24 July Jul 2014 1339 24 July 2014

European Semester: A contribution against poverty by enterprises

In developing countries, 9 out of 10 jobs come from private sector that play a crucial role in development, as recently underlined by EU. But in order to benefit the whole society, not for profit organizations is necessary have a key role in including most vulnerable people in the economic growth process, as witnessed by AVSI at the Informal Meeting of the EU Development Ministers held in Florence on July 15th.

During the Informal Meeting of Development Ministers of the European Union held on July 15th at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Tuscany, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lapo Pistelli has promised to share a new document on issues of the post-2015 (Millenium Development Goals) at the end of the semester. The debate included issues on nutrition, the role of immigration in order to create development, Expo 2015 and the role of the private sector in the fight against poverty.


The economic support provided by private sector comes in the form of local and microenterprise industry development. It is also important to note the involvement of private non-profit organizations among the development actors in order for it to be effective and inclusive. After ten years since the last formal stance, Europe raises the importance of the private sector's role in the global fight against poverty due to its capacity to offer 90% of jobs in developing countries. An impossible fact to ignore, which the ministers for the Development of the EU, the biggest international donor, will have to take into account during the European Semester under Italian leadership.

The private sector, with the resources and the expertise on its side, has a key role to play. However, involvement of non-profit organizations is necessary in order to extend benefits to whole society.

The private profit enterprises have resources and expertise that can support the know-how of NGOs active in the area. These help with the deep knowledge of local communities and context necessary to devise interventions, according to an inclusive approach. The field work of AVSI shows how the improvement of the performance of enterprises and how these partnerships are a real opportunity for society's development.

AVSI has presented its successful experiences in Florence on July 15 during an open dialogue within the framework of the European summit on the issues of cooperation and development. The event was attended by ministers of the EU member states and representatives of the Commission.


The experience of Árvore da Vida in Brazil is a positive example of integrated partnership between reality-profit, non-profit, institutional and local actors, able to develop and create a shared value for an entire community. It was presented by the Secretary General of AVSI, Giampaolo Silvestri, to the Development Ministers of the 28 European Union countries as part of the informal meeting on the issues of cooperation organized by Italy in Florence.
Ten years and 20,360 young men and women were involved (these are the numbers of the program) in a program developed by Fiat in collaboration with AVSI and Cooperação para o Desenvolvimento Morada and Humana (CDM), in the district of Jardim Teresópolis, in Betim, Brazil. It was born from the desire of Fiat Brazil to invest and enhance the educational resources of the community next to the factory of Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais, with the hope of contributing to the reduction of violence and the improvement of professional qualification.


On July 14th, the day before the meeting, AVSI also participated in one of the major events about another great main pillar of the future European policies: nutrition. The event which was also held in Florence, promoted by the platform called “Concord Italy” in the context of the European summit on development.


With ENI in Congo

A concrete example is the partnership between AVSI and ENI in Brazzaville ,Congo. The partnership was conceived in order for ENI to carry out its business and at the same time the local communities could benefit from sustainable development over time. In the beginning, the study of the context involved twenty five thousand inhabitants in twenty four villages whereby putting into practice a true community development plan that takes into account the reality studied and the needs expressed by the populations. In practice, the collaboration has allowed the rehabilitation of a school, the training of teachers, parents' committees and village committees.

Edegel in Peru

Equally significant is the the experience with Edegel (Enel) wherein the company needed to build a hydroelectric power plant in the Chimay area in Peru. Edegel has partnered with AVSI to mitigate the negative impact it may have brought to the local community. Also, the knowledge of AVSI of the territory has identified the both the potential and the needs of the community and through training initiatives on productivity, marketing and organization, it has favored an increase in the level of income of coffee producers.

Training with GE in Brazil

In Brazil, a partnership between AVSI and the multinational technology sector GE, has allowed us to carry on the work of Cantinho Education Center in Rio de Janeiro where preschoolers were welcomed and training courses were conducted for young people to help them get into the world of work. The same employees have contributed to the training courses and exporting their expertise and experiences in difficult situations.

Computer labs through ST Foundation

The involvement of ST foundation, a giant in computer technology, has allowed the installation of computer labs in some countries where AVSI works, such as South Sudan, Brazil and Myanmar. This is an example of how the expertise of a private enterprise has led to results that go beyond the mere financing of a project.

With Cloros for the environment

There are also examples that come from the environment sector. AVSI and Cloros, an active company in this sector, have organized an intervention in Mozambique which provides for the distribution of 15,000 cooking systems to 7,500 families living in two districts of Maputo. Local populations currently use highly inefficient systems that burn coal for cooking food, while the new stoves with low impact use half of the coal for the same food prepared.