International Advocacy Programme (IAP) project in Brazil

IFLA supported an International Advocacy Programme (IAP) project in Brazil in 2017. After the project finished, we interviewed the Project Team and asked them a few key questions about their project. This is their amazing story!

What were your goals?

We, as FEBAB – Federação Brasileira de Associações de Bibliotecários (the Brazilian library association) and Instituto de Políticas Relacionais, had two main goals starting this project: to mobilise influential and prominent professionals to form a National Committee for advocacy for libraries and to disseminate the UN 2030 Agenda among library professionals, through documents that could be used locally within their communities. Initially we planned on reaching 40 people in each workshop and 100 online, but ended up surpassing that goal by getting to 4,474 people. That was possible due to our work with participatory methodology and in networks.

How did you plan to make this happen?

Since Portuguese is not an IFLA official language, FEBAB had already translated the Access and Opportunity for All booklet produced by IFLA. We distributed the Brazilian version of that document through the year in different meetings in several cities and online.

How did it work?

From May to December, we traveled through Brazil (a very big country as you know) taking part in and organizing meetings big and small to discuss the 2030 Agenda and promote awareness activities with librarians regarding their part on the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We attended over 20 meetings in State capitals’, in the interior of Pará – where Tô na Rede project was working – and at the 27th Brazilian Congress of Library Science, Documentation and Information Science – for which we were warming up all year long. These meetings allowed us to discuss the content of the Agenda and the material, as well as answer questions, and encourage the debate and the online dissemination of the advocacy project by the professionals.

How did you use communications during the project?

Relacionais and FEBAB work in direct association with the national and state Public Libraries Systems, therefore we were always in contact with leaderships in each of the cities we visited. We also rely on the network created by Relacionais’ Tô na Rede programme that gathers librarians from various places. With that in mind, we announced the publication of the booklet and the warm up meetings and kept the conversation going through groups, online social networks (relacionais, FEBAB) and our own websites (relacionais, FEBAB, Tô na Rede).

What did you learn in the process?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve one of our original goals: gathering a national committee in the name of advocacy for libraries and the UN 2030 Agenda. Knowledge about the goals was very scant before we started and, after performing all the awareness actions, we realised that perhaps we will be successful in forming the committee in 2018, when our partners are a better familiarised with the Agenda and can see it closer to their priorities. We also must take into consideration the complicated social, political and economic context our country is facing now.

What are your next steps?

In our analysis, it is clear that, moving forward, we need to work on the development of political skills among professionals and even among institutions that somehow deal with libraries in different settings. The advocacy for libraries and the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda is an ongoing effort for us: where we must always improve and keep going. Relacionais is in constant contact with the networks of library professionals formed during Tô na Rede project and is always discussing and promoting debates regarding the UN 2030 Agenda. And FEBAB is currently developing a national survey that relates to the UN Sustainable Goals.