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Enhancing employee and community development Supergasbras, Brazil 6/19/2018

Social projects in Brazil

A sustainable and thriving society is not possible without access to education and other basic rights such as water, food, safety and health. In fact, we believe that the level of access to these rights directly impacts economic sustainability – especially in a consumer society. The only way to really make a change in our country is through education and culture.

At Supergasbras, we are therefore intent on providing opportunities to the communities in which we operate, as we implement initiatives that consistently contribute to society by improving education, safety and the environment. The innovative solutions that we bring to address these aspects will help contribute to a higher quality of life for all. Although our main focus is education, we also support programs that include simple and creative activities intended to encourage the next generation to develop reflective and critical thinking. 

Mais Energia – focusing on sustainable nutrition, hygiene and food safety

 In Brazil, LPG is commonly used to provide energy to families in disadvantaged communities that often don’t even have basic access to safe water or sanitation. Supergasbras is present in millions of homes in Brazil, and because our LPG is mainly used to cook, it is popularly called ‘kitchen gas’. The relationship between LPG gas and our end-users –especially those cooking at home – inspired us to create the Mais Energia project.

The project has been in place since 2004, and it brings educational kitchen trailers into communities and institutions. We use these trailers to hold workshops that address issues such as the use and benefits of LPG, safety, conscious consumption, food, energy and water waste, as well as sustainable gastronomy, using whole foods. We encourage a more conscious use of nutrients, taking advantage of seeds, barks, stems and leaves. We have therefore moved beyond simply providing energy for cooking. Now, we also provide knowledge, teaching people how to use nutritional recipes to create delicious meals that minimise waste.

The Mais Energia project goes beyond simply providing energy. It helps to show our clients how safe LPG is, as well as the advantages it brings for the environment. It is a nontoxic product. It is cheaper than electricity. And doesn’t involve the clear-cutting of billions of trees for firewood that can cause respiratory disorders. It helps these people use energy in a beneficial way, contributing to a more a sustainable quality of life.

Since its start, the project has served approximately 260,000 people and now is administering a course to certify participants. Aside from the content of the workshops, attendees also learn about human rights, community gardens, and creative recipes that use sustainable and nutritional food for a better quality of life. In 2017, 38 people were trained and certified by the project, with concrete results: participants decreased their use of salt, sugar and fast food consumption, replacing ultra-processed food with natural food consumption and even starting up small gardens at home.  Most of the participants lost weight and began to exercise. As of June, 2018, 154 classmates have been certified.

Viva Vôlei – helping children and teenagers stay on track

It is obviously important to any society that children between 6 and 17 years of age should stay in school and get good grades. Supergasbras is therefore partnering with the Brazilian Confederation of Volleyball (CBV) in the Viva Vôlei project for children and teenagers from poor communities. The project’s activities are held in volleyball centres, and focus on sports, school and the strengthening of values. Volleyball classes are complemented by extra sport and cultural activities. The project’s educators also take some time during classes to discuss issues such as citizenship, illness prevention, education and socialization. In 2017, the project served 333 classmates in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, where Supergasbras schools are held. The results achieved in both centres were clearly demonstrated by improved attitudes both in and out of class, especially related to ethical principles and citizenship. The young participants showed better motivation, discipline and team work, and became calmer over the course of the project.

Here are just a few of their comments:

“The games are cool. Viva Vôlei is a good place to play and make friends.”

Wendel Guilherme

7 years old

“Play in the net is the best part! My dream is to be a volleyball player.”

Thaiany de Almeida

12 years old

“By practicing volleyball we can lose weight and control our heartbeats. For me, volleyball is a good sport that make us forget a little bit about football and bad things that happen in our community, opening our minds to other things.”

Michel Chagas

15 years old

ECOA – Education, Citizenship, Opportunities and Attitude

 Supergasbras has been partnering with Lar Fabiano for four years to provide better quality of life, income generation, culture and education for people in our communities. Education, Citizenship, Opportunities and Attitude (ECOA) is the slogan of our sustainable project in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, next to the Supergasbras filling plant and its refurbishment factory. This project – a partnership with Capemisa Institute (Lar Fabiano) – provides 150 families from poor and violent communities with educational courses, some of which encourage income generation. Project implementation and management are shared by both Supergasbras and Lar Fabiano, and the project has a uniform with the Supergasbras brand.

To take part in ECOA project, families need to present evidence of vulnerable conditions as well as proof that their children and teenagers are attending school. The children attend ECOA before or after school and consume their principal meals there. Adults and the elderly have coffee breaks between classes. The project is held every weekday, from 8 AM to 4 PM.

The project includes activities for a wide variety of age ranges. The youngest participants are given a chance to engage in playful activities. Children and teenagers can attend basic IT courses, including the installation and maintenance of computers. They can also receive vocational guidance, go to a reading room, attend art and painting sessions, or engage in sports classes such as volleyball, judo and karate. Young and old alike can attend arts and craft sessions (with a craft shop), while the adults are provided education about sustainable gastronomy (the Mais Energia project described above), hairdressing and tailoring/sewing (sponsored by the Salutar institute and Embeleze, a Brazilian beauty company). Of course, the project also provides a number of social and physical activities for the elderly.

In 2016, about 100 families were participating in the project. Now, the number has risen to 150, and there is a waiting list for participants. We encourage our employees to participate in the project’s activities, as they work alongside  student volunteers. But the work is not always easy. Many in this community have forgotten their identity, given up on their dreams and lost their self-confidence. Drug trafficking is also a violent and powerful force – a force that sometimes takes these families’ children. But we are making progress. We follow participants’ steps and track their progress as they develop basic skills, increase their sense of confidence, self-esteem and empowerment, restore their dignity, and incorporate values and attitudes compatible with principles of ethics and citizenship.

The results can be seen every day – here are a few words from some of the project’s participants:

“I’m taking care of myself. Now I am more conscious about salt and fat in food and I try to eat more vegetables and fruits when I can. I use almost no industrialized food at home.”

Vanuza da Conceição de Almeida

“I built a personal vegetable garden. Reaping what you plant is very nice! Thanks for all the learning! Everything was perfect and…I am practicing physical exercises!”

Sheila Santos Florensano da Silva

“I am diabetic and cannot eat sugar. With the knowledge I got in the course, I´ve cut salt, industrialized condiments and fries from my daily meal. I’ve learned that it’s bad for health and I have noticed some benefits – my legs used to swell and now they don’t. The main thing I learned is that I can have my own garden at home and with it, I can reap good seasoning instead of using ready-made seasoning full of sodium and other things that cause us diseases.”

Ana Baptista