Foreign master’s in administration students visit social project in Rio shanty town
In September, a group of 16 international students on the Master in Management (MiM) program at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (FGV EBAPE) visited the Social Education Project for Conscious Thinking (known by Portuguese initials PESPC), which is working to generate social and environmental benefits in Santa Marta, a shanty town next to the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Botafogo.
The initiative, an integral part of MiM’s Sustainable Development course, taught by Professor Fabrício Stocker, is designed to strengthen students’ understanding of the interconnections between social and environmental aspects. It also aims to enable them to become more aware global citizens who are committed to promoting sustainability in their future careers and in their communities of origin.
During the visit, the students learned about PESPC’s main activities and worked on their leadership skills and knowledge of sustainability. Among other things, the project reuses cooking oil to make bars of soap, which helps preserve the environment while reducing the improper disposal of oil and enabling local residents to acquire new skills and generate income. The project represents a success story, demonstrating how local initiatives can have a lasting positive social impact, benefiting both the environment and the lives of those involved.
Santa Marta is one of the city’s oldest shanty towns and it has gained recognition for its presence in Brazilian music and popular culture, as well as for its historical significance. It became one of the first shanty towns to receive a “Pacifying Police Unit” as part of the government’s efforts to improve security in communities with a history of violence.
According to Professor Fabrício Stocker, “The opportunity for students to get to know Rio de Janeiro’s most vulnerable communities such as Santa Marta is essential for enriching their academic training. By experiencing the reality and challenges of these communities and observing how they think about sustainability actions in their own contexts, students can go beyond theory and apply their knowledge of sustainable development in a practical way.”
The visit gave the students a new experience and a new vision of sustainability actions and the circumstances of low-income communities.
Here are some comments from some of the international students who took part in the visit:
“Personally, it was a life-changing experience and a perfect practical complement to our Sustainable Development class. Seeing the social project in action and meeting the people behind the idea was very inspiring, as it wasn’t just about sustainability, but also about empowerment in a community that often feels left behind by the state. The trip gave us a better understanding of how sustainable practices can transform the lives of individuals and also entire communities for the better.” Franzi Stapper, German student on the Master in Management (MiM) program
“Coming from a European metropolitan capital, it was very moving and enlightening to visit the Santa Marta shanty town as part of MiM’s Sustainable Development course. As a foreigner living in Brazil and especially in Rio de Janeiro, I’m constantly asked questions by friends and family back home, such as “How safe is it?” and “What about the shanty towns, aren’t you afraid?” However, after visiting Santa Marta, I can confidently say that the shanty towns are different from what many foreigners imagine. Before this tour, I imagined them to be like the Wild West, with no government, law or community. However, after learning about Santa Marta’s history, its recent social developments and seeing the infrastructure its citizens have, including a funicular railway, my perception changed. Santa Marta is definitely different from how I imagined shanty towns to be, in a positive way.” Daniel Deleuran, Swiss student on the MiM program
“I would like to express my gratitude for the enlightening visit to the Santa Marta shanty town during our Sustainable Development course. It was amazing to see how people thrive and find happiness in the midst of adversity. This experience has strengthened my commitment to sustainable development.” Samuel Loquier, French student on the MiM program
To find out more about PESPC, visit its website.
About the program
MiM is a career acceleration program aimed at recent graduates and professionals, from Brazil and other countries, in their first years on the job market. MiM promotes cultural and socioeconomic exchange, as well as students’ engagement in realities experienced in public, private and third-sector organizations.
With a solid foundation in core management areas and a strong international perspective, the program, taught 100% in English, has multicultural professors and multidisciplinary content.
The program lasts 15 months and a master’s certificate is issued at the end of the period. Students can choose between two learning pathways: “Management” or “Sustainability Management in Emerging Markets.” Students also have the option of studying for a further semester and thus obtaining a joint degree (together with Catholic Lisbon School of Business and Economics) on completion of the course.
The selection process for the program is now open. For more information, visit the program’s website.