“Brazil, HDI and the Third Sector”, article published in the newspaper Valor Econômico

Per Fred Seifert, Ricardo Martins and Leonardo Letelier

In July, the United Nations (UN) released the report containing the most up-to-date version of the Human Development Index (HDI), which measures the performance of each nation in topics such as health, education and inequality. According to the UN, Brazil showed consistent improvements. Even so, we are far short of generating decent living conditions for all citizens of our country. In this sense, in addition to the government, civil society can contribute a lot.

Although we have moved up one position, now occupying an intermediate 79th place among the 187 countries in the index, inequality is still the main obstacle to improving our situation. If we have an overall score of 0.744, whose maximum score is 1, we score a measly 0.542 in the equality of income distribution and access to services such as health and education, which would put us 16 places below if only this item were considered. The United Nations highlighted that government programs such as “Bolsa Família” and the quota policy in universities were very positive, but they did not have greater reach due to the gigantic Brazilian social liabilities – which can be, in part, supplanted by an organized civil society.

In order not to depend only on the State, which lives surrounded by other interests, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social businesses, with or without profit, have grown in the country. But the challenge is still great.

Lack of management capacity and dispersion take away much of the effectiveness of NGOs and social businesses

A widely cited and real barrier is the lack of management capacity. Although well-intentioned, the lack of preparation for economic and financial management often prevents these entities from being successful in their endeavors. Allied to this point is the scarcity of resources – even to improve management. This deserves special attention because, despite being a country of great wealth, Brazil still distributes its resources in an extremely concentrated manner. And the richest part of the population donates little of their fortunes and time. Brazil is only 72nd in donations among the 146 countries in the World Giving Index, which, in addition to measuring financial donations to social organizations, also measures aid to third parties and volunteering.

Finally, there is the problem of the fragmentation of organizations: in addition to small effective local organizations, we need large organizations, with strategic, managerial and operational sophistication, capable of dialoguing and articulating with smaller organizations, avoiding duplication of efforts and dealing with enormous challenges facing the country.

Donations can be classified according to the horizon of reach. They can have an immediate bias, helping in urgent cases – the occurrence of natural disasters, similar to those that occurred in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, for example. They can also be medium-term, such as the so-called “unstamped” resources, that is, without a defined end, which can be used by organizations to strengthen their management, or long-term, helping to change the structure that generates the problems, supporting intermediary organizations that create solutions for the social sector as a whole. These three horizons – simplified in giving the fish, teaching to fish and changing the infrastructure of the fishing industry – are complementary and show that donations are not reduced to that vertical vision of simple punctual, top-down acts of charity.

Although highlighted in our country, the absence of a culture of giving has not gone unnoticed in other countries. In fact, it has become so evident that civil society itself has organized itself around this cause. Three years ago, a movement began in the US called #GivingTuesday. The central idea is to use the rhetoric of the days of unbridled consumption, such as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, which follow the North American holidays of Thanksgiving, and use it to mark a day of donations. . #GivingTuesday has become a global movement, reaching dozens of countries and this year it arrives in Brazil in partnership with #diadedonate (in 2014, it will be on December 2nd).

Togo, Lomé. African schoolchildren holding hands Togo.

There are also interesting national initiatives to encourage donations. The “Donate More, Donate Better” campaign brings together stories and actions from people who already donate resources. The objective of the initiative is not to allocate money to a specific institution, but to inspire others to do the same, creating an atmosphere of solidarity where everyone finds a way to contribute to change the Brazilian social sector.

For those who can contribute financially, the donation can be seen in another way within the system we live in: as the best investment available. If properly applied, it has as a return the human development and happiness of those who most need a smile and represents a retribution for the role – often underestimated – that everyone has today in society and the potential that each human being carries to transform life. of others. Donating your time or skills cannot in any way be considered inferior either.

Improvements in our society go through a State focused on the interests of the people, companies with true social responsibility – far beyond financing external actions with an eye on their return to the company – and a profound review of our role in the system, moving away from individualism for collective attitudes. Giving may not solve everything and be seen as a small gesture compared to the immensity of the problems we face. But it is through these subtle attitudes that together we can change the world. And, let's face it, it's much better than doing nothing.

Fred Seifert is an economist from UFRJ, a consultant at Sitawi – Finanças do Bem since August 2011 and winner of the Itaú Sustainable Finance Award 2012 fseifert@sitawi.net

Ricardo Borges Martins, a social scientist from USP, is the coordinator of the Donate Mais Doe Melhor Campaign and the Eu Voto Distrital Movement rmartins@sitawi.net

Leonardo Letelier MBA from Harvard Business School, is CEO of Sitawi – Finanças do Bem, awarded by the IDB in 2011 as the best socially responsible investment in Latin America lletelier@sitawi.net



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