Representatives of the government of Nepal are introduced to UNICEF initiatives in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro/ Salvador/ Brasília, July 3, 2010 – From June 28th to July 2nd, representatives of the upper echelon of the government of Nepal visited Brazil to learn about the initiatives developed by UNICEF and its partners in the country. The delegation, which consisted of seven government secretaries and an officer from UNICEF Nepal, were introduced to some projects supported by UNICEF and met with community leaders, NGO representatives and state and municipal governments, in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, and the federal government in Brasília.
The visitors from Nepal were in Rio de Janeiro to learn about the Platform for Urban Centers (PCU), an initiative launched by UNICEF and its partners to mobilize governments and society for the rights of children and adolescents who live in the “comunidades populares ” in Brazilian cities.
On the first day of the visit to Brazil, Luciana Phebo, coordinator of the UNICEF Zone Office in Rio de Janeiro, and Katia Edmundo, executive director of the NGO Centro de Promoção da Saúde (CEDAPS), presented the Platform for Urban Centers and its connection to the Child Friendly Cities initiative. This initiative was launched in 1996 at the second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), to make cities more livable places for everyone, especially boys and girls.
Later that morning on June 28th, Viviane Castello Branco, coordinator of Intersectorial Policies and Actions of the Municipal Department of Health and Civil Defense of Rio de Janeiro (SMSDC), spoke about the Adolescent Health Promoters Network (Rede de Adolescentes Promotores de Saúde), otherwise known as RAP da Saúde, a SMSDC project in partnership with CEDAPS, active in more than 50 communities in Rio de Janeiro. Along with the Platform for Urban Centers, RAP is integrating the Youth Communicators of the PCU with other young people working on health issues.
Visits to the “comunidades populares”
On Tuesday June 29th, the delegation from Nepal, accompanied by representatives of UNICEF and CEDAPS, visited the Family Health Program and an Integrated Public Education Center (CIEP) in Borel, in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro, to learn more about the reality of the “comunidades populares” in the city. In the community of Borel, the Nepalese government officials learned about the results of mapping and research carried out by children and adolescents on the life of girls and boys in Rio de Janeiro. This research was the starting point of the Platform for Urban Centers in Rio de Janeiro, marked especially by the community and youth leadership and by the preparation of decision-making data. In CIEP Dr. Antoine Magarinos Torres Filho, the visitors from Nepal had the opportunity to speak with some children who participated in this initiative.
On the last step of their visit to Rio de Janeiro, the Nepalese delegation visited the NGO Favela Observatory (Observatório de Favelas), in the community of Maré. The general coordinator of the Obervatório, Jorge Barbosa, talked about the work of the organization and its policy of communication, which aims to place favelas at the center of media production and culture, and especially at the center of discussion in society, so that favelas will be seen with different eyes. The representatives of Nepal also learned about the Program for the Reduction of Lethal Violence against Adolescents and Youth (Programa de Redução da Violência Letal contra Adolescentes e Jovens), carried out jointly by the Observatório de Favelas and UNICEF.
“It was very interesting to see how the Brazilian government and the NGOs work together to guarantee the rights of the children and adolescents of Brazil,” said Shyam Mainali, Secretary of Local Development in Nepal.
On Wednesday June 30th, in Salvador, the delegation from Nepal visited the UNICEF office in the Bahian capital and learned about the UNICEF Municipal Seal of Approval (Selo UNICEF Município Aprovado), an initiative aimed at strengthening public policies and improving the quality of life for the children and adolescents of the semiarid region and the Brazilian Amazon. Vilma Cabral, programme manager of UNICEF, presented the methodology for social mobilization, monitoring and evaluation of the performance of approximately 1,800 municipalities registered to the initiative.
Ruy Pavan, the coordinator of the Zone Office in Salvador, spoke about the political organization of Brazil, the model of cooperation of UNICEF in the country and the relationship between the three levels of government, civil society organizations and international organizations in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies.
Meeting with adolescents
The headquarters of Oi Kabum! School of Arts and Technology, in Pelourinho, was the meeting place for the delegation from Nepal and adolescents and youth active in different projects developed by the NGO Cipó Comunicação Interativa. Girls and boys of the Suburban Rail project (Subúrbio Ferroviário) talked about how they are using communication technology to promote rights and the development of their communities. Young people from Rede Sou de Atitude presented their experience in monitoring and evaluation of public policies for childhood and adolescence.
The visitors also visited the exhibitions “Design Como o Quê” and “De um tudo e mais um pouco”, with communication pieces created by students of Kabum, in the areas of photography, video, animation and design. The products depict the neighborhoods where the adolescents live, the popular design and the creativity of Bahians who invent simple solutions to the situations of their daily lives.
On July 1st, the Nepalis met public managers and technicians of the Government of Bahia and Municipality of Valente, in the Hall of Acts of the Governorate, in the Administrative Center. Representatives of the Secretary of Health, Education and Social Development presented the design and flow of key public policies developed by federal, state and municipal government, explaining the responsibilities of each level of government.
Ubaldino Amaral de Oliveira, the mayor of Valente, and his team showed how the town of 25,000 inhabitants, located in a semiarid region of Bahia, worked to achieve the goals of the UNICEF Municipal Seal of Approval and receive the UNICEF certificate in 2008. According to them, new efforts are being made so that the town continues to improve the quality of life of its children and adolescents and be approved again by the end of the 2009-2012 Edition of the Seal.
The representatives of the government of Nepal showed great interest in mechanisms of social indicators and evaluation of results.
Exchange of experiences
On July 2nd, the Nepalese delegation completed its studied visit to Brazil in the capital of the country, where they were received by Rômulo Paes de Sousa, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development, then acting minister. It was a good opportunity to exchange experiences between the two countries concerning the subject of resource transfer. There was, above all, a broad discussion on the Bolsa Família programme, i.e., how the municipal, state and federal spheres articulate their implementation, and lessons learned by Brazil during the eight years of existence of the programme. The Nepali representatives also learned about the Bolsa Família monitoring mechanisms.
Also in Brasília, the delegation visited the National Congress of Brazil and met with UNICEF partners in the Chamber of Deputies to learn about child and adolescent participation initiatives in the activities of Brazilian Parliament, public budget monitoring and the network COM-VIDA, which deals with environmental education, with a focus on climate change in Brazilian public schools.
Representatives of Plenarinho, Plenário Jovem and from the Centro do Forma¬ção of the Chamber of Deputies presented the experiences of child and adolescent participation in the legislative process of the house. The visiting delegation was very impressed to see that bills, written exclusively by young Brazilians, can become law.
The Department of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity, of the Ministry of Education, presented the work of environmental education developed by adolescents from public schools in several Brazilian cities, connected by the COM-VIDA network. National Conferences have been already been held where adolescents from COM-VIDA could share their experiences in environmental protection. And in June of this year, the Children and Youth International Conference for the Environment – Let’s Take Care of the Planet” – brought together adolescents from different countries, including Nepal, to discuss environmental protection.
The representatives from Nepal also had the opportunity to learn about the project Onda, developed by the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (Inesc) and talk to Pedro (18 years old), Eli (17 years old) and Israel (15 years old), who explained the work of youth and adolescents of the Federal District in the process of understanding and monitoring the public budget. The boys raised concrete examples of how to influence the process of compliance with budgetary guidelines, ensuring the transfer of resources for their schools.
For more information:
Alexandre Amorin, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Brazil
Tamar Hahn, email@example.com, , UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.