Programa Vivenda

Programa Vivenda

São Paulo, BrazilSão Paulo, Brazil
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Programa Vivenda is a social business that aims to improve the quality of life of low-income population through the implementation of renovations with low complexity and high social impact. Our focus is eliminate the main housing pathologies that most impact the health of the dwellers.​

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could promote a healthy house for a low-income family in just five days?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Housing is one of the most critical social problem we have now a days. According to UN-Habitat, in 2030, 40% off the global population will live in inadequate homes, and 25% won’t have a place to live. In Brasil, and many other part of the word, more than building, the biggest challenge is to improve homes, making them healthy. Inadequate houses, without sanitation or ventilation, directly impact the health of the population.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The four key points that shall be considered regarding housing solutions are: labor, material, credit, and technical assistance. Programa Vivenda has built an innovative social business model that integrates these four aspects, making it accessible to the low-income population to carry out fast (5 days) and efficient housing improvements. Through commercial partnerships with industry, we acquired quality materials at competitive prices. In addition, we qualify the local workforce and formally hire them to work in their neighborhood, along with the team's architects. At last, the service can be paid up to 15 installments.


UNDP - Growing Inclusive Markets - Case selected for the brazillian report; Folha de São Paulo and Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award (Finalist. Waiting for the final decision); Ashoka Fellow; BMW Foundation Responsible Leader
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ana has 2 children, is head of the family, has an informal job, and lives in a slum in São Paulo. Her home has only 3 rooms, all with high humidity and poor ventilation. Given the sanitation system and the precarious floor, insects and pathogens proliferate, leaving the children sick. Ana would like to renovate her bathroom, but couldn't get credit in the banks, had no experience with construction, didn't know what materials to buy, and had been deceived by masons who disappeared with her money and abandoned the work. After hiring Programa Vivenda, Ana just discussed and approved her project and budget with an architect, and five days later had her bathroom renovated! All with guarantee and monthly installments that fit in her pocket!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

So far we have already done 174 renovations, directly impacting about 600 people . Our goal is to consolidate the operational model of our pilot community office by the end of 2016, and from 2017 start to scale. Each office has the capacity to carry out 480 reforms per year, and our goal is to reach 12 offices in 2020, in an organic way . In addition to the quantitative indicators, we are also structuring with some universities qualitative indicators of improvement in health and quality of life of dwellers. What we have today are only evidences and reports of improvements, indicating decline in hospitalization for diarrhea or respiratory diseases, more baths (and happy bath!) taken, more people interested on buying cleaning products to live the new home with a great smell, and etc.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

By 2020 we aim to grow organically. From there, we will structure a more aggressive expansion model based on social franchises undertaken by local actors, from the slums . At first, our plan is to scale in Brazil, but we already have some partner industries such as Intercement, who has also signaled an expansion plan to other markets in which they are leaders, such as the Mozambique (in the case of Intercement).

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

As a social business, Programa Vivenda is premised on maintaining a financially sustainable operation without dependence on grants. We are still in the investment phase, improving the operation to reach the level of scale necessary to achieve the break-even of a local office (40 reforms / month). Today we carry out 20 reforms/month in our pilot office.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In general , existing initiatives in the field of housing for low-income population tend to focus primarily on building new units, not on the improvement of existing ones. Considering those who operate with improvement, most are composed of nonprofit organizations, without a vision of scale. Programa Vivenda differs from these organizations mainly for its market approach (social business) with hybrid value chain vision (commercial partnership with industries); and for offering a complete, and not partial, solution (credit, technical assistance , labor and materials).

Founding Story

Programa Vivenda was born in the context of a slum upgrading program in São Paulo. Despite the large amount of investments made ​​in the region, we noticed that all the effort was focused primarily on public areas such as streets and squares, and after the intervention, families were still living in the same inadequate housing conditions as they were before. At that moment we noticed that the housing improvement was not neither a focus on the government side, nor on the builder or local NGOs. This way, we decided to create Programa Vivenda as a scalable solution, able to meet this housing problem, which in Brazil is twice greater than the need to build new housing.


The three Programa Vivenda's partners congregate complementary profiles for the evolution of the organization: Fernando has a degree and a Master in business administration, and has more than 10 years of experience in managing socio-environmental projects with inter-sectorial approach. His role in Programa Vivenda is the management and institutional relationships with external partners. Marcelo has a degree and a Master in social history, and has more than 10 years of experience in technical-social work in Slum Upgrading Programs. He is responsible for sales and for relationship with the Programa Vivenda's customers. Igiano also has experience of over a decade in Slum Upgrading Programs, having worked for government and business organizations. He is architect, and responsible for the reforms made by Programa Vivenda. In total, Programa Vivenda's team has 15 members, including the 3 partners, architects, sales and service team, and workmanship team. All of them are full-time basis, unless the two architects, who work part time.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

By Ashoka

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I have devoted my entire professional career to undertake social organizations:
- In high school, at age of 15, I founded the Student Union, and was its first president.
- Already in college, I was one of the founders of an adult literacy program (Alfa -USP) at University of São Paulo, which grew to more than 10 literacy classes, serving more than 500 people .
- In the second year of college I founded a consulting firm in socio-environmental projects (Giral Viveiro de Projetos), which now has more than 10 years, having worked on development projects of great importance with multinational companies, governments, NGOs, and multilateral agencies.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Our network of current partners involves:
- Artemisia Social Business: Brazilian reference in social business sector, is an investor and supporter of Programa Vivenda since its beginning.
- Din4mo: Consulting firm specialized in business development; investor and supporter in the quality of management and governance of Programa Vivenda.
- Via Varejo Foundation: Major retailer in Brazil, through its foundation supports Programa Vivenda's specific projects.
- Vedacit: Market leader in high-tech products for civil construction, is commercial partner of Programa Vivenda.
- Intercement: Brazilian multinational company, vice leader in the national cement market, and commercial partner of Programa Vivenda.
- DPZ&T: One of the country's largest communication agencies, is responsible for the communications plans of Programa Vivenda (pro bono).
- Brazil Foundation: Foundation that supports Programa Vivenda's specific projects.
- Azzi Institute: Philanthropic Institute that subsidizes reforms to our customers in the most vulnerable situation.