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A YEAR IN

BRAZIL SUMMARY REPORT

09

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GOOD REASONS why Plan works in Brazil

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• Brazil has the largest population under six years old in the Americas. The poorest are more than twice as likely to die in childhood as their wealthier peers

Local authorities help to recognise children’s parentage

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• Only 40% of children in the north and north-east complete primary school

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• Children’s rights are often ignored, leaving them at risk of violence and abuse

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• Protecting children from harm, and promoting their rights • Ensuring that children under six are properly cared for, healthy and well-nourished

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• Helping children to grow up in a healthy environment, with clean water and nutritious food

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• Equipping communities with skills to manage their own progress and development

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Economy: Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world’s tenth largest economy at market exchange rates and the ninth largest in purchasing power parity Taquari (PPP), according Grande to the Grande International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; with large and developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool. Co rum

Population: 189 million a Cochabamba Language: Portuguese Santa Cruz Santa Cruz no Climate: Brazil hosts five Sucre osi major climatic subtypes: Taquari equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, and PARAGUAY PARAGUAY BOLIVIA temperate; BOLIVIA ranging from arija Country Office equatorial in the Country Office rainforests Programme Unit in north and semiarid deserts Programme Unit ARGENTINA the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil.

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• Improving children’s education and knowledge of health matters

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A stall at an economics fair to promote small business


A YEAR IN

BRAZIL 09 SUMMARY REPORT

FOCUS ON: IMPROVING CHILDREN’S EDUCATION In many communities in Brazil, children are denied the chance of a good education, and opportunities for the future. So Plan is working to improve the standard of schooling. We’re promoting better management of schools, helping to create schools where children and teachers feel safe from violence and increasing the number of children who can read, write and understand mathematics by the time they leave primary school. We’re also promoting the inclusion of health matters on the curriculum, particularly sexual health and how to keep safe from HIV/AIDS, a major issue in Brazil.

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A youth group rehearse a play on community rights

The Bigger Picture

Plan is working with children, families and whole communities to address the problems that Brazil faces. This report can only tell a small part of that story. As a further insight, last year we also: • Trained 8,000 families in São Luís in how best to protect and take care of children under six • Helped to raise the quality of learning for over 5,000 students • Helped 128 families in Maranhão set up family gardens to grow food for their children • Worked with 220 young people to help them overcome Brazil’s culture of violence. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these positive results. So on behalf of the communities, partner organisations, and most of all the children we work with – thank you!

onica is very pleased with her new school. “What made me happier was to study closer to home and be able to play longer,” she explains. “I think this school turned out nice.” Monica has more reason than most to be proud of her school: she is part of the community that helped to build it. Monica lives in Codó Novo, a slum area in Maranhão state, north-east Brazil. Here, children lack basic services, like a decent school, or proper treatment when they are ill. Many parents struggle to make ends meet, and cannot afford alternatives. One thing the community has in abundance however, is motivation. Since Plan began working with families in Codó Novo we’re seeing positive changes in children’s education and wellbeing. Local people are keen to tackle the problems they face. They are ambitious for their community, and their children. So it was no surprise to Plan when children and families wanted to talk to us about their concerns over their local school. Pupils were missing out on education because Rozalina Zaidan Municipal School did not have enough space. It could take pupils up to the fourth year of primary school, but no further. This left parents with no choice but to send their children to schools far from home to finish their education. Sadly, some stayed behind, with few skills and little hope of a job later on. Testing solutions

“After this work, I became confident that we could fight for our objectives and reach our goals.”

To learn more about Plan’s work in Brazil visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/brazil

Produced for Brazil by the Australian National Office.

Together, we agreed on a solution to double the size of the school, building another four classrooms and a library with funds donated by Plan. Parents knew that if they were to play an active part in the future of their school they had to learn how to manage its expansion and the running of

“Local people are keen to tackle the problems they face. They are ambitious for their community, and their children.”

the new facilities themselves. After discussions with Plan, we decided to pilot an initiative that would give them the skills to oversee every stage of the project, and perhaps to improve their communities in other ways too. First, the community went to school. In a special assembly, they elected a committee of parents and teachers to manage the project. With training in finance and administration from Plan, the committee and School Director took control of the budget, monitoring spending and ensuring the building work ran smoothly. This was the first time committee members had taken on such a responsibility. Some doubted the project would work. “In the beginning I did not believe in the project,” said Merilande Pinto de Lime, a teacher. “I thought that it would be just one more donation of money to build another school.” Valuable learning Her fears were unfounded. It’s been a spectacular success. The new classrooms are bright and comfortable, and the children are keen to be in school. New teachers have been hired. Parents no longer worry about their children’s education. But these are not the only benefits. Working on the project has given the community lasting skills. It has brought parents together and made them stronger. Their teamwork and determination has given their children the school they deserve. “After this work, I became confident that we could fight for our objectives and reach our goals,” says Merliande. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy purposes.

plan.org.au


Plan Brazil Annual Progress Report 2009