Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


Fortaleza, Brazil, is a city known for its extreme levels of social inequality in between the center of the city and the periphery. Over time, these have led to high rates of social problems among youth living on the outer reaches of the city, including truancy and lack of employability. These problems have led many of the youth in the city to become excluded from general society, and more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including crime and early pregnancy. After abandoning these areas for many years, the local government decided to create a physical center to promote the employability and social inclusion of these youth. After consulting with the community, the Prefeitura government decided to create six massive centers where youth could practice sports, engage in cultural programs, and attend professional courses. The first of these centers, CUCA Che Guevara, has been fully operational since October 2010, thanks in part to a nearly $25 million USD loan from BIDiii. Though international lending institutions are traditionally known for changing the scope and scale of development projects, BID had almost no interference with the plans behind the CUCA centers. This allowed the Prefeitura government to implement the programs that they believed were the best for the community, and ensured that the relationship between the Prefeitura and BID remained amicable. However, in the haste to begin construction on CUCA Che Guevara before the end of the previous term, the government decided to build CUCA Che Guevara in a place that does not maximize accessibility for the people of the communityiv. In addition, attendance in many of CUCA’s programs continues to be low, particularly among people living within CUCA’s immediate surroundings. The Prefeitura government must find ways to remedy these two serious issues before they use the same methodology to run Baizer 5 future CUCAs within the city. If they do not, the Center’s effects on youth social inclusion will be much less detectable.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Race and Ethnicity | Social Policy | Social Welfare


Article Location