Reflection on Salvador de Bahia

I was lucky enough to have been able to spend some time visiting a Mulheres Mil site in Salvador de Bahia at the end of June.Not only does the Instituto Federal de Bahia (IFBA) have more expirience in running the MM program, they are also uniquely situatied in the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture and history.

Our first day of work consisted of a meeting with program coordinators, Paula and Regina. It was interesting to find out that currently the two programs they have running are Elderly Care and Early Child Care with 32 and 40 students respectively in each program. Furthermore we discovered that IFBA´s Mulheres Mil program works with the entire city of Salvador where as Taguatinga Campus and the majority of programs in other campuses have specific target communities. This of course speaks to the realities of a city like Salvador which is culturally incredibly rich but despite this has not benefited from the economic success of Brazil over the past decade and continues to be one of the poorest states in the country. Brazil’s social discrepancies are blatantly evident here, albeit countered by strong social grassroots movements, irrigated by hope and inspired by a heart-warming lifestyle.

Something that struck me quite strongly during my time in Salvador was the racial dynamics of the sharing experiences within the MM classes. It was very rare that a Afro-Brazilian women would volunteer to speak about her experiences. Lighter Brazilian women often volunteered to speak and took up quiet a bit of space sharing about their lives and reflections on the program, this is of course necessary but does raise awareness about race issue still plaguing Brazil. Speaking and sharing in public has a lot to do with power and oppression and these dynamics are still being navigated and dealt with in Salvador.

My time in Salvador was truely eye opening. Brazil is the largest country in the Americas and it was quite apperant how much the socioeconomic reality changes from city border to city border.

Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Everything I pass a bus stop in Brazil I’m reminded of his words. The Brazilian government made a very smart decision to improve city landscapes by incorporating a “take a book-leave a book” library at each stop. Tip of the hat to you Brazil.

Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Everything I pass a bus stop in Brazil I’m reminded of his words. The Brazilian government made a very smart decision to improve city landscapes by incorporating a “take a book-leave a book” library at each stop.

Tip of the hat to you Brazil.

Here is a short video I took yesterday of the Ministry of Human Rights Patricia Barcelos’ opening speech for the Mulheres Mil Methodology and Training Conference.

Inspiring day at the Mulheres Mil Methodology overview session. Paul Singer, professor,economist, and heavily published writer gave a great speech which I will post tonight or tomorrow.

Patricia Barcelos of the Ministry of Human Rights gave an equally moving opening talk to the day, reflecting on the passion required to run a program like this and emphasizing the importance of women as catalysts of social change.

Brazil As An Emerging Donor: OverviewThe majority of my blogging about Brazil has focused on reforms in the education system. This change is of course indicative of greater strides the country has been making in repositioning itself as an emerging global leader.
I have a particular interest in sustainable development so I thought I would take a step back from education in order to examine Brazil´s new position as donor rather then recipient.There has been a recent shift in Brazilian thinking from viewing itself as a recipient of expertise and aid to one of offering support to other national efforts. Brazil has a broad history of creative problem solving in difficult situations which makes it well positioned to understand development work. Social inclusion with a focus on the environment seem to be the underlining themes of Brazil´s approach to development work.To get a good sense of Brazil´s recent growth let´s take a look at Brazil´s contributions to international and regional development.International Relations ( South-South relations)2005 Brazil contributed US $ 158 million2009 Brazil contributed US $362 million

The growth seen from 2005 to 2009 is largely an influence of Lula´s administration and his focus on improving South-South relations. Brazil seems to see itself more as a partnership builder rather then a donor. Brazilian aid in the early 2000´s was southern oriented and based on demand. Another distinguishing feature of Brazil´s emerging donor status is its approach to development;it has preferred to disseminate knowledge and training in order to build human resources in recipient countries rather then give cash.

In 2009 Brazil was ahead of China, Russia and Mexico in it´s contributions to international organizations, regional banks, peacekeepers ( Haiti), funds to the World Bank, International Development of America Bank and African Development Bank.Brazil has had rapid growth in bilateral humanitarian aid for emergency assistance, especially food and medicine.
2005: US $ 750,000
2009: US $ 43.5 million
The majority of this aid went to Cuba, Haiti and Honduras.The Brazilian National Development Bank offers financing to governments who contract Brazilian companies for large scale infrastructure programs.
2008: US $204 million
2009: US $ 860 million
Interestingly enough aside from multilateral contributions, humanitarian aid, and some foreign student assistance, only 5.5 %-13.5% of the annual Brazilian development assistance actually represents technical cooperation projects. These projects best highlight Brazil’s unique `solidarity diplomacy`.
More then 100 federal organizations have been involved in lending expertise for technical cooperation projects with most of the costs being absorbed by the agencies.Brazil is focused on passing on its innovation and expertise to other countries as seen by the 300 + on-going or recently finished projects, examples include replications of Brazil´s AIDS programs and agricultural knowledge dissemination.Overall Brazil has had two main phases to it´s technical cooperation projects with the first set focusing on Africa. Guinea, Mozambique, Zambia and 8 West African countries of The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). Most of Brazil´s support has focused on supporting national efforts for the introduction of biofuels.
The second cluster of projects are with the Americas and focus on the exchange of research and information for environmental protection and biofuels.In the last 10 years Brazil has greatly expanded its development assistance for other countries. Technical cooperation projects use to form the bulk of Brazil´s assistance projects and served to introduce Brazil´s solidarity diplomacy to the world. More and more we will see the importance of Brazil as a contributor to the global common good, such a achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Brazil As An Emerging Donor: Overview

The majority of my blogging about Brazil has focused on reforms in the education system. This change is of course indicative of greater strides the country has been making in repositioning itself as an emerging global leader.

I have a particular interest in sustainable development so I thought I would take a step back from education in order to examine Brazil´s new position as donor rather then recipient.

There has been a recent shift in Brazilian thinking from viewing itself as a recipient of expertise and aid to one of offering support to other national efforts. Brazil has a broad history of creative problem solving in difficult situations which makes it well positioned to understand development work. Social inclusion with a focus on the environment seem to be the underlining themes of Brazil´s approach to development work.

To get a good sense of Brazil´s recent growth let´s take a look at Brazil´s contributions to international and regional development.

International Relations ( South-South relations)
2005 Brazil contributed US $ 158 million
2009 Brazil contributed US $362 million

The growth seen from 2005 to 2009 is largely an influence of Lula´s administration and his focus on improving South-South relations. Brazil seems to see itself more as a partnership builder rather then a donor. Brazilian aid in the early 2000´s was southern oriented and based on demand. Another distinguishing feature of Brazil´s emerging donor status is its approach to development;it has preferred to disseminate knowledge and training in order to build human resources in recipient countries rather then give cash.

In 2009 Brazil was ahead of China, Russia and Mexico in it´s contributions to international organizations, regional banks, peacekeepers ( Haiti), funds to the World Bank, International Development of America Bank and African Development Bank.

Brazil has had rapid growth in bilateral humanitarian aid for emergency assistance, especially food and medicine.

  • 2005: US $ 750,000
  • 2009: US $ 43.5 million


The majority of this aid went to Cuba, Haiti and Honduras.

The Brazilian National Development Bank offers financing to governments who contract Brazilian companies for large scale infrastructure programs.

  • 2008: US $204 million
  • 2009: US $ 860 million


Interestingly enough aside from multilateral contributions, humanitarian aid, and some foreign student assistance, only 5.5 %-13.5% of the annual Brazilian development assistance actually represents technical cooperation projects. These projects best highlight Brazil’s unique `solidarity diplomacy`.

More then 100 federal organizations have been involved in lending expertise for technical cooperation projects with most of the costs being absorbed by the agencies.

Brazil is focused on passing on its innovation and expertise to other countries as seen by the 300 + on-going or recently finished projects, examples include replications of Brazil´s AIDS programs and agricultural knowledge dissemination.

Overall Brazil has had two main phases to it´s technical cooperation projects with the first set focusing on Africa. Guinea, Mozambique, Zambia and 8 West African countries of
The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). Most of Brazil´s support has focused on supporting national efforts for the introduction of biofuels.


The second cluster of projects are with the Americas and focus on the exchange of research and information for environmental protection and biofuels.

In the last 10 years Brazil has greatly expanded its development assistance for other countries. Technical cooperation projects use to form the bulk of Brazil´s assistance projects and served to introduce Brazil´s solidarity diplomacy to the world. More and more we will see the importance of Brazil as a contributor to the global common good, such a achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Brazil Approves Racial Quotas for Higher EducationAs you may have gathered from past posts I have thus far spent the majority of the few months before arriving to Brazil and now in Brazil working on social development through education. The `college`system is still fairly new to Brazil and has had and continues to have impressive growth.
I recently read about a Supreme Court of Brazil plenary session where a decision was made for the adoption of racial quota policies in higher education institutions across the country. It will not be mandatory, instead it will allow educational institutions the legal right to devote a specific percentage of places for students of African and/or Indigenous origin.
The measure is a reflection of affirmative action policies being constitutional in the country since democratization in 1988. These policies basically state that Brazil acknowledges that people are not treated equally and as a result do not have the same opportunities which prevents them from producing knowledge and engaging in the power of negotiation.
The University of Brasilia (UNB) was the first educational institution to adopt the measure when, in 2004, it started reserving 20% of its university places exclusively for students of African decent, and a smaller percentage for those of Indigenous background, without the entry requirement of taking the regular university exam. 
According to Minister Joaquim Barbosa, “these measures are intended not only to combat manifestations of blatant discrimination, but discrimination in fact, that is absolutely rooted in society, and so ingrained, people do not perceive it”,
However, not everyone agrees with the decision of the Supreme Court. Videoblogger Daniel Fraga argues that in a country such as Brazil, where racial mixing is very high, it would be difficult to correctly define who really is black or white. This decision would be made based on a “visual criteria,” and mentions UNB’s case of two twin brothers, one considered white and the other black, the latter gaining a quota place at the university. The discussion will continue in the coming weeks since, besides this action, the Supreme Court is yet to decide the constitutionality of racial quotas when applied to a student who attended public school.

Brazil Approves Racial Quotas for Higher Education

As you may have gathered from past posts I have thus far spent the majority of the few months before arriving to Brazil and now in Brazil working on social development through education. The `college`system is still fairly new to Brazil and has had and continues to have impressive growth.

I recently read about a Supreme Court of Brazil plenary session where a decision was made for the adoption of racial quota policies in higher education institutions across the country. It will not be mandatory, instead it will allow educational institutions the legal right to devote a specific percentage of places for students of African and/or Indigenous origin.

The measure is a reflection of affirmative action policies being constitutional in the country since democratization in 1988. These policies basically state that Brazil acknowledges that people are not treated equally and as a result do not have the same opportunities which prevents them from producing knowledge and engaging in the power of negotiation.

The University of Brasilia (UNB) was the first educational institution to adopt the measure when, in 2004, it started reserving 20% of its university places exclusively for students of African decent, and a smaller percentage for those of Indigenous background, without the entry requirement of taking the regular university exam. 

According to Minister Joaquim Barbosa, “these measures are intended not only to combat manifestations of blatant discrimination, but discrimination in fact, that is absolutely rooted in society, and so ingrained, people do not perceive it”,

However, not everyone agrees with the decision of the Supreme Court. Videoblogger Daniel Fraga argues that in a country such as Brazil, where racial mixing is very high, it would be difficult to correctly define who really is black or white. This decision would be made based on a “visual criteria,” and mentions UNB’s case of two twin brothers, one considered white and the other black, the latter gaining a quota place at the university.

The discussion will continue in the coming weeks since, besides this action, the Supreme Court is yet to decide the constitutionality of racial quotas when applied to a student who attended public school.

Ana drops some knowledge