughout the whole country. The topics varied from volunteerism to work, education and sexuality.
In 1999, the Odebrecht Foundation adjusted its operations to include micro regions in Bahia, Ceará and Pernambuco with low Human Development Indexes and which fell outside the dynamic sphere of the Brazilian economy. To achieve this goal, it teamed up with the Ayrton Senna Institute, Kellogg Foundation and the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) to implement the Alliance with Adolescents for Sustainable Development Program in Brazil’s Northeastern Region.
In 2003, it began to exclusively concentrate its efforts in the Bahia Southern Lowlands with aims of helping form a new generation, one that is more conscious and well-qualified. The maturity and evolution of the actions in the Bahia Southern Lowlands originated in the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), which receives support from public and private partners. The challenge is to turn a rural area with important environmental assets into a prosperous and dynamic region, placing talented youth in the field.