From August 14th to August 17th in Itaipava, Rio de Janeiro, 46 leaders from across Brazil came together to exchange ideas and experiences for the annual BrazilFoundation Capacity Building Workshops.  For three days, leaders attended a host of workshops which addressed topics such as strategic planning, financial management, social indicators, fundraising strategies, and leadership. The group was treated to capoeira workshops each morning with Mestre Magrão, of Filhos da Corrente in São Paulo.

One of the most exciting activities for the leaders proved to be the Peer to Peer discussion, in which each leader shared their greatest struggles and then receive feedback from his peers.

Rony Meisler, the co-founder of Reserva, the men’s clothing company based in Rio de Janeiro, was invited to speak about his experiences and difficulties regarding innovation and entrepreneurship. “We are idealists and this is our brand. Our clothing lines convey themes like diversity and modern families. We believe that fashion can change society, and vice-versa,” Rony said.

Rodrigo Bandeira, of Cidade Democrática, in São Paulo, shared his knowledge on creating networks for collaboration, discussion, and social change at the local and national level. “There are centralized, hierarchical, horizontal and decentralized networks. We maintain a public network of dialogues which allow us to collaborate and think together as a group where we would like to collectively go. Without knowing what goals we want to achieve, we won’t go anywhere,” he said. Wagner Gomes of Adel, the Agency for Local Development, in Ceará, told his story as a social entrepreneur, speaking of the importance of having the proper tools and planning strategies for the manager of an organization to develop projects, social enterprises, and even companies.

The closing workshop motivated groups to reflect on the importance of communication with diverse publics to generate visibility, funding, and credibility. Examining social networks, the group learned several key tips from Rene Silva, creator of Jornal Voz da Comunidade, from the Complexo de Alemão community in Rio de Janeiro.

The meeting united social networks in the areas of education and culture, socioeconomic development, civic engagement and human rights, health, and social enterprise, generating discussions about common challenges, innovative solutions, and better methods for organizational management. It proved to be a space for sharing experiences and practices, and most importantly, for strengthening a large network of civil society organizations across Brazil in search of social transformation.

 

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