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Valdeci Ferreira and His Franchise of Humane Prisons Win the 2017 Social Entrepreneur Prize

11/07/2017 - 10h04

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ELIANE TRINDADE
Social Entrepreneur Editor
PATRICIA PAMPLONA
FROM SÃO PAULO

The winner of the 13th edition of the Social Entrepreneur Prize, which was awarded on the night of Monday, the 6th, at the Porto Seguro Theater, in São Paulo, is Valdeci Ferreira, 55, a man who has worked in social volunteering for over 30 years.

He is in charge of Fbac, a federation that oversees the so-called Apacs (Association for the Protection and Assistance of the Convicted).

The civil entity is a non-profit whose mission is to disseminate an innovative methodology that helps reinsert prisoners into society by setting out to rehabilitate convicts, protect society, help victims and promote restorative justice.

The award was a form of recognizing the work done by Mr. Ferreira, one among 160 candidates who signed up for this year's Social Entrepreneur Prize - the most prominent prize in Latin America for the field - which is conducted by Folha, and its partner, the Schwab Foundation.

It is estimated that over 33 thousand inmates convicted by Brazil's justice system have gone through the doors of Apacs: humane prison units that have prison guards, but are gun-free. This alternative prison system is currently the home to 3,500 convicts, spread out among the 48 units that exist in Brazil. The method is also being applied in 19 countries.

In 1972, the organization elaborated its own methodology composed of 12 principles, among which are labor, human enhancement, legal help, family, meritocracy and the concept of reciprocal help between rehab students.

The method has a recidivism rate that is somewhere between 20% and 28%. For the sake of comparison, the recidivism rate in Brazil's penitentiary system is 85% - while Apacs cost a third of what an average prison costs.

Mr. Ferreira competed for the main prize against Bernardo Bonjean, 40, who is in charge of Avante, a Fintech company that offers credit at very accessible rates to micro-entrepreneurs who get turned down by banks, and Ronaldo Lemos, 41, who is in charge of the Institute for Technology and Society (ITS), which developed an app called "Mudamos", a tool that stimulates direct democracy by collecting digital signatures for legislation proposed by citizens.

Patrícia Pamplona/Folhapress
Valdeci Ferreira, a man who has worked in social volunteering for over 30 years
Valdeci Ferreira, a man who has worked in social volunteering for over 30 years

PROJECTION

Having been awarded the prize, Mr. Ferreira will now partake in Folha 's Network of Socio-Environmental Entrepreneurs. This Social Entrepreneur of the Year award will also give Mr. Ferreira access to the Schwab Network for Social Entrepreneurship once the finalist is vetted by the foundation.

Mr. Ferreira was chosen by a jury made up of eight specialists with different backgrounds. The jurors were Hilde Schwab, the president of the board of the Schwab Foundation; Maria Cristina Frias, a business columnist at Folha; Renato Janine Ribeiro, a professor at the University of São Paulo and former Education minister for the administration of former president Dilma Rousseff; and Ronaldo Iabrudi, CEO of the Pão de Açúcar Group.

Other jurors included Regina Esteves, the CEO of Comunitas, an organization that stimulates corporate investments with a social outlook; Marilene Ramos, the director of the Energy, Public Administration, Socio-Environmental and Sanitation and Transportation sectors at the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES); Sergio Andrade, the winner of the 2015 Social Entrepreneur Prize, and João Carlos Martins, a pianist and conductor.

The Social Entrepreneur Prize is sponsored by Coca-Cola, IEL, a National Industry Confederation (CNI) initiative, and the Banco do Brasil Foundation. Additionally, the event relies on Latam as its official carrier and the support of the C&A Institute and the Porto Seguro Theater. Its strategic partners are marketing school ESPM, the Dom Cabral Foundation, higher education institute Insper and UOL.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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