The Government of Brazil, long struggling with rural economic development recognized that breaking the poverty cycle would take an innovative, community-owned and sustainable response. Previous programs led to short-term gains, masking the underlying structural barriers to access for women and girls. From our investigation, we understood that:
- A welfare-state model would only increase community dependence on unsustainable government funding.
- Relocating residents to thriving economic communities would destroy families and hinder organic growth.
- Employing status quo economic development strategies would only address the problem in the short-term.
- An industry-driven college education, tied to key economic sectors and supported by learner-centered services would address the core issue: sustainable employment and economic livelihood. Therein lay our path to eradicating poverty in Northern Brazil.
We knew from experience that sustainable economic development is driven by employer-focused training, community engagement and investment in SME growth. So, we partnered with 12 strategically-situated Federal Institutes (IF) to model the change.
- We developed a broad range of technical training programs and ensured their sustainability with train-the-trainer and professional development workshops for ministry staff, senior IF administrators and faculty members across all participating institutions.
- We worked with IFs to develop the tools, techniques and curriculum that would provide participants with services, training and links to employers to enter or progress in the workforce.
- We collaborated with all 12 IFs to develop harmonized policies, procedures and services to ensure a consistent, measurable approach to community outreach, accessible learner intake processes, career counselling and prior learning assessments, spurring significant interest by women seeking opportunity.
Impact on the Client
- The success of the Mulheres Mil project was astounding. In 2012, the Brazilian government committed to making it a national program as part of its “Brazil Without Poverty” initiative promoting equity, gender equality, women’s access to education and the labour force and ending violence against women.
- The program was eventually rolled out across Brazil’s entire college system with the goal of reaching 8 million women in 4,000 communities. For women who once faced economic struggle, Mulheres Mil offers hope and the opportunity for women to believe in themselves.
- We empowered thousands of Brazilian women, who were poorly educated, socially and economically vulnerable, and excluded from the labour market. Today, those women are breaking the cycle of poverty by providing women within their communities with the education and skills to succeed.
The Thousand Women national program is among the affirmative public policies of social inclusion and equity. It’s one action within the Brazil without Poverty Plan, which is part of the set of priorities concerning the Brazilian government public policies, especially under the following axes: promotion of equity, gender, fighting violence against women and women’s access to education and the labor market.