CIESPI always works on several fronts to tackle a problem. The work on early childhood is no exception including applied research, advocacy, technical assistance and policy development. In August 2016, CIESPI along with colleagues in the Rio Network for Early Childhood organized the first ever mayoral forum for candidates held at City Hall. Eight of the ten candidates joined the debate, including the winning candidate, all of who signed a Letter of Commitment to Early Childhood Rights.

A major focus of the early childhood work is how to provide more safe places for children to be outside of their homes in low-income communities where violence, unhealthy conditions, noisy disturbances and cramped living conditions are a very real threat to healthy development including brain development.

While this work is applicable to all urban low-income communities, staff dove deeply into two low-income communities in Rio, Rocinha and Parada de Lucas, to get a first-hand sense of the challenges. The early childhood organizations that exist in such communities especially crèches and pre-schools are havens for young children offering protection, learning opportunities, food, and affection. They suffer, however, from precarious finances, shortages of trained staff, run-down facilities, and outbursts of gun-fire outside the buildings. Various reports and bulletins on this work can be found on this website.

The CIESPI team has been involved in engaging community actors including staff of the crèches and preschools to plan action steps to mitigate some of the problems that face young children and strengthen the organizations that serve them.

The team continues its work with several key actors in the Children´s Rights Council of Rio de Janeiro for the implementation of the Municipal Plan on early Childhood (PMPI) and to go further with the production of indicators in its Data Base Children in Numbers.

Two new pieces of research and action are currently being developed to enrich and complement the CIESPI project on early childhood: 1) Researching internal and external factors facing families in the care of their children and several initiatives to engage the community of Rocinha in active discussion about the importance of their children well-being; 2) Researching the effectiveness of programs for workforce development of residents of low-income communities and their connection to the world of work to give the parents of young children more resources to support their children.

CIESPI continues active participation in the National Network on Early Childhood (RNPI)

CIESPI entered the National Network (RNPI) in 2006. Since then all kinds of organizations have joined the network from civil society, government, business organizations and groups, and other networks. Their and CIESPI’s goal has been to work on behalf of young children in Brazil aged 0-6, and to contribute to the development of sound policy for those children. The RNPI is a network and carries out its mission through working groups. CIESPI is an active participant in the working group on child participation whose goal is to give national visibility to this theme. That goal involves including children as appropriate in the development of policy, and promoting and systematizing methods for listening to children and encouraging their participation.

Contrasts: Children and the city - methodologies for listening to children

In 2014, CIESPI launched with its partner, Østfold University College, Norway, the photo exhibit ‘Contrasts: The Children of Rio de Janeiro’ which featured children in diverse neighborhoods in that city. Since then, CIESPI has experimented with using photos from the exhibit to engage children in conversations and various forms of active participation in several Rio schools. CIESPI staff extract silhouettes of the photographs and the children are invited to imagine and recreate the full scene according to their own designs. These workshops promote graphic expression and many conversations and games about the delights and problems of the city in which the children live.

Partneship: Østfold University College, Norway. Support: Bernard van Leer Foundation

Partneship: Østfold University College, Norway. Support: Bernard Van Leer foundation

Project team

Coordination: Irene Rizzini - DSS/PUC-Rio; CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Executive coordination: Maria Cristina Bó - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Executive coordination assistant: Claudia Mendes - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Consultancy: Malcolm Bush - Loyola University of Chicago; CIESPI/PUC-Rio

Research / Community facilitator
Cynthia Ozon Boghossian - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Renata Tavares - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Eliane Gomes Borges - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Cristina Laclette Porto - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Nathercia Lacerda - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Antonio Firmino - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Vicente Barros - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Renata Brasil - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Juliana Batistuta Vale - CIESPI/PUC-Rio

Rocinha young residents
Kinda Martins Firmino
Juliana Pinheiro Lima
Júlia Rocha da Silva
Pedro Paulo da Silva Santos
Lucas Velasco de Oliveira

Scholarship holders
Thamara Maia - CIESPI/PUC-Rio; PIBIC
Luisa Dias - CIESPI/PUC-Rio