The course is built around a specially produced soap opera – “El Gran Salto” or The Big Leap – that tells the story of an entrepreneur called Vicky who starts her own business. A typical course runs for two to three hours, during which students watch episodes of the soap opera while being coached on business management and personal development.

The program is on track to meet its initial target to improve the business capability of 100,000 women in three years.

Belo Horizonte City Council

The City Council of Belo Horizonte in Brazil is spearheading the first public private partnership in the country’s education sector in collaboration with IFC and the Brazilian Development Bank. Under a concession awarded last year, a private contractor will build 37 state nursery and primary schools by 2014 -- creating places for 20,000 students, particularly in low-income communities.

The concession includes operation and maintenance of the schools for the next 20 years, which puts the onus on the building company to ensure that high-quality, durable materials are used.

This and other efficiencies not normally generated by public sector operators means that schools can concentrate on teaching their students, thus boosting the quality of education in the city.

Fundación Calicanto

Fundación Calicanto, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the historic and human heritage of Panama City’s Casco Antiguo (or old town), has created CAPTA, a program that provides the area’s many unemployed and underprivileged women with vocational training for entry-level jobs in the hotel and tourism industry, as well as entrepreneurial skills training for self-employment.

A five-week course in personal and psychological development is followed by a two-week hotel internship, assistance with resume preparation, and job placement. The goal is not only to help women find jobs, but also to give them the inspiration and self-esteem they need to bring their families out of poverty.

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