Walking down the streets of Baía do Sol (freely translated as “Sun Bay”), the words “We can’t do anything alone” resonated in our minds. The Humanitas360 team had spent a few days visiting civic social entrepreneurship projects in Belém and Santarém in the north part of Brazil and in a short period of time, we were certain we had connected with an extraordinary network of people that embodies what it means to be participatory citizens.
Through the development of the project Promise Tracker – a project we are involved with in partnership with the MIT Center of Civic Media, the Co:Lab at the University of São Paulo and the Social Observatory of Belém – we traveled to the north of Brazil to see firsthand how the project is being carried out by our local partners.
Promise Tracker is a tool that allows citizens to organize themselves in order to monitor and collect data about public services with the objective of demanding improvements from the government. We were able to meet public school students that have been employing this social technology in the process of improving their school lunches in the city of Santarém.
The tool has been key in the collection of data and in getting students engaged in demanding better quality lunches from the local government. In addition to learning about Promise Tracker, we were able to learn about projects dealing with various issues such as the critical situation of solid waste in Belém, the monitoring of public accounts aimed at increasing transparency throughout the state, improving community safety through citizen engagement,