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Project - Habitat Brasil
A Cultural and Communications Exchange
Rachael Stephens
On 4th January 2011 I left a cold and wet London and boarded a flight to Brazil where I spent 4 amazing weeks
working with Habitat for Humanity.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as glue Isobar’s first T.I.E. candidate. The International Exchange (although better
known as T.I.E.) is a company that seeks out communication professionals in the developed world and partners
them with charities or NGOs in the developing world. In a nutshell, they bring together the world of
communications and the world of development in order to achieve social change.

My project was with an NGO called Habitat for Humanity Brasil whose intention is to eliminate all kinds of inadequate
housing. They do this through dignified and accessible housing solutions for families of very little income and
education, effectively below the poverty line. Although Habitat for Humanity is present world wide in over 90
countries, Habitat Brasil operates as its own NGO and has very little support from sistering countries or developed
countries in terms of marketing and communications support.

My task was to create a communications campaign targeting private schools to raise awareness of Habitat Brasil and
promote participation through volunteering and donations.

I was located in the North East of Brazil in the city of Recife, where speaking English is sparse. Days were spent with
Habitat and a local advertising agency, Mart Pet, where I learnt a lot about the difference between our cultures
and the way we approach work (especially around the value of time and when to arrive to a meeting!). I also lived
with a Brazilian family who did not speak a word of English (luckily they were super lovely people!).

Looking back on it all, this has been one amazing and extremely rewarding experience.
Who are T.I.E.?

• The International Exchange is organisation founded by Philippa White, who had a vision to
bring the world of communications and the world of development together in order to
achieve social change.
• T.I.E. has been operating for just over 5 years and has created a unique program where NGOs
benefit from expert communications assistance and communication professionals benefit
from using their skills in a distinctive and positive way – whilst at the same time experiencing
life-changing personal development.
• Its kind of an exchange programme - just rather different from the ones you used to go on
when you were twelve. The difference is, with TIE you get an exchange of ideas, experiences
and skills. An exchange of knowledge, culture, norms and values.
• You get an exchange of reality.
• It’s a win-win situation - everyone gets to share and develop their
skills and make a difference whilst they’re at it.
Who are Habitat for Humanity?
• Habitat Brasil is a non-profit network that works to bring the many millions of Brazilians living in
poverty and precarious conditions into a wholesome environment and community.
• Its vision is “A world where all live in a decent home” which is currently driven by and the defence
of the concept of decent housing as a basic human right.
• Habitat Brasil seeks the promotion of housing access and the need for basic structure to get by –
which includes water, supply, electricity and sanitation.
• One Habitat house consists on 2 bedrooms, a combined kitchen / dining / lounge area, a bathroom
attached to the rear, electricity and water (through underground pipes or tanks – depending on
location). Each house costs R$18,000 to build, equivalent to £6,800 (approx)
• Their approach to is to empower the families in need of a decent habitat through encouraging
participation in the construction process. This is known as ‘sweat equity’ which brings a family
closer together whilst creating a new community environment.
• In 17 years, it has built 3.440 houses in 7 states of Brazil: Goiás, Tocantins, Rio de Janeiro, Minas
Gerais, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Pernambuco.
• The key to Habitat Brasil being successful is through the engagement of hundreds of volunteers ,
who spend from 1 day to 1 week on a construction site helping to lay bricks, build foundations and
support the few workers that are there full time. Without this assistance, Habitat would not be able
to construct anywhere near the amount of houses they currently do.
Who are Mart Pet?

• Mart Pet are a traditional advertising agency based in Recife.
• The agency is a little over 10 years old and employees 30+ people.
• The majority of their work is on regional based clients although they are expanding to work
on national campaigns and in the 4 weeks I was with them they won pitches on coca cola, a
national development company and JAC, a Chinese car manufacturer.
• Day to day their work differs from designing and updating material for restaurant clients to
creating events around reality TV themes to working with a directors from San Paulo to
produce a TV ad to launch a new shopping centre in Recife. They’re a one stop shop and
reputable agency in the north of Brazil.
• Mart Pet played an integral role in this project, providing local language and cultural
knowledge necessary to the success of this campaign.
• In the final few days of my project I spent some time with Rian Lins, the Art Director at Mart
Pet who I worked with, sharing digital work from glue Isobar. Rian was extremely interested
to know more about the digital set up at glue Isobar to see if he could use a similar model to
introduce a digital offering at Mart Pet. I helped him pull together a proposal that he was
planning to present to the owners that would compliment their current structure…Rian is yet
to pitch this to the owners…but fingers crossed for him!!
The Team

Rian Lins, Art Director,
Mart Pet.

Julia Travassos , Planner, Mart Pet

Renata Dias, Account
Manager, Mart Pet Antonio Prais, Habitat Brasil
• As part of the exchange, each T.I.E. candidate is recommended to raise £1000
before they head off for their project. All money raised is used to create and
produce the campaign, making the fundraising an extremely important exercise in
the lead up to the exchange.
• I managed to raise £4,414 for Habitat Brasil through 2 streams;
– Rachael’s Fundraising for Habitat for Humanity (RFHH) charity auction evening at Concrete, London
– Facebook fan page and Donation website (also acting as a blog)

A big THANK YOU to everyone I work with at glue Isobar who were hugely supportive
and very generous in donating, as well as my friends and family in London and
Some of the Auction items included original
art pieces from crafty glue peeps,
tickets to Primal Scream, a used
halogen heater (hmmm), skate
boarding lessons with a glue ex pro
skater, weekend getaways, an acoustic
guitar, taekwondo lessons and even a
homemade loaf of bread that sold for
a whopping £170!
Auction items were also donated from
clients Burts Bees and Magners.
Every ticket sold received a Burts Bees lip
balm and RFHH badge (see below).
All up I raised a total of £3,704 from the
Charity Auction.
• Facebook page
• Donation website
Portuguese Lessons

• In the few months leading up to my exchange I had around 15 one hour one-to-one
Portuguese lessons with Fernando Britton.
• In the final days before I left for Brazil I was still getting my ‘Eu’ confused, but I think (hope) I
mastered it at the end of my 4 weeks.
• Although everyone told me that it would be hard to have a conversation in English when I got
to Recife, I guess I thought there would still be a few locals around who I could strike up a
‘hello, how are you’ with, but it wasn’t quite that easy. These lessons were invaluable to my
experience…even if I had to write down my address every time I got in a taxi!
Recife, Brazil

• Habitat Brasil's national office is located in Recife, Brazil and this is where I spent my 4 weeks.
• Recife is Brazil 4th biggest city with a population of around 2 million people.
• Poverty and inequality are very much concentrated in the North East of Brazil which makes it
the most ideal location for Habitat Brasil .
• Recife houses some of the largest favela areas in the country and is the 3rd most violent city
(after San Paulo and Rio).
• But beside all that…it has some pretty spectacular outlooks too.
Staying with a Host family

• I lived with the most amazingly kind family who I fell in love with just after a few days.
• The house is in a very poor, favela type area called ‘Brasilia Teimosa’ which roughly translate
to ‘Stubborn Brasil’ and was named after its inhabitants who repeatedly built their houses in
the area on government land. For 20 years the government would come along and knock
down the houses only for the locals to come back and build them again. Eventually the
gocernment gave up.
• Edeniede and Ilvandro have lived (on and off) in Braslia Teimosa for 30 years. Ilvandro built
their 2 story house, androof top, with his own hands.
• They didn’t speak any English, but were very welcoming and I instantly felt at home. We got
by with a lot of my broken Portuguese, sign language and when times got tough…we resorted
to drawings and google translate.
Poverty In Brazil

• Over 30% of the population live in inadequate
• 7 million Brazilians do not have a home
• 43% of the population in not serviced by
sewage systems
• 45 million people do not have potable water
in their homes
The project – Habitat for Humanity

• Objectives

• Development Objective
To involve more Brasilian schools and students in helping the organisation to build more houses
to more people and promoting decent housing as a fundamental human right.

• Overall Objective
Use the Graded School’s example to create a campaign to attract more private schools in San
Paulo, Salvador and Recife.
Key Target Audience

• School Principles & School Social Coordinators
– Decision makers
• Agree to sign up to the Habitat partnership
– Provide insight and education into social work, fundamental rights and poverty in Brazil

• Students of the schools
– The participants (raise funds & volunteer)
Communication Objectives

• Raise awareness of Habitat, showing it represents hope for families
– Promote decent housing as a fundamental right

• Empower students by;
– Involving them in the process
– Informing them on what they can do to help
– Giving them a voice

• Provide an opportunity for community service and cultural exchange
Creative Brief Summary

• Get… private schools in San Paulo, Salvador and Recife
• To… join the Habitat fundraising and volunteer partnership
• By… getting them to appreciate / support the fundamental
rights to decent housing and what Habitat does to fight
poverty and give families a home and future

Site Visit – Habitat Project’s Varjada and Feira Nova
2 days with 20+ students from The Graded School who were working with Habitat on a
week build in Feira Nova

Clay used to build their original houses (top left) attracted bugs that would crawl through the
cracks and ‘kiss’ (bite) the skin, causing one’s heart to swell and die. Its incurable. Habitat built
120 new homes for the Varjada community.
Feira Nova

Currently Habitat’s largest project in the north of Brasil to build 100 houses for the women working at the
local flour mill. These woman are paid under minimum wage (US$94 a month!!) and can not leave until
all the manioc is carved, sometimes working up to 18 hours a day in horrible conditions – without gloves,
first aid or sanitation. Once the manioc is peeled is it turned into flour through machinery. The liquid it
produces is poisonous, yet there are no safety precautions. When they finally finish their day they return
unacceptable houses. Habitat is building a community for these woman, roofs for their children,
communal washing machines and playgrounds for their kids.
Feira Nova

Students from The Graded School, San Paulo, have worked with Habitat for 4 years. Habitat is
apart of their social community outreach program. Each year students raise funds for Habitat
and apply for their annual build week . During the week students meet the locals, visit the
local factories and schools and spend time on site constructing foundations and walls.
Creative Idea

• Hands of Hope represents a program that
invites partnership with private schools and
Habitat for Humanity to provide decent
housing and a better life for disadvantaged
families. It encompasses various levels of
participation – passive participation through
awareness, education, fundraising and
volunteering. Each partnership is unique and
personalised, based around the schools needs
and level of involvement.
Case Study – The Graded School
Presentation Folder
• What we do?
Fundraising Bag (for social coordinators)

There are ongoing conversations with Habitat to introduce the crafting of these bags to local
communities Habitat work with, for woman looking for work.
Clay Donation Houses (made locally)

* first sample, to be painted
Visual Fundraiser

Vinyl Poster (left) with 18 stickers that represent R$1,000. With each
R$1,000 raised in the school , a sticker goes up and shows the steps
it takes to build a house with Habitat. Once $18,0000 is raised, the
poster turns into a Habitat house and visualises the contribution
the school has made.
Fact Postcards
Certificate for all volunteers
Promotional Material

For sale to volunteers
‘Thank You’ Brick presented to Schools

*mock up only
Newsletter Template
Communications Plan

Schools will be asked to join the Hands of Hope program and participate
through fundraising, education and volunteering to build.

The brochure, case study and presentation folder will be used in this phase.
Once schools have signed up they will receive the fundraising bag with
posters, post cards, visual fundraiser and donation box.

Habitat’s first priority is to contact 13 Western schools around Brasil that
have signed a Latin American manifesto to help their countries, the
poor and the community and are familiar with Habitat. Following this,
Habitat plan to contact local schools in Recife, both Western and
Brasilian and then branch out schools in San Paulo and Salvador.

Measuring success – Habitat hope to create a partnership with two schools
in the next 12 months and another two schools each year after that.
• Brochure (Portuguese / English) 500 R$ 653.15
• Case Study (Portuguese / English) 500 R$ 653.15
• Presentation Folder 500 R$1,300.00
• Presentation Bag (incl patch) 30 R$ 420.00
• Posters (Portuguese / English) 500 R$ 647.90
• Translations R$ 600.00
• Visual Fundraiser 30 R$3,010.00
• Clay Donation Boxes 30 R$1,050.00
• Postcard 10,000 R$1,081.00
• Postcard distribution 5,000 R$ 950.00
• Paper Mache Brick 30 R$ 402.00

• TOTAL R$10,767.20
• (Budget) (R$11,830)

• Remaining £1,062 to be used to purchase and engrave plaques for the school gift award
Beyond Hands of Hope

• A few things to compliment Habitat Brasil’s current communications
– Website fundraising site
• Ideas on how to fundraise
• Education pieces for schools to download

– Social bookmark sharing
– Update Habitat Brasil’s website with buttons to facebook / twitter accounts

– Short Viral pieces on Habitat, the people of Brasil and Habitat projects
(shared through YouTube)
My Objectives
• Business Objectives
– Finding ways to address business problems (focussing on areas of strategy and
concept development)
– Develop deep understanding of Habitat for Humanity and their business
operations, ensure focus is on delivery against their goals, objectives and
– Provide framework + tools for a campaign (and if possible Implement)

• Personal Objectives
– Be able to motivate and inspire, manage resource and collaboratively direct
project team, build relationship with stakeholders in a new environment
– Visionary, can see how an idea works against broader client context, objectives
and ambition
– Challenge myself with learning’s of a new language and culture
– Actively contribute to Habitat for Humanity helping them to succeed in their
campaign and overall business operations
My Appraisal and Evaluation
Habitat for Humanity Mart Pet Me

“When bringing a profesisonal “In my opinion, the group work “This project has really allowed
specialized in is the highlight of the me to test myself in strategy
communication area to the project. Adding different and creative
organization, we realized the experiences, different communication. I wasn't just
importantance of this area, cultures, everyone working assisting in these areas but
as it should be in the base of together to reach the same initiating and managing the
an organization to conduct objectives.” entire process throughout.”
our institutional
relationships.” “The best lesson is that “I really felt like i became an
meetings are not waste of extension of Habitat and
“The biggest impact was to time – meetings can save through immersing myself
professionalize the time. Objective meetings, into their organisation i was
communication area into the with the whole group, able to see who they are and
organization through the focused, deciding together what it is they need from a
campaign Hands of Hope. every step of the process communications aspect.”
That showed us the saves work energy. And I
necessity of this area to have already started
conduct our institutional introducing this way of work
relationships, so we can in my newer projects.”
reach our objectives.”