Cover Image
close this bookContributions of Youth to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HABITAT, 1999, 137 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFOREWORD
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPART I: OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL REPORTS AND LESSONS LEARNT
View the document1.1.1 DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUTH FOR HABITAT APPROACH
View the document1.1.2 HABITAT AGENDA AND YOUTH
View the document1.1.3 YOUTH COOPERATION WITH UNCHS (HABITAT)
View the document1.2.1 PREPARATION OF NATIONAL YOUTH REPORTS
close this folder1.2.2 GENERAL EVALUATION
View the document(introduction...)
View the documenta) Common issues
View the documentb) Priorities for action
View the documentc) Recommendations to Youth for Habitat International Network (YFHIN)
View the document1.3.1 STRATEGIES FOR FUTURE
close this folderPART II: NATIONAL REPORTS
View the documentII.1 BRAZIL
View the documentII.2 COLOMBIA
View the documentII.3 INDIA
View the documentII.4 KENYA
View the documentII.5 PAKISTAN
View the documentII.6 SENEGAL
View the documentII.7 TURKEY

II.1 BRAZIL

June, 1999, prepared by Emly de Andrade Costa and Ana Beatriz Juce Queiroz
Rua Carlos Vasconcelos, 1339 - Aldeota
CEP: 60115-170
Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Tel: 055-85-261-26-07, Fax: 055-85-261-87-54
E-mail: cearah@roadnet.com.br

I. INTRODUCTION

Concerning sustainable development Habitat Agenda states that, “as an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development, all states and individuals should co-operate in the essential task of eradicating poverty, reducing the disparities in lifestyles and improving the attention given to the necessities of present and future generations.” Within this context, the importance of young people as decisive actors for the endeavours of today and tomorrow is augmenting. Currently they confront challenges that could have been softened by means of public policies and implementation of commitments of local and central governments.

Adolescents represent one sixth of the population of the planet. Nearly 1 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 19 years old, 85% of them live in developing countries. They are young people faced with huge problems:

· In 1997 alone, nearly 3 millions of young people between the ages 15-24 were infected by the Aids virus - two thirds of those were girls/women.

· Young girls between the ages 15-19 give birth to 15 million babies each year. Consequently the majority of deaths in this age group are related to problems of premature pregnancies.

· In the whole world, 73 million children between the age of 10-14 are employed. This number does not even include the millions of young people - the majority girls - who do housework. Reports alert us that many are married with children and work hard when they are still at the beginning of puberty.

· In developing countries, 59% of girls and 48% of boys are not enrolled in secondary schools.

· Communities are being destroyed due to the fact that families are leaving the countryside in search of work or due to communication facilities in urban areas or other new influences that break the union of families and traditions.

In view of these challenges this report is presented. In addition to a diagnostic character of the Brazilian situation, the report also has the aspect of experience sharing that could bring new alternatives and paths for development.

1.1. Demographic/General Situation

Brazil is a continental country, being the fifth largest in the world in terms of resources and population, the biggest in South America, and the eleventh biggest in terms of GDP.

Inhabitants - (1996 census): 157, 079, 573
Men: 77, 447, 541
Women: 79, 632, 032

Three quarters of the Brazilian population live in urban areas. Nevertheless, forests, water and biological resources are distributed in a heterogeneous way within the territory. It presents sensitive social and economic disparities in several fields e.g. life conditions of urban and rural population in terms of income and access to basic and essential services.

Significant progress obtained in the public administration sphere, with the support of most of the society, was the Plano Real, which started in July of 1994. It was implemented after 30 years of coexistence with a persistent and high inflationary process. This inflation exceeded 2,000% in 1993. After 1995, the tendency of annual inflation declined visibly.

The precarious situation demonstrated by the Report on Human Development indicators, published in 1995 by UNDP, is classifying Brazil in the 63rd place among the nations of the world that demanded a more incisive position with regards to education, health, poverty, agrarian reform, urban infrastructure etc.

Progress was achieved in mutual understanding and environmental perception and stimulated the constitution of partnerships between government and society. Nevertheless, the efforts to execute the law and to develop the education for sustainable development, have not been adapted enough to the attitudes and expectations of the population.

The demographic transition is marked, on one hand, by the progressive decrease of the mortality rate, proceeded by a drastic fall in the rate of the women’s birth rate at a reproductive age. The total birth rate in Brazil went from 5.8-children/woman in 1970 to about 2.1-children/woman in 1998. While the Gross Mortality Rate is 8/1000 inhabitants today, the reduction presented by the birth rate was more expressive, affecting the growth rate of the Brazilian population significantly starting in 1970. Infant mortality has been decreasing significantly in the last ten years. However it still claims 37 children for each thousand born alive, while the numbers verified in the developed countries approach 8 for each thousand. That means Brazil presents a rate almost five times bigger than found in those countries. Infant malnutrition is also serious: 15% of children are five years old and younger and they still weigh below the expected average. The acceptable value should be between 2,5 and 3%.

1.2. Major Human Settlements Conditions

Youth - 25% of the Brazilian population is between 15 to 25 years old, and that represents 1/3 of the Latin-American youth. Today, the decreasing relative participation of the young population (0 to 18 years) in social life will generate an important decrease factor in demand for public services and education in the near future.

Education - Illiteracy affects about 1.5 million young people between 15-19 and 14 million adults.

The increase of the school-going rate among young people between the ages 7-14 was approximately 91% in 1994 and 96% in 1998. Nearly 5 millions go to schools in reduced shifts. The failure rate in the first grade of basic education is estimated at about 50% (11.4 average age).

Life conditions - More than 16 million Brazilians do not have homes, 40 million do not have access to basic water treatment services and another 100 million do not have public sewers.

The unassisted population is basically concentrated in the poorest income brackets - 65% of the population whose monthly income does not surpass two minimum wages (the minimum salary is approximately $76 US) just have access to water, while 97% of the population with an income superior to five minimum wages receive treated water from the public system at home.

The unequal distribution of the access to services renders the excluded population more vulnerable, not only due to the deficits in the access to the other services, such as health and education, but also related mainly to the quality of sewer services that are provided, inter alia the regularity of the distribution and quality of the water offered.

80% of sewerage is not treated and more than 65% of the garbage produced in the cities is deposited in open spaces or thrown in waterways.

Concentration of Income - Extreme poverty affects about 26 millions Brazilians today who do not have enough income to satisfy their basic nutritional needs, however, double that number can be considered poor.

Health - Access to the public health system in Brazil as well as sanitary conditions and income distribution is not equal.

Social Discrimination - Several groups suffer from social discrimination for their attributes or intrinsic characteristics, such as certain ethnic and racial groups, groups with different sexual orientation, women, natives of north-eastern Brazil, rural workers, children and adolescents in risk situation, street populations, deficiency carriers and other groups of the population that present accentuated relative disadvantages.

Housing - The process of urbanization in Latin America has been growing considerably as in Brazil. In the last 40 years Brazilian states have been facing difficulties in administering the use of the urban territory and the urbanization process itself. As a result a disorganised growth that is both horizontal and vertical in nature is proceeding.

New techniques have been developed by governments and civil society to provide access to low-cost housing for families with low income. Nevertheless many people are deprived of basic infrastructure and services for the citizens that influence directly the living conditions of people. The exclusion is also revealed on the part of the real estate market that has not produced houses for low-income families in Brazil for more than 30 years.

The great majority of resources are destined to families of middle and high income. Low-income families do not have many options besides the slums, land occupation, etc. Consequently they find their own solutions to their problems without support from the State.

The Brazilian habitation problem affects more than 70% of the Brazilian population that live in the cities. This indicates the need to establish an urban policy, with the objective “to order the full development of the social functions of the city and to guarantee the well-being of its inhabitants”, as stated in article 182 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution.

1.3. Problems faced by Youth

Habitation

Often the inadequate management of urban land is resulting in the increase of delinquency, prostitution and children outside of school as well as decisively influencing a generation of environmental conflicts, creating problems of integration in the urban ecosystem, water management and over-habitation in some urban areas.

Impacts on children and young people are:

· Familial promiscuity (lack of a minimum physical space for survival);

· Lack of public spaces and playgrounds that allow for a complete development of children and young people;

· Lack of security which causes formation of gangs and the increase in the marginalization of children that live in slums;

· Some children do not go to school. The sizes of classrooms in schools are smaller than the demand or the distance between homes and schools makes it impossible for children to attend;

· Many children who are obliged to work to help out their families are used in drug trafficking (as part of the information network in slums);

· The problem of security severely affects young people. This can be seen in the indices of homicides of young people living in the periphery, who are already involved in criminal activities in many cases.

Child Labour

The labour situation is worrisome since 73 million children between ages 10-14 work, while a large percentage of young people in developing countries, notably 50% of girls and 48% of boys do not attend mid-level schools.

In Brazil, starting at the age of 14, young people can participate in productive activities as long as this does not restrict their development. Nearly 16% of children work. According to official data, nearly 5 million children between the age of 5 and 14 do some type of work. Despite the fact that the best known cases are in the rural areas, approximately 40% of these workers are encountered in urban areas, performing insufficiently paid or non paid tasks, and since they are considered as performing less hard work, they are almost ignored by the population.

Children also earn very little, i.e. from 55% to 70% (the variation depends on the city) receive less than a minimum salary. Their tasks are the same as those of adults, and frequently they work more than 5 days a week, working long days including nights. More than 60% of children work for four hours or more per day. This percentage reaches 82% in Goiania. In all state capitals, it has been found out that children work for nine or more hours per day, namely 1% in Belo Horizonte; 4% in Porto Alegre; 7% in Goiania and Sao Paulo; 9% in Recife and 10% in Bel

Sexually transmitted diseases

Brazil is one of the three Latin American countries with the highest rate of sexually active adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19, who do not use any kind of contraception. According to UNICEF studies, 19% of Brazilian youth within this age group begin to have a precocious sexual life. This places Brazil in 62nd rank among the world countries with respect to adolescent pregnancies. The incidence is of 71 cases for every one thousand girls up to 19 years of age. Another data directly linked to the educational level of premature mothers is the fact that women who do not complete primary education have two or three children more than those who get to the secondary school.

Lack of Information in General Aspects

Lack of education, great number of adolescent mothers and involvement of youth in drugs are problems that can be overcome by means of better information. Media tools, namely radio, television, magazines, newspapers and even the Internet reach the most distant of places in the developing world presently. The lack of information about their legal rights makes young people a vulnerable group:

· Children and adolescents frequently are not fully aware of their rights,

· In addition to lack of awareness, they are not well positioned to speak up for their rights, which leads to their incapability of meeting their own basic needs.

Hunger

In Brazil, 15 million people suffer from hunger due to the maldistribution of income. Consequently, children and young people suffer and feel obliged to steal or work in inadequate conditions in order to acquire food for their survival as well as that of their families.

Nearly 40% of the Brazilian population (50 million people) lives in extreme poverty. 1/3 of the population is malnourished, 9% of children die before their first birthday and 37% of the population are rural workers without their own land. 45% of Brazilian children of less than five years of age suffer from chronic hunger.

Lack of Policies for an Equal Education

Despite the fact that in Brazil there are a considerable number of schools, universities and technical training centres, there is an inequality of access to education. There are public and private institutions. The basic public education is inefficient, which makes it difficult for poor students to have access to universities. People with better financial situations usually go to private schools because these offer better possibilities for having access to public universities. Thus the university becomes an institution for privileged young people.

The literacy rate for adults is 87%, the highest among developing countries. High levels of truancy and repeating indicate problems in the quality of education. The region has great economic disparities between the rich and poor, additionally indigenous and poor population encounters difficulties in access to qualified education. Brazil has a high rate of repeating - more than 15%.

Health

Although the country has achieved some advances in this field, one of the major problems faced by youth in Brazil is the access to a thorough health system. Public hospitals are not equipped to meet demands, and the public health system is inefficient, not satisfactorily preventing diseases. Private hospitals are inaccessible to the poorest segment of the population and children and young people are excluded.

II. EVALUATION OF YOUTH RELATED POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

“It is the duty and priority of the family, society and the State to assure children and adolescents the right to live, health, nutrition and education, leisure, specialisation, culture, dignity, respect, liberty and family and community life, as well as protecting them from negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression.” - as stated in the article 227 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution. Brazil has developed many projects related to youth involvement in decision-making processes, mainly in institutionalised participation. The most significant model in this kind of practice are Children Councils, children municipal assemblies, youth secretariats etc.

Small towns are concerned about developing the spirit of integration and participation of young people in the democratic process in the city, creating more responsible and conscientious children and young people in general. Cities such as Santo AndrSPaulo), Independia (Cear Barra Mansa (Rio de Janeiro) are some these examples. In these towns youth participation has been institutionalised, allowing them to decide the priorities related to their environment mainly, school, leisure for children and youngsters in the city, waste disposal management, school training for recycling, environmental education, etc.

All these ideas emerge from the participatory governance principle that has been discussed in some Brazilian municipalities, in civil society, government teams and other actors.

It has to be taken into account that the annual municipal budget in the last few years has been decreased and social problems are not in the governments’ priorities. This fact has a decisive influence on the youth preferences, especially in the educational field, security and the environment.

Concerning aspects of the law, the National Congress approved the “statute of the child and adolescent” - Law n° 8069, July 13, 1990. Some considerations are stated below:

Article 1: This Law deals with the full protection of the child and adolescent.

Article 2: For the purposes of this Law, the child is considered as a person who has not yet completed twelve years of age and the adolescents are between twelve and eighteen years of age. In the cases that are specified in Law, this Statute applies exceptionally to people between eighteen and twenty-one years of age.

Article 3: Without prejudice to the full protection dealt with in this Law, the child and adolescent enjoy all the fundamental rights inherent to the human beings and, by law or other means, are ensured of all opportunities and facilities so as to entitle them to physical, mental, moral, spiritual and social development, in conditions of freedom and dignity.

Article 4: It is the duty of the family, community, society in general and the public authority to ensure, with absolute priority, effective implementation of the rights to life, health, nutrition, education, sports, leisure, vocational training, culture, dignity, respect, freedom and family and community living.

The guarantee of priority encompasses:

a. precedence in receiving protection and aid in any circumstances;

b. precedence in receiving public services and those of public relevance;

c. preference in the formulation and execution of public social policies; a privileged allocation of public resources in areas related to the protection of infancy and youth.

Article 5: No child or adolescent will be subject to any form of negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression, and any violation of their fundamental rights, either by act or omission, will be punished according to the terms of the Law.

The statute of child and adolescent (law 8069/90) is a true constitution for the Brazilian child-youth population. In fact, this law, with its 267 articles creates the conditions of demand for the rights of the child and adolescent, which are:

· In the International Convention for the Rights of Children and other international normative instruments;

· In the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil and the laws that complement it.

All these rights however are synthesised in the extraordinary and seminal, article 227 of the Federal Constitution which was elaborated with a base in the cast of rights, which form the substantive part of the International Convention of the Rights of Children. This apprehension of article 227 allows one to understand the letter and the spirit of the Doctrine of Complete Protection of the United Nations.

The other instrument of law for youth rights is Municipal Council of the Rights of the Children and Adolescent. This is the permanent and autonomous, non-jurisdictional organ responsible for monitoring the rights of children and adolescents, defined in law no. 8069 of July 13, 1990 in the municipal scope with parity between the government and civil society.

The Tutelary Council also exists, which is a foresight in the statute of the child and adolescent formed by people chosen by society to monitor the ensured rights of the statute. Thus whenever the rights of children or adolescents have been disrespected, it is up to the Tutelary Council to take the necessary measures together with the juvenile and adolescent police.

Some other examples of national services and programmes provided to youth (governmental and other institutional levels):

National Educational Plan

The National Educational Plan was elaborated under the co-ordination of INEP (National Institute of Educational Study and Research) under the NUPES-USP/UNESCO agreement to carry out the legal devices in effect. Article 87 - § 1° of the Law of Directions of the Bases of National Education (The Darcy Ribeiro Law) determined the elaboration of this plan, “with directions and aims for the next ten years, in tune with the World Declaration of Education for All.”

In the foundations, the MEC (Ministry of Education and Culture) not only considered the Jomtien Declaration, but also other commitments and international recommendations such as the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the World Cupola for Social Development, the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Education (1997), the New Delhi and Aman Declarations on education for all (1993 and 1996 respectively), as well as recommendations from the General Conferences of UNESCO. UNESCO/Brazil gave technical co-operation to the process of elaboration and finalisation of the plan.

On the other hand, in the area of adult and youth education, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Programme of Community Solidarity, established a new conceptual design for partnerships which will allow for a substantive combat against illiteracy in the following years. This programme has awakened a growing international interest due to the co-operation with the private sector.

All Children in School

The Brazilian government through the Ministry of Education created a programme named “All children in school,” started on October 15, 1998 with the intention of attracting 3 million children to fundamental education with the support of governments, entrepreneurs and civil society. This project also envisions the literacy of young people and adults. The government increased the average expenditures on teachers’ salaries from R$ 300 to R$ 315. The programme also intends to reinforce the TV school (channel for literacy), schoolbooks, school snacks and enlargement and improvement of schools. These projects together with governments are committed to enrolling all students so that by the year 2000 they will be able to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil.

In this programme there is project for reinforcement called Acelera Brasil, which intends to create accelerated (advanced) classes in the grades of primary school.

Youth Pastoral

Youth Pastoral, established in 1997 worried about the situation of abandoned children and adolescents in the streets of large Brazilian cities. In 1993 a group of Catholics became anxious about the situation of children and adolescents as well as those who had nothing to do in their free time after school in the BarGeraldo district, founded the BarGeraldo pro-minor Society which works to assist children and adolescents from 0 to 14 years of age, of both sexes by means of preventative socio-educational work.

The Pastoral has developed the following services:

· social accompaniment of families
· reference to community resources (doctors, dentists, psychologists etc.)
· scholastic accompaniment
· sports (soccer, volleyball, gymnastics)
· monthly meetings with parents
· handicrafts (rug weaving, embroidery)

Axroject - Before and After Street Education

The objective of street education is to make it viable for children and adolescents who live in the street, coming from a situation of extreme poverty, to have access to citizenship.

Before this intervention, these boys and girls who had been exposed to police and family violence, were not conscious of their rights as children and adolescents, and their perspectives on life were reduced to eating and trying to stay alive for one more day. After the Axroject began to develop this programme these boys and girls were able to realise that they had rights and duties. The result of this achievement can be seen in the children as well as in their families, where it has been attempted to relieve their sense of guilt in relation to their situation on the street, integrating them into a new process.

In fact the Street Education Project allows the children and adolescents to recuperate their dreams and desires as important dimensions for construction of a future and as a life project. The project has obtained results that are not always possible to measure in an immediately visible way - going to students’ homes and helping to improve intra-family relationships, demystifying the idea that street children do not have families, extending the knowledge of the history of students’ lives together with family testimonies in order to have a more interactive relationship with the young people.

The Axroject literacy classes focus on children and young people from 8 to 18 years of age who live in extreme poverty and who have been deprived of their rights, including that of education. In each class there are 16 to 20 children since it has been observed that they need more individualised attention.

Students arriving at centres usually manifest low self esteem and fear of expressing themselves in writing due to previous failures in formal schools, as well as not having had the opportunity to witness or participate in social activities that involve writing.

University Solidarity Programme

The University Solidarity Programme was the result of an alliance between the Community Solidarity Council (CS), the Ministry of Education and Sports (MEC), the Council of Deans of Brazilian Universities (CRUB) and UNESCO, with the intent of mobilising teams of professors and university students to join activities meant to improve conditions for poor populations. These actions aimed at providing access to basic knowledge about hygiene and health, development of collective action in the educational, cultural and leisure fields which value the citizenship of these populations. In this field, UNESCO co-operation centred on supporting the reformulation, production and edition of educational materials distributed to these populations as well as facilitating the trips of the target area teams to accompany the programme. This programme was inserted in the actions of the community solidarity, which also covers the programme of Solidarity Literacy.

Solidarity Literacy

As a result of an alliance between the Community Solidarity Council (CS), the Ministry of Education and Sports (MEC), the Council of Deans of Brazilian Universities (CRUB) and UNESCO, private sector and municipal governments with the support of local universities came together in order to combat illiteracy in those municipalities with the highest illiteracy rates. In this programme, in addition to direct financing in two municipalities (Envira/AM and MelgaPA), UNESO collaborated in the operation of the programme which currently operates in 120 municipalities in the country, mobilises more than 80 universities and assists 40,000 students. In the first semester of 1998, a huge expansion is expected, which is 200 municipalities and 90,000 students.

Young People and Social Development

This programme is based on facilitating co-operation between young people who hope to increase their capacity to actively participate in social life.

This programme gives support to the development of networks and activities of Infoyouth (information for young people) for different international organisations such as the Junior International Chamber and youth nations. As it is approved in its programme for the 1998/99 biennium, “one of the priorities in the next few years will be to ‘listen’ to young people and work with them in the reinforcement of their capacity to discover their individual and social objectives.” Thus, UNESCO is providing continuity to their international project “Crossing the Threshold: in Listening to Young People at the Dawning of the Third Millennium,” to many special projects, like “The Contribution of Young People in Facilitating a Better Perception of Others” and also decisively contributes to the execution of the World Plan of Action of Youth for the Year 2000 and Beyond, approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

MUDES Foundation

Is a non-profit organization formed by technicians from diverse sectors, mainly related to providing information media for youth, especially for university students? The Foundation has a newsletter called “University Perspectives” which disseminates information on actions carried out by young people, scholarships, government programmes etc.

Volunteers

This involves the creation of a National Network of Regional Voluntary Centres in various cities in the country. These centres aim at developing the potential of each region, and act as intermediates between those who wish to offer time and effort, and those who need these services, also facilitating the supply and demand of its activities. They are already active or in construction in Porto Alegre, SPaulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Recife. It is expected that by 1998, there will also be Centres in Brasa, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Fortaleza.

Community Based Organisations Related to Youth

The total number of CBOs is more than 30,000 in Brazil, and in the state of Ceara, for example, there are around 8,000. The percentage working with youth is around 13%, in the fields of human rights, rape (indecent assault), professional training and education.

Profile of Non-governmental Organisations

It is evident today in profiles of Brazilian NGOs that few organizations view their work as being exclusively local.

Scope of action

Options

Frequency

%

1. National

85

46.20

2. State

92

50.00

3. Municipal

70

38.04

4. Regional

6

3.26

5. Metropolitan

8

4.35

6. International

3

1.63

7. Local/community

1

0.54

According to an ABONG (Brazilian Association of NGOs) study, the category in which each work is registered under 26 themes. The thematic areas that received the most responses were education and/or professionalization (65.76%), popular organisation/popular participation (60.87%) and gender relations/women/reproductive rights (56.52%) respectively. There are a significant number of NGOs working in the area of children and adolescents: 53.26%, yet this number has decreased from the percentage in 1996, which was 63.7%.

Some more percentages:

Environment/Ecology: 34.24%
Human Rights: 47.28%
Urban Questions: 28.26%

III. YOUTH ACTIVITIES CONTRIBUTING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HABITAT AGENDA AT THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS

There are a variety of activities related to youth and to assisting young people in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. These will be indicated below, bearing in mind that other local initiatives are being carried out aiming at the improvement of the lives of young people. Obviously, they are not sufficient to claim that young people in Brazil do not have other problems, but these small and big actions together will help young people to transform the world into a more just place.

National Council on Youth

Some Brazilian States are interested in creating Youth Councils and the most important objective is to develop a National Council on Youth. In 1998 they organised the first National Festival of Young people, gathering 6,500 young people interested in implementing action plans at the governmental and civil society levels, in their projects involving youngsters. This event was organised by F Juventude XXI (Youth Forum XXI) and Radio Cultura FM (Radio Culture FM). In this meeting, they concluded on some important points:

Culture, Leisure and Sport

The occupation of public or private spaces that are not in use in order for them to be more useful for cultural events, social and educational activities, implementation of popular councils of young people and the National Council of Social Communication for the dissemination and propagation of one national culture.

Education

More financial investment for basic education until graduation, giving value to teachers and better working conditions, socialization of knowledge, and access to school without payment, fighting against the privatization of public schools.

Work

Youth work journey reduction Forbidding youth work in unhealthy areas Creation of policies for adult and youth education

Sexuality

Legalisation of Abortion

Wage equality

Young Government Secretaries

Independia, a municipality in the interior of the state of Cearnorth-eastern Brazil), with a population of 24,000 has been confronting the difficulties inherent in establishing participatory democracy, and among other initiatives, has attempted municipal governance through strategic participatory planning, and development of improvement of quality of life for its inhabitants. In their goal of reinforcing social actors, including young people, special attention has been paid to children as prospective future defenders of democracy. In this way, the city has significantly and permanently involved children in the city.

Six children from six schools were chosen through direct elections to represent their classmates in the municipality parallel to six municipal secretaries (health, education, administration and finance, social development, infrastructure and economic development). These child secretaries convene meetings for children in order to inform them about what has happened in the departments of the municipal government which they represent as well as to listen to their problems, ideas and proposals incorporating them in the municipal agenda to be discussed with the mayor and his/her respective secretaries.

The objectives are to:

· raise citizens capable of administering the municipality with a sense of responsibility,
· develop the habit in children of active participation in municipal management,
· strengthen complementary work between the public administration and education,
· create new links between government and civil society through work with the children.

Currently, the child secretaries are elaborating a project of selective collection and recycling of garbage for the city with the support of Cearah Periferia (local NGO), Urban Management Programme LAC and the municipal government of Independia.

Youth Solidarity Project

This is an action co-ordinated by the Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul together with universities and municipal governments. It is a union of the structures of the state government and the municipal governments with the hard work and participation of university students from a variety of areas of study - from medicine to education, aiming at dissemination of information, social assistance and improvement of the quality of life in low income communities.

The important duty of a university, in addition to training professionals, is to participate actively in the community, which is also the duty of the state government. Thus, with this alliance, the citizen is the winner. The Youth Solidarity Project will distinguish the Programa Pi000 - a state government action targeting low-income children and adolescents. This programme foresees the following actions:

· all children in school
· health in schools
· guarantee of nutritional rehabilitation
· prevention of infant mortality
· research on the living conditions of children and adolescents who live on the streets
· priorities are education/school or school reference
· guarantee of specialized health services

University students are selected to work in state government projects during the vacations. In addition to getting to know and participate in programmes developed in the communities, the students can work in their own areas of interest. For instance, medicine and orthodontic students can work on health programmes; law students can participate in legal advising, etc. This is a great opportunity for university students to professionalize and participate in the process of construction of the society. For the beneficiary communities, it signifies the possibility of improvement in quality of life.

Expoyouth Rio 99

The city of Rio de Janeiro and the MUDES Foundation will organise an event called “Expo Jovem RIO 99”. This project aims to address a significant number of young people in response to their questions about education, and professional careers. Professionals, families, faculty representatives, and others will try to show the possibilities of getting involved in the market, training courses, language classes, culture and leisure options, etc.

It is predicted that this event will be organised annually and that in the year 2000 the Mercosul countries and probably the Ibero-American countries of Spain and Portugal will also participate. This programme is supported by the Rio de Janeiro Town Hall and by some universities.

Boat School

This project functions in Angra dos reis, Rio de Janeiro and awakens creativity and sensitivity. In order to reach the school which is located three hours by boat from the coast (6 hours round trip), children, adolescents and public school teachers who live on the continent must be at the docks at 5 am waiting for the boat. The boat, which is maintained by the city government, has space for 100 passengers. The route requires a number of stops in order to pick up all the people in the region that live on islands. During the trip, teachers use the time to answer students’ questions in all subject areas and there is also a floating library, in order to awaken children’s interest in reading during the trip.

Child Friendly Companies

This programme is led by a foundation called Abrinq in order to stimulate the non-exploitation of child labour and at the same time to provide incentives and suggest action plans for contributing to the education of children and the professional training of adolescents. The foundation was created in 1995 and has already achieved many successes, among which are the mobilisation of sectors where children are subjected to the worst work conditions, such as charcoal production, the citrus fruit industry, the sugar/alcohol industry and the shoemaking industry. As a result, many agreements have been signed for eradicating child labour.

When a company applies to participate in the programme, it signs a document in which it commits to not employ children under the age of 14, and to give priority to suppliers who also do not use child labour. They should also develop activities that aim at the education of children or professional training of adolescents.

Once a company gains the credential of being child friendly, it receives a diploma and authorization to use a stamp of the ISO 9000 type, which can be used in the packaging and advertising of its products. Together with the brand name of the company, the stamp guarantees its social contribution and the non-exploitation of child labour.

Community Ice Cream Parlour

Located in Fortaleza (Brazil), young people from the community with support from the residents’ association decided to look for a solution for unemployment in the community. They built a small ice cream factory, which employs 30 young people from the neighbourhood. Initially with help from some church entities, they built a small building to house the factory on a residents’ association plot of land, and later they were able to obtain the equipment and commenced working together. Many of these young people who were on the streets, are now working and helping their families. About 50 families sell the products.

The factory produces approximately 80 litres of ice cream per day, and it is already financially independent. They have already completed an extension that will help increase production. This project had the support of the NGO Cearah Periferia, which provided them with the loan for the extension.

Semear

Located in Fortaleza (Brazil) since 1994. This project is developed for six months on the streets with children between the ages of 12 and 17 to raise awareness on the problems of drugs, prostitution, delinquency, exclusively to constitute a group that will be in the institution for one year completing four types of training: work with recycled paper, stonemason, painting and organic gardening. The children have one month before starting in order to adapt to their new routine.

The garden group has 90 youngsters who receive a short period of technical training in botany after completing practical application in ornamental plants, medicinal plants, vegetables, plant production and production of compost with worms. After completing their training, they are ready to enter the market, and many of them already start doing small jobs in their communities during training. The project has the support of the local government of Fortaleza.

Better House Project

In general, the initiative to receive support from this project comes from one or two people in a neighbourhood who consult their association. 20 to 30 families who are also interested form a savings and loan group. Each of these families receives basic information on the programme. Subsequently they complete a socio-economic form (usually with some assistance from the community or the support team) and submit it to the support team. Having analysed the forms, each family is visited and their individual plan for housing improvement is finalised. The cost of the improvements are calculated and compared to the maximum amount offered by the fund and the savings that they want to mobilise. At this stage, those families who have no official papers such as an identity card or other administrative documents are assisted by the other members of the groups to obtain them.

This can take time but it is important for the people to acquire formal citizenship and thus to have confidence in themselves. Once these official papers are obtained, the socio-economic and technical forms prepared and gathered by the association, the management team prepares the lending contract. Meanwhile, the families continue to save.

The support or technical team is composed of social activists and social workers, managers, young professionals, from the NGO CEARAH Periferia and the municipal government. The municipal government delivers a subsidy as one part, the other one is the loan from Cearah Periferia and other part is composed of the family savings for the improvement. The maximum amount is 350 USD, and the family does not have to pay interest. The fund for loans is supported by Cearah Periferia and international organisations.

IV. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

Monitoring and evaluation are important since difficulties confronted and successes gained in the implementation of projects for the Habitat Agenda can be measured.

In monitoring, it is necessary to make adjustments in the programmes, since the same results reached in an original project are not always obtained in the implantation of a successor project. It is essential that the adaptations adhere to the culture of a given place in order for the monitoring to be satisfactory.

In the evaluation, the non-visible results of the programmes also have to be considered. That is, one needs to be attuned to the real modifications and improvements obtained in quality of life of the involved individuals as focused on by the Habitat Agenda.

The technical aspects contained in the indicators often relate to what happens between the lines in a technical way, therefore it is always necessary to identify the improvements in the personal field of the human being as a whole, within his/her environment (emotional, cultural and social aspects).

A mechanism of the identification of best practices is the selection of files of experiments of the themes worked on by the Habitat Agenda, especially housing and sustainable development, allowing these experiments to be discussed and studied in order to be implemented or followed in other places (lessons learnt, experts/consultants, manuals, guides and informative papers).

A contest can be opened to all organisations involved in the process of regional reports to lead to a proposal of a network for discussion and proposal for accomplishment of some activities for a specific period of time, creating an international group for discussion, with a schedule of activities. This group can be an international group for articulation with some international organisations such as the United Nations, the IDB, and other international agencies. For a national network one has to be aware of the fact that not all the institutions have access to the Internet and it could be done by international newsletter sent by regular post.

Some processes, even if they have difficulties due to lack of real structure or financial support, have an impact on people’s lives. We have to recognise that political processes influence some actions and for that reason, we do not have complete control of the projects and programs. The rhythm is different and depends on the kind of regional situation where they are being implemented.

V. CONCLUSIONS

We should carry out the objectives and determine the roles of each request involved in the planning and participation processes related to youth within the Habitat Agenda.

The areas in which it is necessary to continue discussion and experiments are as follows:

· The importance of the organised group
· The necessity to create new financial devices for the elaboration of projects related to young people
· Seek greater self-management for groups (strengthening social organisations)
· Defend quality before quantity
· Space for negotiation and collective decision-making
· Work with local governments, decentralized work areas and agencies for international co-operation

Consequently, observation of living conditions in urban Brazil comes face to face with problems of solutions that require a great effort on the part of the population, governments and international organisations, which are extreme poverty, juvenile delinquency, environmental problems, precarious living situations and non-qualified urban services. Recommendations for the future are:

· To increase the quantity and type of actors involved in the discussions that involve Brazilian youth, within a local, regional, national and international context,

· To create model files on experiences of youth projects on an international level to be shared among partners,

· To create mechanisms for training and information through an internet network that will connect those involved, for exchange of information and best practices,

· To elaborate mechanisms of capacity building for young people,

· To include young people in the discussion processes that deal with the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21 together with the United Nations, through articles in their magazines and periodic publications.

We hope that through this brief document we can integrate youth actions in an enlarged context and thus improve the living conditions of children, young people and their families.

VI. REFERENCES

· - Acorda Brasil magazine, 1998
· - Brazilian Habitat Agenda Committee; Rio de Janeiro, 1998
· - Cearah Periferia. Casa Melhor and FAPAG Manuals; Fortaleza, 1995
· - Comunidade Solida, Rio Grande do Sul, 1998
· - La Era Urbana magazine, Equador, 1998
· - Mudes Foundation, 1998
· - UNESCO in Brazil, report of activities, 1998
· - World Development Report, 1995