Social Sabbatical in Brazil (Part2): Days Are Flying…

Out of the sudden we are in the middle of our third week of our assignment in Belo Horizonte. It is crazy how quick the past 15 days since the kick-off with our client organizations have passed by. I can hardly find words for describing what we have experienced since then.

In the first week with Embaixadores de Minas we got a deep understanding on this spectacular, creative, passionate and smart organization. The 3 co-founders and managers we are working with are bright young people with ideas and a vision that I never thought that people of this age could have. They aim at having a real social impact by improving kids’ lives. They do not want to teach them how to read or write. Nor do they want to occasionally make them laugh or bring them food. Their vision is to make these kids understand that they definitely, without no doubt, can change their own lives by own efforts. One phase of their methodology, Jogo Embaixadores da Escola, is a joint effort, during which the kids experience that they can achieve their personal goals even with the resouces that they have available right now. We were invited to a public school to be part of the joint effort and could witness how a group of passionate kids made a big change and improved their own school’s appearance by painting a wall in just 4 hours together with people from their neighborhood and additional volunteers from the school whom they had invited to join. You should have seen the proud faces and shining eyes after the work was done. I will never forget this day!

The second week we started to train Embaixadores de Minas in some practical work methodologies, such as SCRUM, and practice with them. As the organization is mainly built on passion, commitment and an endless vital energy of all managers they have not spent time yet on putting structures in place or follow own guidelines. By putting a mirror right into their face we can support them in understanding what their challenges are, so they can prioritize and know what they should work on and improve. Even if we are still working on the deliverables that we have jointly agreed in the statement of work (SOW) and that we will most certainly only complete by the end of next week we feel that we have brought some value already to them. This gives us a good feeling as we definitely want to make a difference to them!

SCRUM daily sync meeting

We are currently working hard on mainly 2 goals. This is firstly reviewing the existing business model of Embaixadores de Minas and developing recommendations for a potential future business model that fits their organization and supports assuring their financial sustainability. Second we are reviewing the organization’s methodology (Jogo Embaixadores da Escola) to identify areas for standardization for making it scalable. We have split our resources to both goals to reach tangible results fastest possible. I have never created that many post-it notes in such short time — thanks to design thinking! We are progressing…

Besides long days in the office we are also having a great time exploring the city or the surroundings together with our new Brazilian friends. They bring us to their most favorite places and let us experience the typical Brazilian way of life. We feel like part of their family! We will definitely miss every single person once we are back in our home countries. But for now it is 10 more days to go . And I will enjoy every single moment that I can still spend together with them. No matter if during work or while sharing a drink…

Happy Hour!