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Adair Meira

Adair Meira is a businessman and environmentalist who has long been committed to social causes in poor areas of large cities. As a communications professional he was involved in social mobilization campaigns between 1980 and 1990, especially in struggles for children's and adolescents’ rights. In 1994 he founded Fundação Pró-Cerrado, which has become the largest educational and income-generating youth programme in Brazil. With his experience of integrating social sectors into different areas of knowledge, he created a platform that connects the needs of today’s youth with the business world, increasing awareness of the need to support young people in Brazil.

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Pró-Cerrado Foundation
Model
Hybrid Social Enterprise
Sectors
Sustainable Development; Education and Skills; Workforce and Employment
Headquarters
Brazil
Areas of Impact
Latin America, Brazil

Pró-Cerrado Foundation

Fundação Pró-Cerrado is a Brazilian NGO, founded in 1994, that tackles both unemployment and the destruction of Brazil’s environment by turning unemployed youth (ages 14 to 21) into paid environmental activists. The youth, all of whom must attend school regularly, study environmental preservation and acquire vocational skills like basic administration, mailroom work and computer skills. They are then placed in paid internships with local industries and government where they earn supplemental incomes. After a two-year intensive training programme, many of the apprentices are contracted as staff.

Since 1994, Fundação Pró-Cerrado has placed over 30,000 young people (4,538 in 2009) in the labour market, benefiting over 100,000 people by contributing to their household income. More than introducing youth to the labour market and giving them initial job experience that increases their market competitiveness, Fundação Pró-Cerrado Focuses on educating them to be good citizens by teaching them sustainable environmental practices.

The aim is to break the vicious cycle that exists between poverty and environmental degradation. Fundação Pró-Cerrado reaches a national audience in Brazil through the National Conference of Environmental Education. Its methodologies are being observed and adopted by NGOs across the country.