Written 1996


Associação Projeto Roda Viva

Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524 Sala 11.123 Bloco F
Campus Universitario da UERJ CEP 20.550-013
Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
Tel: (5521) 264-5186 / 264-9622 / 234-6991 / 587-7316
   FAX 264-5196   C.G.C. 32.092.298/0001-01

The Roda Viva Partnership Working Together to Enable Rio's Poor Children and Youth To Gain Full Rights as Citizens of Brazil.

The harder she and her colleagues worked - as teachers, social workers, community activists - the more depressing it was to Wanda Engel Aduan, high school principal in one of Rio's most violent and drug-ridden favelas (squatter settlements), every time another young person was killed in a drug-related shoot-out or surrounded by vigilantes, or lost to crime. It was clear that they were sticking their fingers into a dam that was about to collapse. Something different had to be tried. The only way out, they concluded, was to mobilize people from all different sectors and walks of life and develop the political will to solve this prcblem.

From this initial group of ten activists has grown a lean but highly respected organization in the field of children's rights in Brazil - Roda Viva, which means "Living Wheel" in English, "connecting the spokes to the center"- After nine tough years of trying to sell the idea of partnership to a divided society, it has now caught on like wildfire. At the end of 1993, Roda Viva launched the Interaction Program. In the three largest regions of the city, the Interaction program has mobilized local governrnent, businesses, community organizations, the church and the media to assess the problems in each district, catalogue the services and make agreements to avoid duplication, and find support for what was missing.

Their work has been so highly valued that the Mayor appointed Wanda as Secretary for Social Development for the entire city 18 months ago and she has continued to support and expand the Interaction Program from that position. Talented Sonia Maria da Silva, formerly Program Director, has succeeded her to lead Roda Viva. The Federal Government, under its new President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, is strongly supporting this approach and it has a good possibility of spreading to other cities in Brazil, which need it just as badly.

Roda Viva needs support
for the following activities:

1.To build capacity among local community groups to provide the services identified as missing by the Interaction program (after-school tutoring, sports programs, adult literacy, health services, and community workshops on health, education and legal issues).

2. To document the problem of how they got different groups to work together in the Interaction Program through the production of a case study to use in disseminating the experience in other Brazilian cities.

3. To provide workshops for their own staff and for community groups on starting and running micro-enterprises to enable the youth and parents of children to become economically self- sufficient, and for NG0s and community groups to generate income to help support their programs.

4. To begin a program of small grants to NGOs and community-based organizations in the Interaction Program that would allow them to expand and extend their reach and help replicate successful programs.

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Written 1996