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A new path away from violence: the story of Raul

Jessica Gallegos's picture
Also available in: Español

Raul is short, skinny and has an enormous smile. Looking at him, it was hard to believe that this fifteen-year-old had long been feared in his community as a gang leader and had been the author of horrible crimes in Colonia Santa Marta in El Salvador.

Hackers for a revamped Bus System in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Diego Canales's picture
Also available in: Español

What happens when you grab an interdisciplinary group of skilled and highly motivated hackers, give them the task of improving the bus system of the city; and grant them full autonomy over the transport raw data which they had been trying to put their hands on for the last years?

Can the World Bank make a difference in a large middle-income country like Brazil?

Jiro Tominaga's picture
Also available in: Portuguese

One of the major aspirations of the World Bank is to make a real impact on the countries’ development. But when the Bank is a small player relative to the size of the country, can it be what we call transformational?

Rio de Janeiro's reforestation changes life in the favelas

Franka Braun's picture
Also available in: Portuguese

It’s not easy to reach Morro da Formiga, a favela that perches precariously like a bird’s nest on the side of a cliff in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. But once you get there, its dramatic view of lush forested hillsides is impressive. It wasn’t always like this though. Sixteen years ago, it was just a barren mountain with recurring mudslides threatening its residents.

Morro da Formiga is one of 144 sites of Rio’s reforestation program. I visited last week, together with a team from the Environmental Secretariat of Rio City Hall and a journalist from Agence France Presse.

Morro da Formiga. Photo: Franka Braun

Since 1986, the Environmental Secretariat of Rio’s City Hall (SMAC) has led a community reforestation program and planted over six million seedlings on 2,200 hectares of land within the city limits. Rio had long suffered from deforestation of its hills as a result of development, causing soil erosion, sediment build-up in waterways, floods, landslides, and pools of water filled with disease-carrying mosquitos.

Buenos Aires: How the Maldonado stream went back to its bed

Maria Madrid's picture
Also available in: Español
The case of the Maldonado stream: The voice of a citizen

Imagine a busy metropolitan avenue crossing the length of Buenos Aires, Argentina, transited daily by buses and trains and lined with a large hospital, medical buildings, schools, shops and businesses.

Now imagine for 27 years this avenue flooding severely 37 times as if it were a river. During a flood, envision people being evacuated in motorboats, cars practically floating downstream, and cars and pedestrians on the bridge above it having to remain stranded there until the waters on the avenue below receded. It sounds implausible doesn’t it? Not for Buenos Aires residents it didn’t. The Juan B. Justo Avenue was such a thoroughfare.

Targeting motorcycle users to improve traffic safety in Latin America

Anna Okola's picture
Also available in: Español

Motorcycle riders and passengers have long been vulnerable users of motorized transport. In the Americas, with the increasing ownership of motorcycles, given the ease and lower costs, this trend is worrisome as the number of vulnerable users as well as those impacted by traffic crashes increases, sometimes masking a shift from pedestrian or bicycle casualties to motorcycle victims. These trends would be similar in regions such as Africa which also share the motorcycle-taxi (mototaxi) phenomenon.

What’s getting in the way of Latin America becoming a food superpower?

John Nash's picture
Also available in: Español | Portuguese

The United Nations estimates that with the population reaching 9 billion by 2050, global food demand will double, with much of that growth in developing countries. 
While the gloom-and-doom predictions of Malthus and a long line of neo-Malthusians have failed to materialize, still, one does have to wonder how all those hungry mouths are going to be fed.
What will it take to ensure that the recent food crises do not become permanent features of the world of the future?  While countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are quite heterogeneous in their production potential, overall they are well equipped to contribute to meeting this challenge.

What if crossing the road was the last thing you did?

Verónica Raffo's picture
Also available in: Español

What do the former South African president and Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela and Uruguayan soccer star Diego Forlán have in common? Both of their families have experienced tragedies caused by unsafe roads and have turned their pain into a commitment to do something about it.

Three years ago, Zenani Mandela was hit by a drunk driver as she was returning home from the World Cup opening ceremony in South Africa.  Zenani was just 13 years old. Forlán’s sister ended up in a wheelchair after a serious car accident 20 years ago.

Brazil's dream goal for 2014

Mariana Ceratti's picture
Also available in: Portuguese | Español
Tamires Rodrigues, a Brazilian student, has some things in common with some of the world’s best strikers: she has, for example, a clear target and knows exactly how to send the ball straight into the goal.

Just as Tamires, Brazil wishes to score a dream goal – and it has got nothing to do with the upcoming World Cup. The country seeks to enroll 1 million people in the National Programme for Vocational Education and Employment (Pronatec, its acronym in Portuguese) until the end of 2014.