Brazil Project: Rio, Health Promotion and Developmental Violence Research

Brazil Project: Rio, Health Promotion and Developmental Violence Research

At the beginning of June, this year, Janine Ewan is heading to Rio De Janiero to carry out the health promotions project directed towards the shantytown people of the Favelas through the NGO organisation Frontier.  As I am studying my master’s in Public Health/Health Improvement, it is important for me to make use of my skills widely. Here she shares her experiences and reasons for participating...

I have studied Public Health part time along with community development and emergency care related roles, giving me a wide open door of opportunity to apply theory to practice, which is often a problem for many who seek practical experience from what they have learned through University or college. The MSc has given me practical exercises to carry out through my employment, which has allowed an added strength in practical and research related public health activity that I hope to carry to an International Health level.

I was instantly attracted to the Brazil volunteer projects. This country I can imagine would be on most people’s lists to visit, trips to the Amazon, waterfalls, the wildlife and some of the isolated tribes that exist, hidden deep away from the rest of the world. There are too many opportunities as tourists and researchers.   The country is always under much controversy over its widening inequalities, leading to questioning around the issues of social justice, health inequity and where investments are going from being an “economic giant” of the world. These inequalities are quite unreal, particularly as two different worlds are at next door neighbours.  

I hope to work with the other volunteers through the Frontier project in developing health promotion plans; campaigns and education programmes, particularly looking at methods – what has been tried and what hasn’t. In the Favelas, disease and overall health are of a low standard; however I hope to combine thoughts with the volunteers alongside looking into local NGO activity. Not every problem requires a complex solution and not every problem will require a new way of thinking. It really is often about providing “missing links” to the chains that already exist.

There is a lot of good work happening out there, but the saying ‘a problem had is a problem shared’, can often be neglected when working towards health and wellbeing outcomes having done quite a lot of work on project development, partnership working and stakeholder analysis. When you go over to another country, it is the wrong attitude to have to assume you are going to take the place of those who are already carrying out similar work. Empowerment of individuals leads to a sustainable climate and that is the key to many of the world’s problems. I hope the project will engage with the local community as widely as possible.

During my spare time I will be carrying out my own extra small scale research project, looking into the impact the two upcoming major sporting events, those being the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016, around developmental violence and plans by the Brazilian authorities to deal with the demands of these events, which I am interested in capturing. There will be enough time for me to carry out qualitative research from local people on their negative experiences. I am sure I will arrive back to the UK having fulfilled a lot of my expectations. I really am looking forward to meeting like-minded people as we carry out the objectives out the Frontier project, which will, if carried out successfully, will have desirable outcomes for the people of the Favelas, because that is what we want from this! I can’t wait to head over!


By Janine Ewen (Twitter @JanineEwen)

If you would like to do something similar view our volunteer abroad directory for a list of programs and organisations. You can also apply to volunteer in South America.



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