Young Leaders Take Brazil
Ivan Prado, Brazil
My Project: The Young Leaders Program
The Young Leaders Program. Only this year, we have impacted 522 high school students from vulnerable communities in Brazil, achieving our goal. Now we want to impact 750! This was only possible thanks to a grant from the US Mission to Brazil, who enabled us to run this program free of charge. We have done 8 workshops in 7 cities so far, 5 to go!
What was your Inspiration?
Through my network. I was selected from the US Department of Exchange and Cultural Affairs in 2017 to be a part of the Young Leaders of Latin America Initiative (YLAI). I was chosen from 4000 applicants from 36 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. This enabled me to spend 5 weeks in the US, living in Atlanta, volunteering at both the Atlanta Transitional Center — a government building in midtown Atlanta that helps inmates resocialize — and Pentorship -a 21st-century skill capacity building program that helps companies and organizations adapt for the future of work.
Another volunteer experience I’ve had was going to Egypt with AIESEC. Money can be undervalued or overvalued, depending on the currency and time. When I volunteered in Egypt I was able to buy 7 sandwiches with 1 dollar. Understanding how Brazilian money is overvalued there [in Egypt] is so empowering to Youth in Brazil, to understand as they usually compare it to places like the States, where their money is undervalued.
Other fact that inspires youth to travel is, for example, is that many products in Egyptian supermarkets are in both Arabic and English! We tell our students these tips so that they can plan, dream big and make it come true.
What challenges have you faced?
A lot of small businesses come to schools and say they are offering free courses or workshops. When people get to the course, they are then faced with having to buy expensive materials and because of this, schools tend to hold themselves back with the thought of “this is to good to be true”. As a result of some of the school’s resistance, we have had to change locations and even cancel some editions. Another challenge, in addition to convincing the school directors and the school boards, is that we also have to convince the students that it is worth to spend their Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm with us.
What you have found to be your best resources?
Instituto Chaosa [mu non-profit] partnered up with another non-profit, Empreendescola, which helped increase our chances of getting the grant. They also have been working with schools for 6 years and therefore know what works and what doesn’t. For Grant writing, I read a lot but also what really helped guide me when writing them, was having an example to work off. I learned about KPIs, how to measure impact, especially in training — it’s quite hard to measure the impact on training…
It’s important to use qualitative and quantitative methods, to measure the impact and showcase what impact it has on people.
There are lots of resources for grant writing. One is grants.gov which is a website by the U.S. Department of State, which has a lot of resources on grant writing 101, budgeting and accounting, grants you can apply to, and many other resources like that.
FEEDBACK — We collect feedback from every workshop that we do. From that, we change it little by little, making the program user-centered and increasing our impact.
What advice do you have for your peers?
Look for people better than you. I felt that through partnering with this organization, I learned a lot from them. I think this made this project a lot better than I could deliver before.
What I have learned is to underpromise and overdeliver. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver just for the sake of winning the grant.
A common insight the students have is that we tell them: “Imagine all the people in this room. Imagine all of them sabotaging you and your dreams. Would you go far? Now, imagine all the people in this room helping you achieve it. You can go further, together!”
What are your other projects?
Next month I have been invited to talk about Gamification on a Podcast in Brazil. I am also working with other companies on facilitation and training and development. Currently, I am a representative of a Swedish company called Celemi. They have business simulations (board games) to help people and companies develop a set of skills including business acumen, business finances, project management, strategy, etc. I also have been working with International Connector for 4 years, an amazing partnership that enabled me to work in global projects for gigantic companies such as StubHub, Institute for the Future, and Microsoft! Being able to work remotely with great minds from more than 50 countries in projects that help shift companies’ culture, build community, or discuss how the future will look like, has been a privilege!
We hope you enjoy Ivan’s story!