To educate youth for life, through work and with orientations on values and limits. This is the mission of the Odebrecht Foundation, which encourages the participation of the youth as active subjects, co-authors, multiplying agents and promoters of social actions in every project it supports.
Created in 1965 by Norberto Odebrecht, the institution originally offered Members benefits not covered by the Pension Fund. Over the following years, the Organization’s different companies assumed these responsibilities, prompting the Odebrecht foundation to direct its actions at issues of public interest. Mobilizing opinion shapers through awards and political and academic debates, its goal was to help the government resolve society’s problems.
Starting in 1988, the institution decided to take a major step forward in favor of social advances. The foundation became concerned with creating the conditions to put the proposals it supported into practice. Since then, it has been concentrating on the education of youth, helping to develop responsible, conscious, productive and unified citizens who can play a leading role in their own destinies.
With this new focus, the institution began to dedicate its activities to Brazil’s Northeastern region, always prioritizing those regions with low Human Development Indexes (HDI) and which fell outside the dynamic axis of the country’s economy. Since 2003, the Odebrecht Foundation has supported families from Bahia Southern Lowlands in partnership with the government, private initiative and civil society organizations, among others.
In the region, it heads the Development and Integrated Growth Program with Sustainability for the Southern Bahia Lowlands Environmental Protection Areas Mosaic (PDCIS). The challenge of this initiative is to elaborate a model of sustainable development for the Environmental Protection Areas (APAs) within a governance system that can be reapplied in other contexts.
In this area, the natural wealth and agricultural potential still must co-exist with poverty and illiteracy - factors that limit the region’s development. And to reverse this scenario, the Odebrecht Foundation develops projects designed to keep youth in the rural regions by generating work and income and transforming them into agents of local progress.
This program earned the institution the 2010 UN Public Service Award granted by the United Nations Organization. PDCIS was the only action recognized in Latin America and the Caribbean and placed first in the category “Improving Citizen Participation in Public Decision-Making Processes through Innovative Mechanisms.”
The foundation’s actions are focused on the existence of four capitals in communities of any socioeconomic profile:
- Human Capital – quality rural education;
- Social Capital – construction of a more just and unified society;
- Environmental Capital – conservation of natural resources;
- Productive Capital – generation of work and income.