Global Reach: Brazil

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EMpower in BRAZIL

EMpower currently supports work in urban and rural areas of Rio de Janeiro and in urban areas of São Paulo. Our work focuses on Health and Well-being and Livelihoods. Brazil is the fifth largest population in the world at 204 million, with youth ages 15-24 representing 17% of the population.

Issues affecting Youth

High-Levels of Poverty

86% of Brazil’s population live in urban areas, where income inequality remains high. São Paulo has the largest “slum” population in South America with 20% of the total population living in extremely poor conditions. 16% of São Paolo’s population is between ages 15-25 (1.8 million young people). Urban poor populations have been especially vulnerable since preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics have resulted in the eviction and displacement of as many as 250,000 residents.

Lack of Economic Opportunity

Young people in Brazil face significant labor market difficulties and lack of opportunities. They are more than three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and in 2013, 20% of the population aged between 15-24 (representing 6.9 million young people) neither worked nor studied. Since youth who drop out before finishing secondary school do not have the skills they need to secure a formal-sector job, most youth get a temporary and unstable job in the informal sector making little money, while others choose to make money in illegal activities like drug trafficking. Most young people involved in drug trafficking gangs in Rio de Janeiro are males between ages 15-19.

Youth Violence and Homicide

Brazil has the second highest adolescent homicide rate in the world after Nigeria, with more than 10,500 young people under the age of 19 murdered in 2013, a 110% increase compared to 20 years prior. Homicide is the leading cause of death for adolescent boys in Brazil. This intensity of youth violence has been attributed to growing inequality, particularly within education and income; greater availability of firearms; an increase in drug use; and a growth in the youth population.

Lack of Sexual and Reproductive Health Education

Many young people do not receive adequate sexual and reproductive health education in order to stay healthy and make decisions around their health, body and future, including deciding if and when to get pregnant. Nearly half of 18-24 year-old women in Rio, excluding women who had never had sex, have reported being pregnant at some point and 32% have given birth. HIV and AIDS and the Zika virus are also prevalent. Brazil represents the largest number of people living with HIV in Latin America, and is one of 15 countries worldwide which represent 75% of all people living with HIV. There has been a rise in new infections over eight years, with an increasing trend in detection among young people ages 15–24. The WHO has declared Zika, which can be transmitted sexually, a “public health emergency of international concern.” Its spread in Brazil has been rapid after first being identified in May of 2015, and Brazil continues to be the epicenter of the outbreak.

Our Approach to tackling the Issues

EMpower supports local organizations that:

  • Provide opportunities for out-of-school youth to connect to better jobs, such as 21st century skills (English, IT), eco-rural tourism, vocational training opportunities and job-readiness and employability skills.
  • Engage young people through sports and martial arts to prevent participation in crime and violence and promote a culture of peace.
  • Empower youth to make healthy decisions through accessible, targeted sexual and reproductive health information and education on human rights and gender equality.

Other countries in Latin America:

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.