Brazil - LafargeHolcim's Na Obra Program for Renovating the Favelas by Training Local Builders


"Na Obra" is a program designed to offer professional qualification courses focused on home improvement needs. The first two courses took place at Rocinha, the largest favela in the country, located in the city of Rio de Janeiro and allowed the participation of women and bricklayers from this community.

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  • Upgrading slums
  • Developing sustainable houses for low income people
  • Enhancing the skills of local builders
  • Creating job opportunities for the low income communities of Brazilian favelas
  • Ensuring women’s empowerment



In Brazil, millions of people live in favelas. Living conditions are difficult: built by unskilled labor without technical assistance and excluded from public interventions and building regulations governing the formal city, these homes suffer from ventilation, light and sanitary problems.

LafargeHolcim Brazil, in partnership with SEBRAE - an important player in the entrepreneur market in Brazil - and Inova Urbis - a local social organization – has offered qualifications courses in professional workmanship bricklaying in the Rocinha favela. With its 100,000 inhabitants, Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil and in all of South America. It is also a veritable "city within the city" with its 30,000 homes on a hillside at the heights of Rio.

LafargeHolcim « Na Obra » program enables low income people to improve their homes and increase their life quality by improving comfort, health conditions and safety. This LafargeHolcim initiative has been organized as a support activity to LafargeHolcim’s Affordable Housing program.

The three principles of LafargeHolcim Affordable Housing program in Brazil:

  • Enabling access to housing microcredits for the low income people: LafargeHolcim is working to support the microfinance institute in Brazil to set up a fund and start a new operation for a housing microcredit program. As part of LafargeHolcim’s value proposition for the final customers, LafargeHolcim has developed a technical assistance service using software focused on bill of quantities and budget.
  • Providing training to local masons: LafargeHolcim provides labor training in partnership with NGOs, Brazilian public agencies and universities, to help the people from local communities improve their construction skills or start a new business.
  • Developing a package of standard solutions for home improvement, adjusted to various criteria including the degree of renovation needed for the home concerned and the investment capacity of its inhabitants.



The first course of « Na Obra » program has gathered 27 applicants, from which 25 were selected, including 24 women and 1 man. There was no limit on the participants’ age which ranged from 18 to 70 years old, contributing to the group’s dynamics.

Six months after the end of the course, from the 25 graduates, three were employed as a workmanship bricklayer and 15 had done renovations in their own houses (families or friends included) using knowledge from the course. 

The second course had 23 applicants, from which 21 were selected, including 20 men, all of whom had previous experience in the civil construction market.