Our mission at Arca [Newsletter 3 Brazil]

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well.
After 3 weeks in Brazil, it’s time to tell you about our respective missions with the NGO Arca.

Measuring the impact of an educational program:

Romain Sion Arca Do Saber Sao Paulo

Like any NGO, measuring impact is a key issue. The team in charge of the Arca Do Saber program has so far built its impact reports from the indicators requested by its donors. For example, the city council – the main funder of the program – is interested in very factual data such as: the re-enrollment rate from one year to the next (90%) or the participation rate of the beneficiaries (88%).

Thais, the president of the NGO, asked me to think about new indicators that would allow them to measure the impact of this program over time. These would allow them to iterate more easily on the construction of their educational program. In collaboration with the teachers, a psychologist, the pedagogical manager and the evaluation manager, I am in charge of developing a framework to measure the development of self-esteem and soft skills of the children part of the program.

Dental field data collection project:

Arca do saber

On Sarah’s side, Arca was interested in a mission to screen the 130 children in the program and then collect data in order to build a new project within Arca. Before our arrival, Sarah had used the recommendations of the World Health Organization to build two documents: a quantitative questionnaire (dental follow-up, eating habits,…) and a clinical report.

During 3 weeks, Sarah received all the children in an improvised medical office on the top floor. Each visit was the subject of a detailed report allowing: to identify critical cases in order to define an emergency treatment plan with the partner dentist and to collect enough data on the children’s dental health to set up a sustainable funding project.

The kingdom of soccer:

Romain Sion Sao Paulo

As you might have guessed, in Brazil soccer is almost a religion. During the big games, we were told that the streets are absolutely deserted. It is also very common to go and play soccer with colleagues after work. That’s why I was invited by some employees of the Sao Paulo subway who are fervent supporters of the Corinthians team for one of their weekly tournaments, on Friday night. What I can tell you is that the level was crazy.

Romain Sion Sao Paulo

We also went to the Morumbi stadium (80,000 seats) where a championship game of Sao Paulo Futbol Club X Bragantino was taking place. Being unable to find tickets, a security guard of the stadium saw us perplexed in the middle of the supporters. He was very kind and bent over backwards to help us find tickets. The result was a 3-0 victory at home – the atmosphere was clearly great! What surprised us a lot was the proportion of women and children who came to support their favorite team. Going to a game seems to be a family activity.

The Samba:

Sao Paulo

Music and dance are part of the daily life of Brazilians. What Sarah and I quickly realized was that it would be impossible to match them in dance. So we just learned the basic steps of the forro and the samba. Every Sunday (even in winter), the city closes one of the main avenues of Sao Paulo to cars – Paolista Avenue. As you walk up the avenue, hundreds of singers and dancers set up shop to share their style of music.

Sao Paulo

Even more impressive are the samba schools that rehearse every week in preparation for the carnival. It’s a football-like championship with different leagues. During the carnival, up to 4000 people from the same Samba school can pass in front of the juries at the same time. It is a crazy organization! During the rehearsals, what marked us within the Vai Vai school, it is the very family character of these rehearsals where we found there people of all the ages.

One more week and it will be the big comeback!
Beautiful day to all,
Sarah & Romain

Sao Paulo