Learning for Civic Action Challenge

Selected

Politize!

Developing a generation of citizens who are aware and committed to democracy, bringing civic education to anyone, anywhere.

Team Lead

Gabriel Marmentini

Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Politize!

What is the name of your solution?

Politize!

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Develop a generation of citizens who are aware and committed to democracy, bringing civic education to anyone, anywhere.

What specific problem are you solving?

Despite being the system that best combines personal dignity with social gains, democracy is in crisis. Since 2006, the level of civil and political freedoms has declined year after year around the world, including in established democracies. In the meantime, several countries ceased to be liberal democracies. In most of them, without a military coup or use of armed force being necessary.

 

While in the second half of the last century formal democracy expanded across the entire planet, at the beginning of this century we are realizing more than ever that holding elections and designing formal institutions is not enough. It is necessary to strengthen the spirit of democracy – values, beliefs and capabilities that guarantee that a society remains committed to democratic principles.

Brazilian democracy is in crisis. We are the 4th largest democracy in the world (in terms of population), with more than three uninterrupted decades of democratic rule. In aspects such as the electoral system, party plurality and civil liberties, we have made great progress. However, when we look at aspects related to the informal side of democracy - such as culture and political participation - some data raise concern:

  • 79% of Brazilians are not satisfied with democracy (Latinobarômetro, 2021, p. 39);

  • 36% of Brazilians believe that it doesn't matter whether they live in a democracy or not - 4th worst result in Latin America (Ibid., p. 25);

  • 11% of Brazilians say that, in some circumstances, an authoritarian government may be preferable to a democratic one (Ibid., p 27);

  • 4% of Brazilians no longer believe that democracy is the best system of government (Datafolha, 2020);

  • 80% of young people aged between 16 and 34 believe that political debate is aggressive and intolerant (IPEC, 2021).

We have realized that more than ever that holding elections and designing formal institutions is not enough. It is necessary to strengthen the spirit of democracy – values, beliefs and capabilities that guarantee that a society remains committed to democratic principles.

What is your solution?

Politize! - Civic Education Institute is a civil society organization founded in 2015, with the mission of developing a generation of citizens who are aware and committed to democracy, bringing political education to anyone, anywhere; as long as Brazil is not a full democracy, Politize!’s work won’t be over. We propose to promote civic education for millions of people on and off the internet, bringing experiences that reframe citizenship through accessible, plural and practical learning. To do that, we are the only Brazilian NGO that promotes active citizenship in these ways: 

  • Content: Today, 70% of Brazilians have access to the Internet, by producing didactic content, with easy language and free of charge on the Internet, we managed to reach a large part of this population. Therefore, trough our portal of content and social media, we digest the policy and deliver it in an accessible format through different channels, suited to the busy lifestyle of the hyperconnected citizen, promoting good examples and dialogue between different people; 

  • Leadership training: Through our network of Ambassadors, we are a hotbed for training new citizen leaders, giving the first "push" to young people with potential and interest; we develop activities to train citizen leaders capable of solving public problems and recognizing themselves as protagonists in their cities, transforming Brazilian democracy from their territories. Our training goes through political knowledge, plural dialogue, citizen empathy and community leadership, always with respect for the plurality of ideas, beliefs and opinions. We work for citizens to participate in proposing solutions, appearing in political decision-making spaces and assuming leadership roles in governments, institutions and organizations with an impact on public policies. The Public Policy Canvas is another technology developed by Politize! - based on the cycle of public policies - which aims to help civil society organizations, government actors, students and community leaders to think about public problems and develop solutions for their communities in conjunction with other sectors. Canvas was developed based on the multicentric view of public policy theory, in which non-governmental actors are also protagonists in public problem solutions and decision-making in cities.

  • Education: Through the School of Active Citizenship! program, we include citizenship education in schools' curricula and offer instruments that allow students to learn and awaken an interest for life.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

 More than 87 million users have already accessed our more than 3000 educational contents and more than 264 thousand people follow us on social media. Our training in citizenship trained 2,505 in 5 years that impacted more than 155,000 people in training and citizen engagement activities in more than 200 cities and 26 states and the Federal District. Cooperation agreements established with 8 State Departments of Education, and to support teachers, we are developing didactic and continuing education materials that benefited 2547 teachers and 73,086 students in a program called Escola da Cidadania Ativa!. Here it is worth mentioning 3 beneficiaries of our programs. First, in our Content core, we have volunteer writers who give us feedback on how it influences their professional and personal journeys. This is the testimony of Ian Ribeiro from Cuiabá/MT: "My experience as a Politize Editor! enabled me to go beyond the development of research and writing skills at Politize! I can address extremely important topics on a national scale while helping to democratize the access to quality information. It is a very important job mainly because it deals with necessary themes while using a language that is accessible to everyone". In the case of the Leadership Training center, we have the case of Ambassador Luma Menezes from Alagoinhas/BA: “A Politize! opened doors for me. Today I am part of RenovaBR. I had the opportunity to join Vector Brasil and worked as a public management trainee at the education department. Today I am the youngest councilor elected from Alagoinhas in 2020 and I am sure that all these opportunities I got were through Politize!”. And in the Basic Education core, we have the testimony of Carolaine Bispo Tomé da Luz, a student in SP: “I rate the experience of taking a Politize elective as fantastic, the learning experience was great. The influence of the elective in my life was positive because with the experience I had in the elective, I learned things that I had never stopped to think about and reflect on before.”. And from the point of view of those who teach, we have the testimony of Professor Catharina de Oliveira Corcoll from E.E. Mauro de Oliveira: “The work carried out at the School in partnership with Politize!, from the first moment, proved to be challenging, mainly because we are away from school and working remotely. The proposed activities made it possible to reflect on social and political issues. The idea of citizenship was present throughout the process, leading the students to question the internalized conceptions for a more responsible citizenship, enhancing the student's intervention in social issues. In the process, the students became aware that a good relationship between the members of a society is only possible from the moment that everyone gets involved with the community's problems and seeks their rights and duties. In this context, the help of the school environment facilitated the creation of links with the community and the individual's context.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Politize! is an organization made by young people for young people, and we try to reflect our beneficiaries and Brazilian society in general in our staff team as a way to connect to the issues and deliver the solutions more effectively. It's Politize!'s priority to ensure that all audiences have equal access to and benefit from our actions, since 2021 we have had an Organizational Diversity Committee, a group of people from the institution to help build the vision of how Politize! sees diversity in each line of impact.  Our organization today has an executive team of 48 people, made up of 20 people who declare themselves white, 20 black, 2 brown and 1 east asian. With regard to gender identity, there are 31 women and 17 men. With regard to sexual orientation, 26 people claimed to be heterosexual, 13 bisexual and 6 homosexual. We have employees born between 1987 and 2002 to contribute to this scenario, since we are part of the problem. This has been a constant maturing in recent years and we have had more structure to be able to debate more about it and implement real diversity in the organization.
The most expressive marginalized groups in Brazil are people experiencing economic insecurity, LGBTQIAP+, racialized people, people with disabilities, elderly and young people. Even though they are on the margins of society, these groups have a large population expressiveness, black people today correspond to practically half of the country's population and 19 million people have declared themselves LGBTQIAP+. Today, 70% of Brazilians have access to the Internet, by producing didactic content, with easy language and free of charge on the Internet, we managed to reach a large part of this population. The enrollment targets for our volunteer and training networks are based on the real proportions of Brazilian society, that is, we seek that our beneficiaries are a real portrait of our society, for this year they are: 51.8% women; 6.70% PDCs; 56.88% of people of color; 30% LGBTQIAP+. 

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide access to improved civic action learning in a wide range of contexts: with educator support for classroom-based approaches, and community-building opportunities for out of school, community-based approaches.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Florianópolis - SC

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Brazil

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is focused on increased efficiency

How many people does your solution currently serve?

87.233.138

Why are you applying to Solve?

Created in 2015, Politize! is an organization made by young people for young people. Most Brazilian NGOs do not survive more than two years, we are very proud to complete 8 in the best organizational stage ever seen. Legally, politically and culturally we are in a stable scenario, with defined rules and practices and built materials and with a good level of transparency. We have no pending matters with the law, a faithful and well-structured network of followers and volunteers. Financially and institutionally, we are in a context of accelerated growth in terms of projects, from 2018 to 2023 we left a purely online organization to work in communities and public education networks in 8 Brazilian states. For this reason, we identified that we are going through some “growing pains” when trying to understand what are the best paths, how to measure impact more efficiently and generate more impact, if it is preferable to slow down and stabilize ourselves in the ecosystem. That is, we are in a moment of self-reflection, thinking about the future in a more critical way, where we want to be in a decade, what funding model should we follow, this is where the Solve team comes in, we need help to see any blindspot to remedy these growing pains and having a turning point of stabilization.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Gabriel Marmentini

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our ability to produce and deliver content in an accessible language to millions of people makes us unique. Over 8 years, we have created and published more than 3,000 educational contents - including texts, infographics, videos, podcasts, ebooks and courses - in an accessible, didactic format and with respect for plurality. At the same time, more than 87 million users accessed this content on our portal, generating more than 990 years of total learning time on our platforms. Our team has professionals qualified in content creation, graphic design, audiovisual production, social media strategies and user engagement. In addition, the audiovisual channels of Politize! (videos, podcasts and social media) have more than 264 thousand followers in all. There are more than 500 videos published on our YouTube channel, with more than 9 million views. In addition, Politize! has a unique way of forming and articulating networks of volunteers. Over 6 years, we have already mobilized more than 426 volunteer writers and content partners, who have developed more than 1580 pieces of content with us. In addition, in just 3 years we trained and engaged 1,742 Multipliers, distributed over 231 municipalities in 26 states and the Federal District, who carried out more than 7,000 workshops, courses, canvases and other political education activities in their communities, directly reaching more than of 136 thousand people. Here we have our own social technology, the Public Policy Canvas, a tool developed by Politize! - based on the cycle of public policies - which aims to help civil society organizations, government actors, students and community leaders to think about public problems and develop solutions for their communities in conjunction with other sectors. Canvas was developed based on the multicentric view of public policy theory, in which non-governmental actors are also protagonists in public problem solutions and decision-making in cities. Along with this, our experience and authority in the area of education makes us the only Brazilian NGO to promote active citizenship in the community sphere, in public education and on the Internet. Since we started the School of Active Citizenship! project, we have included citizenship education in school curricula and offered tools that allow students to learn and awaken an interest for life. Cooperation agreements established with 8 State Departments of Education (AM, RR, AC, BA, SE, SP, DF and MT), and to support teachers, we are developing didactic and continuing education materials that benefited 2547 teachers and 73,086 students.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

In the short term, Politize! has the following annual goals: we intend to reach 10.2 million views of our products on the internet, gain 84,000 new subscribers on Youtube and 4,410,014,000 new views on our website, with 273 new contents published, and build a new podcast channel, expanding our reach. In the area of civic education in schools, we will train 53,000 teachers capable of developing students to exercise active citizenship, with the objective of exploring the different concepts of democratic culture, increasing the reach of the program to 10 brazilian states and training 86,000 students to exercise citizenship through our pedagogical material. In addition, guaranteeing 84 active embassies with 189 projects carried out and 426 young people trained in an educational journey for citizenship, these results impacted 30,000 people through 2,000 workshops.

In the long term, we aim to internationalize Politize!, that is, to produce content and implement our training in other countries, starting with LATAM countries due to historical, social and linguistic similarities. Along with internationalization, we want to create an international network focused on organizations that work with political education. We also plan a high investment in monitoring and evaluation, financing a Social Return on Investment project. We plan to consolidate ourselves as the main national reference in political literacy, resuming high levels of growth and with the development of innovative projects focused on games, applications and the use of AI to facilitate learning. Finally, Politize! plans to become a philanthropic endowment from a minimum reserve fund to fund individuals and other smaller organizations promoting political education and defending democracy.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 4. Quality Education
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

As an organization, we use the Theory of Change tool to be able to map the indicators that will measure the impact of our projects or programs. Therefore, the ToC itself contributes to the solution of the public problem that the organization acts on. To reach our ultimate impact goal, that is to increase the level of citizens participation and political culture. To measure we use quantitative and qualitative methods, such as qualitative methods, we measure through reports, attendance lists, questionnaires, the number of participants in workshops, numbers of schools, students and teachers. As qualitative indicators we can mention: Contribution level in political culture; Contribution level in political participation; Contribution level in political literacy; Contribution level in citizens leaders training; Contribution level in generate value for society; Contribution level in citizen participation.

What is your theory of change?

From what was mapped and summarized, that is, the paths of education for formal and non-formal citizenship and the quality of democracy, our Theory of Change addresses a challenge that we aim to act on. Taking each axis of impact, as mentioned before, here is how they act in favor of achieving our mission:

Content: The more content partners generate more and better content published on our channels. More and better content reaches more people, including professors, students, ambassadors and multipliers. The more accessible and democratic content, the more people are aware of democracy.
Leadership training: More trained and engaged multipliers will carry out more political education workshops; more workshops held will result in more trained people, the ambassadors. More trained and engaged ambassadors/embassies will undertake more in-depth political education activities. The more activities of multipliers and ambassadors, the more people are aware of democracy.
Education: More engaged education networks will result in more engaged schools - i.e., adopting our projects. More engaged schools will result in more qualified teachers and students. More teachers offering our solutions will result in more students learning about citizenship effectively. The more people in contact with material about citizenship, the more people are aware of democracy.
From these activities, the following outcomes are expected: 
People who went through a learning experience with us - whether consuming content, participating in courses, or attending an elective - will acquire awareness and become, over time, active citizens, expanding their commitment to democratic values (culture) , their political participation and turnout.
Some citizens decide to pursue a career in public leadership - whether as representatives, public managers or activists. Furthermore, those who do not follow a public career will make better choices as voters. Therefore, they will be citizens more committed to democracy.
Citizen leaders inspire and educate their leaders, demonstrating democratic values, promoting more open mandates and more transparent management. More leaders exercising leadership will result in laws and governments that promote democratic values and freedoms = increased participation and political culture.

In this link you can access a more detailed explanation: https://drive.google.com/file/... 

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Poltize!'s core technology is, in fact, taking a step back and using existing technologies in order to reach our mission, which is to develop a generation of citizens who are aware and committed to democracy, bringing civic education to anyone, anywhere. The Politize! methodology is our great social technology, and is based on four main pillars: knowledge, plurality, empathy and protagonism.

Politics is the main means to bring about changes in society. Knowledge, in turn, is the key that opens the door to politics. Without it, that door will always be closed, inaccessible. And the more it is disseminated, the more people will be able to participate in politics on an equal footing, making society fairer and able to offer opportunities to all. There is no fairer society when all parties are not represented and respected. Therefore, we value the plurality of ideas, beliefs and positions and diverse participation, avoiding a policy that is made by few and for few, incapable of considering the complexity of life in society. Without it, we are left with unique truths, incomplete ideas and bad politics, made by the few and for the few, incapable of considering the complexity of life in society. Empathy makes plurality worthwhile. It is not enough to put everyone in the "game" of politics, but to play it in such a way as to consider the interests of the other players, even when they conflict. Harmonizing them requires more than just overlapping them, it is necessary to put yourself in the place of the other(s), to consider the legitimacy of thinking differently. Protagonism makes knowledge worthwhile. Good politics is done when everyone is present, with mutual respect for differences of interest and conviction. A population empowered to be the protagonist of its condition as a citizen contributes to shaping its reality and makes politics a democratic environment.

Within that, we created a series of active methodologies that bring political education to thousands of people through online content, through community training and through basic public education. An important point to mention is the creation of the Public Policy Canvas. According to Secchi (2013), public problems are situations of excess or lack in society. A good part of these problems are complex to solve, often requiring a set of guidelines and actions that involve different actors in society to solve them - these are the well-known public policies. Most of the time, public policies are considered the exclusive responsibility of the public power, more specifically the Executive Power. However, according to the multicentric approach to public policies, it is admissible that society, in its broadest form, can act with the creation and implementation of public policies, thus solving the most diverse public problems. In this way, there is a need to bring the concept, action and implementation of public policies closer to the population. Based on this pain, and also an opportunity, the Public Policy Canvas is a tool that makes a way for each person to analyze their community, encouraging them to develop solutions for the public problems around them. Through 13 steps, we encourage citizens to think about their present and the future, understand their political context, list and prioritize causes for the problems in their reality and develop ways of solving and implementing the public policy proposal. In this way, we show how complex problems can have practical solutions.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Brazil
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

Full time: 43 Part time: 5

How long have you been working on your solution?

Politize! was created in 2015 merely as a website to produce content about political issues, trying to educate people on civic matters. In 2018, we extended our actions to communities with the Leadership Training Program, and in 2020 we started working with Brazilian public schools.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Brazil comprises several marginalized groups who face economic insecurity, LGBTQIAP+ individuals, racialized communities, people with disabilities, the elderly, and the youth. Despite their marginalized status, these groups represent a substantial portion of the population. For instance, black people make up nearly half of the country's population, and approximately 19 million individuals identify as LGBTQIAP+. At Politize!, our utmost priority is to ensure that all segments of society have equal access to and benefit from our initiatives. To achieve this, we established an Organizational Diversity Committee in 2021, composed of individuals within our institution who contribute to shaping our vision of diversity across all aspects of our work.

With 70% of Brazilians now having internet access, we have leveraged the power of online platforms to reach a significant portion of the population. Our strategy involves producing educational content in a user-friendly format and offering it free of charge on the internet. By adhering to this approach, we have successfully engaged a large portion of the population. In our volunteer and training networks, we strive to reflect the true proportions of Brazilian society among our beneficiaries. For the current year, our enrollment targets are as follows: 51.8% women, 6.70% people with disabilities, 56.88% people of color, and 30% LGBTQIAP+ individuals.

Politize! is an organization created by young people for young people, recognizing the historical exclusion of this group from political decision-making in Brazil. Therefore, 55% of our network members are between the ages of 16 and 24. Operating within a network is deeply ingrained in our DNA, as it greatly contributes to achieving these outcomes. We collaborate with various networks, both nationally and internationally, such as Democracy Moves, People Powered, CIVICUS, SDSN (international network), the International Youth Day Council (IYD Brasil), the Decidadania program, the Sismic Practice initiative (Votorantim Institute and Sivis Institute), the Collaborative Advocacy Network (RAC), the Pact for Democracy, AMBEV VOA, the National ODS Movement - Santa Catarina, and SimbiOsc.

However, there is still room for improvement. For instance, we recognize the need to engage with the most isolated communities, including riverside communities and indigenous populations. To address this, we are actively seeking partnerships to expand our reach and impact.

Solution Team

 
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