Transforming the World Through Education

I believe in the transformative power of education and I’m proud to belong to a company that not only shares this belief but also works hard to ensure that transformation happens in practice. At Votorantim, this “hard work” has a name: it’s the Votorantim Partnership for Education (PVE), a social technology created by the Votorantim Institute with the goal of contributing to the improvement of public education through social mobilization and empowerment of local government and school management.

Since 2008, when it first started, the program has established itself as an impact initiative, with a positive influence on the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb), a benchmark in education quality in Brazil. Studies considering the period between 2013 and 2017 showed that the use of this technology was able to accelerate, in the medium term, the results of the public education system in the participating municipalities by 35% at the elementary school level and 52% at the middle school level.

The positive results encourage us to move forward and expand the coverage of this service. In 2018, more than 1,200 schools in 104 Brazilian municipalities were impacted by the PVE. More than 3,000 professionals, including technicians from the municipal education departments and school principals and coordinators received training and 360,000 students were directly or indirectly impacted.

Reaching 100 municipalities was a goal—a bold goal—set as part of the celebrations of the centennial anniversary of Votorantim in Brazil in 2018. The focus on education was our way of renewing our commitment to Brazil and to the legacy we want to build. The plans began to be developed in 2015, and were executed from 2016 to 2018, with progressive growth and learning year by year. In 2016, the PVE was in 17 municipalities; it tripled in size and reached 51 in 2017; in 2018, we reached 104. All Votorantim companies, without exception, participated in this effort.

And, like everything we do at the Institute, the initiative was defined by attention to quality and effectiveness. We dream big about our ambition to generate shared value and positive impact for society, and we try to rigorously and objectively evaluate the results of our actions along the way. In the case of the PVE, we evaluate the evolution of the education in the municipalities annually, based on a competence matrix that includes the skills considered essential in the areas of management and mobilization to solidify the process of continuous improvement and ensure long-term impact. At the beginning of each year, we analyze the degree of maturity of the municipalities in each of these skills. In addition to serving as a basis for comparison with the next annual evaluation, each assessment also guides priorities and focuses of action.

The evaluation performed in 2018 indicated that almost all municipalities (98%) evolved in the competence matrix throughout the year and 72% met or exceeded the targets for the period. This is the reality that we want to solidify, by believing in the future and in the transformative potential of teamwork. That is why in 2019 the program will change its name and become the Partnership for the Enhancement of Education, in a more inclusive initiative to involve other companies. The first of these is Suzano, which completed the purchase of Fibria at the end of 2018. Committed to social impact in the communities where its operations are located, the company maintained its investment in the PVE in more than 20 municipalities for 2019.

The continuity of the PVE and the deepening of the work cycle has already been confirmed for 2019 in 101 municipalities. To me, this constant advancement signals that we are on the right track, with this seed planted for the prosperity of future generations.

Ana Helena de Moraes Vicintin

Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Votorantim Institute