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PILLARS in Brazil

The PILLARS (Partnership In Local Language Resources) guides encourage learning from people’s own culture. They share information in a way that encourages awareness of local problems and possible solutions to resolve these 

2004 Available in Portuguese, Spanish, English and French

Photo: Isabel Carter/Tearfund

From: Facilitation skills – Footsteps 60

How to facilitate participatory learning effectively

by Rossanna Virgínia Moreira.

The PILLARS (Partnership In Local LAnguage ResourceS) guides encourage learning from people’s own culture. They share information in a way that encourages awareness of local problems and possible solutions to resolve these. The PILLARS process uses small teams working together to translate the guides into their own language. The guides include discussion of social issues and the Christian faith. They bring together people who long to make a difference to peoples’ lives. This work brings life, dignity, self-confidence and value to the local culture.

We think of Tearfund as a flower in the desert! They support integral development as a way of reducing poverty. Tearfund’s investment in PILLARS values local people and their knowledge, rather than investing in land or buildings. It is a way of raising peoples’ awareness of their needs so that they can fight and succeed in reaching their goals.

Once staff members of CEM, the Evangelical Missionary Centre, under-stood the purpose of PILLARS, we resolved to invest in this idea. CEM is an interdenominational, non profit-making organisation. We work with needy children and adolescents and their families, helping to rebuild family and other relationships. We offer physical, social and psychological support in the North East Region of Brazil.

Staff from the CEM Project participated in two PILLARS training workshops. Here we learnt more about the technique of adapting materials for the local situation. We plan to work with community leaders to learn more about their understanding of the local problems. We plan to use PILLARS guides during meetings, seeking possible solutions and exploring new issues to do with local situations that need to be worked on. We hope to develop new guides or to translate other guides for our situation. We plan to use the Healthy eating guide as a short course with women. We also include the Bible studies from PILLARS in our work at CEM.

PILLARS values people and their capacity for problem solving. We feel this is very important. It means that people who are unable to read and write can still participate on issues that relate to their everyday life. Only one person who is literate is needed to organise and use the information in the guide. We pray that the use of PILLARS around the world will become better established, with other new people also investing in this idea.

Rossanna Virgínia Moreira works with CEM (Centro Evangélico Missionário) in Christian-based community development. CEM, Rua Presidente João Pessoa, 117 Centro 58230 000, Cacimba de Dentro, PB, Brazil.

Brazil update

Two books in Portuguese were adapted for the Brazilian situation – Healthy eating and Preparing for disaster. New illustrations were selected. The books are now printed and available from: Ultimato, Caixa Postal 43, Viçosa - MG, CEP 36570-000, Brazil E-mail: [email protected]

Work is ongoing to produce PILLARS guides in the Guarani, Kaingana, Terena, Bakairi and Caiua languages in Brazil. 


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