There is great economic inequity in Brazil. Municipalities with a population above 200,000 enjoy an average Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.80, while small towns fare much worse, at around 0.69. Lack of educational and professional opportunities force young people to migrate to larger cities. Local businesses and governments struggle to find skilled professionals, hurting economic activity and forcing more migration. It is a vicious cycle.
Nossa Cidade – Turnaround for Towns is a social franchise operating in small Brazilian towns with the goal of improving their overall quality of life. The licensed methodology empowers local young adults to lead social development in their towns. They engage the community – local government, businesses and civil society – into taking ownership of their collective problems and acting together to solve them.
One of the most innovative components of the program is that the community itself must decide which projects will be executed, what actions should be prioritized, and how the results will be evaluated and monitored. The funding for the course is up to the students, also known as “uncommons”: a group of people who are passionate about their goals and possess the curiosity and drive to accomplish change. They mobilize local actors and resources, creating new bonds and a sense of freshness and hope in the community.
Nossa Cidade – Turnaround for Towns is currently on its first year. In this “pilot stage”, the activities are taking place at Raul Soares, a small town of 24,000 inhabitants located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. In the next few years, Nossa Cidade will extend its reach and include other small towns.