SIPA offers Capstone Workshops each spring to address real-world problems in Brazil through its pathbreaking Capstone Program. Six to eight students and a faculty advisor undertake a clearly defined project for a partner institution either focused on Brazil or located in Brazil, such as a social enterprise, government agency, non-profit organization, or company. The workshop teams engage in substantive research and analysis, and produce actionable recommendations that will be utilized by the partner organization.

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2020 Capstones

Promoting Sustainable Fashion in Brazil’s Garment Supply

Client: Associação Brasileira do Varejo Têxtil (Brazilian Association of Textile Retailers or ABVTEX)

The Associação Brasileira do Varejo Têxtil (Brazilian Association of Textile Retailers or ABVTEX) was founded in 1999, and represents some of the most important retail chains that sell apparel, footwear, handbags, accessories, as well as home textile goods. The main objective of the project was to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of ABVTEX’s social and labor auditing protocols and processes with the aim of converging on international best practices. The team worked to 1) assess ABVTEX’s social/labor auditing protocols/procedures/guidelines in order to provide feasible recommendations based on global social/labor auditing standards and practices; 2) conduct careful benchmarking of ABVTEX’s current auditing mechanism and performance against international best practices in monitoring and auditing schemes, particularly in the global value and supply chains; and 3) carry out extensive research to identify best practices and the enforcement mechanisms of the labor/social standards in the global supply chain. Lemann Foundation support also allowed the team to translate their report into Portuguese at the client’s request.

Student team: Claudia Baethgen, Aizhan Kamidola, Eleanor Katz, Diana Marcela Rincon Rico, Daria Schitrit, Jiayu Song

Faculty advisor: Scott Martin

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AI-Driven Innovations at the Brazilian Judiciary:

Client: ITS RIO

The objective of the project was for the Capstone team to conduct research and field work at the National Council of Justice (CNJ), a public institution that aims to improve the work of the Brazilian judicial system, in order to assist in the elaboration of strategic plans of recommendations for government adaptation, aiming at the development of artificial intelligence applications in the Brazilian Judiciary. The project included 1) field study on CNJ attributions and possibilities of action in order to improve the work of the Judiciary – the field study took place in the Department of Information and Communication Technology of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), and focused on mechanisms for administrative and procedural control and transparency; 2) literature review on national strategic research for artificial intelligence development; 3) analysis of available Artificial Intelligence tools developed and used by the Brazilian Judiciary; 4) interviews with CNJ members, Public Prosecutor of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal Supreme Court ministers and 5) elaboration of specific recommendations to be followed by the CNJ. The team’s work was recently translated into Portuguese. The study was very well received by the National Council of Justice (CNJ). The CNJ announced that they will continue the study, including other initiatives of AI use that were not listed at the time of the study´s publication. In addition, the study was presented and debated in various seminars organized by the judiciary, and also mentioned in press articles.

Student team: Katie Brehm, Momori Hirabayashi, Clara Langevin, Bernardo Rivera Munozccano, Katsumi Sekizawa, Jiayi Zhu

Faculty advisor: André Corrêa d'Almeida

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2019 capstones

Measuring Digital Transformation in Brazil

Client: Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC)

In this project, the workshop team assisted MCTIC in developing an online dashboard to track progress in implementing Brazil’s national digitalization strategy.  This project supported Brazil’s accession process to join the OECD; therefore, one element of the project was to identify indicators and related data sources that will be comparative with OECD countries.   Thankfully, the project was not affected by the recent change of government – the team’s main contacts at MCTIC were still in place and leading the dashboard initiative.   After conducting extensive comparative research and developing a prototype dashboard, the workshop team traveled to Brazil during SIPA’s March break to meet with relevant officials at MCTIC, as well as other experts in the digital technology space, to get feedback on their initial proposals and to gain a better understanding of the needs and preferences of future users of the dashboard.  The team finalized its proposals and submitted to MCTIC in May 2019.

Student team: Sanjana Gorti, Clarissa Leon, Shandana Sajjad, Damini Satija, Marsha Sneh Monteiro, Priyanka Soni, Lorena Urbina

Faculty advisor: Akbar Noman

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Client: Natura Cosmetics S.A.

Natura Cosmetics, Brazil’s largest cosmetics manufacturer, has a long history of commitment to environmental and social sustainability.  As a founding member of the Union for Bio-Ethical Trade (UEBT), Natura was the first company to have its entire supply chain management practices certified under UEBT standards.  One aspect of the supply chain that has not yet been studied in depth is the “first mile” – the impact on Amazon rainforest communities of participating in Natura’s supply chain by supplying raw and processed natural resources for use in Natura products.  In this project, the workshop team developed and tested an impact assessment methodology that can be used with communities that supply natural resources to Natura.  A member of the team traveled to Brazil over SIPA’s January break to meet with Natura’s sustainability team at its headquarters.  The rest of the team traveled to Brazil over SIPA’s March break to visit several supplier communities and cooperatives, as well as a local network of civil society organizations that engages with Natura.  During the visit, the team conducted interviews, focus groups and a household survey, and visited factories where seeds and fruits are processed into oil for Natura.  Based on this fieldwork, the team submitted its findings as well as a revised set of impact assessment tools to Natura in May 2019.

Student team: Carolina Acosta Gutierrez, Ariana Areti Collas, Aliya Binta Diawara, Hunter Goldman, Hyo Jung (Angie) Kim, Philipp Renner, Frances Schick 

Faculty advisor: Scott Martin 

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