Represented in the most diverse segments, volunteers donate their time, energy and talent to causes they believe in. They are essential for civil society organizations to achieve their missions and positively impact the lives of thousands of people. According to the third edition of the Volunteering Survey in Brazil 2021, the findings point to positive results: 56% of the adult population says they do or have already done some volunteer activity in their lives. In 2011, this number represented 25% of the population and, in 2001, only 18%. Also noteworthy is the number of active volunteers at the time of the survey – 34% of respondents, which represents about 57 million Brazilians committed to volunteer activities.
Both the number of people involved in volunteering increased, as did the hours dedicated to the activity. If the average amount of dedication per person was 5 hours per month in 2011, the 2021 survey points to an average of 18 hours per month. Thus, each Brazilian volunteer contributed, on average, the equivalent of 12 entire soccer matches per month. The survey also revealed that 40% of the volunteers fit in the age group between 30 and 49 years; in relation to schooling, 50% have completed high school / incomplete higher education; and the monthly family income of 39% of respondents is up to 2 minimum wages. 15% of the volunteers carry out activities related to corporate volunteer programs and dedicate, on average, 21.5 hours per month.
Inspired by the value of Collaboration, Hydro and Albras have been developing, since 2016, a corporate volunteer program that supports communities neighboring their industrial operations. Based on three UN Sustainable Development Goals: education, economic growth and promoting a society of peace, the program brings together employees from Hydro's offices in Belém and Rio de Janeiro, the Hydro Alunorte refinery and the primary aluminum producer Albras , in Barcarena, and the company's bauxite mine in the municipality of Paragominas, in the state of Pará, in addition to contracted companies and family members.
This entire team donated talent and time to carry out, from January to July 2022, 39 actions, which benefited more than 3,000 people, with the support of around 370 volunteers. Among these actions are blood donation; delivery and painting of the bleachers of the multi-sport court at the Vila do Conde Community Center; collective effort to complete the electrical installations and paint the Vila do Conde Community Center; lectures on domestic violence; donations of hygiene products to associations in Barcarena and Abaetetuba; task force for weeding and clearing the soccer field of the Murucupi community; solidarity bazaar; among others.
Among the benefited communities are the Community Centers of Vila do Conde and Vila Nova, Pastoral do Menor, Fazenda da Esperança, Pastoral da Criança, NGO Prisma, APAE, Pastoral do Menor, Solar do Acalanto, Lar Fabiano de Cristo, Casa Ronald McDonald, among others. "Actions like this help the community and also contribute to the sense of solidarity of family members and employees", says José Sakai, an Albras volunteer. He and 70 other volunteers, company employees and family members, participated in an action in July, at the Vila do Conde Community Center, with several activities, including guidelines for quality of life, health care and revitalization of the sports court.
Throughout 2021, donations benefited 11,400 people in more than 40 communities and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the municipalities of Belém, Barcarena, Abaetetuba, Tomé-Açu, Acará and Paragominas, in Pará, and in Rio of January. “These actions were very important for the moment of pandemic that we experienced last year, due to the increase in social and economic inequalities around the world and, in Brazil, according to a survey carried out with the support of Oxfam Brasil Action Aid, hunger had a growth of 27.6% per year. So, our volunteer program came to minimize the impacts of this scenario on the lives of so many families and we believe that corporate volunteering can contribute to social transformation in the municipalities where we operate”, highlights Eduardo Figueiredo, director of Sustainability & Social Impact at Hydro.
In the Volunteers in Action program, participants dedicate time, skills and resources to develop initiatives aligned with the company's social responsibility strategy and the local needs of the municipalities where Hydro operates. Hydro is also a member of the Brazilian Council of Corporate Volunteering (CBVE), an entity that promotes volunteering inside and outside the country, in addition to being a space for sharing and creating experiences.
Last Thursday, the 25th, the program also received the Aplaude Award — Voluntary Actions that transform 2022, in the Inspira — Pandemic Highlight category, highlighting social impact actions during the covid-19 pandemic. In one of the campaigns, in just two months, items were collected for the production of 894 basic baskets, benefiting more than 5 thousand people. Volunteers also collected products for 2,700 feminine hygiene kits, in addition to contributing to the renovation of community centers and environmental education activities. The Aplaude Award recognized the main actions of corporate volunteering in education, engagement, diversity, legacy, SDGs, highlighting the pandemic, committees that inspire, volunteering in civil society organizations and volunteer program of the year. In all, more than 13 institutions in Pará and Rio de Janeiro benefited.