Brazil today became the first country to adopt the International Labour Organization (ILO) Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work since its official release on March 23, 2011. This comes on the heels of a successful pilot test of the survey module embodied in this Manual by IBGE statisticians.
The formal announcement of Brazil’s intention to implement this Manual was made by Eduardo Nunes, President of Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), during a meeting with Center for Civil Society Studies Director Dr. Lester M. Salamon.
The IBGE-Johns Hopkins meeting came at the culmination of a five-year cooperative project between the Center, the United Nations Volunteer Programme, and IBGE aimed at putting the civil society sector and volunteering on the economic map of Brazil. It was preceded by a seminar in São Paulo during which Dr. Salamon presented the results of a pilot “satellite account” on Brazil’s nonprofit institutions that was a major output of this project. This report was produced in cooperation with Ms. Neide Beres, who served as a United Nations Volunteer at IBGE as part of this joint Johns Hopkins-UN Volunteers-IBGE Project. It revealed, among other things, that the value added to the Brazilian gross domestic product by Brazil’s nonprofit organizations is roughly equivalent to that of the entire Brazilian transportation industry.
With the completion of this pilot “satellite account” on nonprofit institutions and the adoption of the ILO Manual, Brazil has put itself firmly in a leadership position among countries in bringing its nonprofit sector into more effective view in its economic statistics. “Volunteer work is a crucial renewable resource for social and environmental problem-solving, and nonprofit organizations are both crucial employers and crucial motivators of volunteer effort,” noted Dr. Salamon at the announcement of IBGE’s decision. “Brazil is one of the first countries to recognize the power that improved information can provide in boosting the crucial contribution that nonprofit organizations and the volunteer effort they help to mobilize make to the quality of Brazilian life, and the important promise they hold for Brazil’s future.”
Taking part in the meeting in Rio in addition to Dr. Salamon and President Nunes of IBGE were the deputy director of IBGE, senior IBGE national accounts and household survey staff, and a representative of GIFE, the Group of Institutes, Foundations, and Enterprise in Brazil. Representatives of ABONG, the Association of Brazilian Nongovernmental Organizations, were also represented through a letter of support of IBGE’s decision from the ABONG Board.
Other outcomes of the meeting included an agreement from IBGE to be identified as a cooperative agent in the production of the pilot Brazilian satellite account report, and an agreement to put in place a process to regularize the production of NPI satellite accounts into the future, beginning with the establishment of a technical working group involving the Center and Brazilian experts to work with IBGE on the conceptual aspects of the NPI satellite account.