The UPM Foundation promotes education and entrepreneurship through joint work with social organisations and local representatives in Uruguay. It annually publishes a report presenting its objectives, operations and latest achievements.
“We are seeking to promote the long-term development and growth of these communities in cooperation with local stakeholders in rural areas. Our work is carried out in collaboration with social organisations, public institutions, departmental and national authorities and other social agencies,” says Magdalena Ibanez, Manager of UPM Foundation.
Established in 2006, the foundation’s mission is to bring together local stakeholders, communities and authorities especially in the fields of education and training in the departments where UPM is active.
“In rural Uruguay, some children finish school as early as age 12, which makes it difficult for them to enter professions that require special training. Through the UPM Foundation, we have been able to extend their schooling and thus improve their employment prospects in the future,” says Ibanez.
Thanks to the UPM Foundation’s work, the remote community of Clara, Tacuarembó, saw its first generation of young people complete their secondary education in December 2014. The aim of this public-private educational programme is to provide high-quality post-primary education throughout the region.
The Integrated Programme for Strengthening Rural Schools being implemented in all rural schools in Río Negro completed its second year in 2014. The programme updates traditional approaches to education, promoting more in-depth research and participation among both teachers and pupils.
The construction of a community orchard in the rural school of Queguayar has increased the variety to food with locally produced vegetables. The orchard also serves as an excellent teaching resource, bringing together families and school to work for their town.
“The UPM Foundation sees community development as starting with the advancement of individual and collective capacities, abilities and skills. The actions we carry out always focus on the long-term effect and the well-being of our reference communities,” states Ibanez.
In addition to its numerous projects, the Foundation last year organized open lectures and community workshops with local representatives, presented its operations in a photo exhibition and organised a visit for community leaders at the UPM Fray Bentos mill.
Altogether over 308,000 people have participated in the UPM Foundation programmes in eight departments and more than 90 communities in Uruguay since it was founded.