Lázaro Cunha


This profile was prepared when Lázaro Cunha was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
While the Afro-descendant black population has made some progress in the educational system in Brazil, they have not made the strides hoped, particularly into the important and promising field of science and technology. As an activist of the black movement, engineer, and member of the Steve Biko Foundation, Lázaro understands that because racial differences are due to systemic problems, injecting them into the area of science and technology creates still more complexity.

To effectively include blacks in this promising field, Lázaro constructed the Program for the Promotion of Science Oguntec for Afro-descendants. It includes a political education proposal for popularizing science that takes in consideration the low self-esteem and the low educational levels among this population. One of the central points of Oguntec is the educational methodology for the youth of the program and schools and communities of the neighborhood, in which the scientific content as well as its experimentation, has Afro references that disprove stereotypes about blacks capacity to work in these fields.

In addition to educational work, Lázaro is active in the field of state and national public policymaking in the areas of education, and science and technology. Through partnerships with State Secretaries of Bahia and with a proposal to take the methodology of Oguntec to all public schools, he is putting the popularization of science as well as attention to the question of race, on the agenda. Within the Black movement, his signatory idea is to impel this population to catch sight of future tendencies and to update their demands with proposals of science and technology.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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