Partner of the Recode NGO, the Municipal Library Argentina Lopes Tristão, in Domingos Martins, Espírito Santo, won an international award for public and community libraries that strengthen the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs/Agenda 2030). Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the EIFL Innovation Award also awarded a library in Lithuania and another in the Philippines.

The achievement is the result of a work that united women’s empowerment, the use of technology as a therapeutic resource and youth protagonism. “We developed a computer course for women who were struggling with depression. The classes served as a therapeutic resource and contributed greatly to improving the self-esteem of the participants. What’s cool is that the workshop had young apprentices as teachers and there was great interaction between them and the students,” said librarian Ana Maria Silva, coordinator of the project “Basic Computer Skills: Computing as a Therapeutic Resource”.

The initiative began to be considered in 2016, when the library received ten computers from the Recode Libraries project, carried out by the Recode NGO. The goal was to offer activities to positively impact the municipality of Domingos Martins. Currently, the library is also part of the Conecta Biblioteca program.


The state of Espírito Santo has one of the highest rates of femicide in the country – there are 2 deaths per 100,000 women, four times more than the national average (IPEA). The problem, which also involves domestic violence, affects the self-esteem of women in the municipality of Domingos Martins, being one of the causes of depression among this audience.

This scenario inspired a change in the initial project, focused on the first contact with the technology universe. With the participation of the Municipal Health Department, the focus shifted to serving female patients who were fighting depression.

To encourage the protagonism of the young people from Domingos Martins, a partnership was established with the local Center for Integration of Business and Education (CIEE). Thus, the young people from the “Minor Apprentice” project were invited to act as computer teachers.

The workshops took place from September to November 2016, with 12 women – mostly in their 50s. Guided by the young apprentices, they took their first steps into the digital world and learned to use the Office package (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and access new possibilities on the internet. “We had students who were stuck, without a horizon, and after the classes, they are more active, wanting to take other courses and resume their studies. It’s a victory,” celebrated Ana Maria Silva.

“This is the recognition of the work done by the library team. Now, we are a source of pride for the population. Our space is no longer seen as a mere storage of books, and that is very important to us,” evaluated Ana Maria Silva.

The Argentina Lopes Tristão Municipal Library was awarded in the “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls” category. The announcement was made on March 12, 2018.

Next Phase

The second group of the workshop “Basic Notions of Computing: Computing as a Therapeutic Resource” aims to impact 60 women, with 20 spots reserved for women from Domingos Martins who are struggling with depression. The classes, which continue to be taught by young apprentices, began in late March and will continue until November.

The $1,500 prize money will be used to enhance the computer workshop, which will now have the assistance of a psychiatrist.

Partnership with the NGO Recode

For Ana Maria Silva, the material support and training acquired through the Recode Biblioteca project were fundamental in encouraging the creation of the winning project. “It was the NGO Recode that introduced us to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and has consistently encouraged us to align our practices with this Agenda,” she acknowledged.

In 2016, the Argentina Lopes Tristão library had already been recognized with 2nd place in the Recode Award for Recognition of Good Practices in Public Libraries. As the responsible librarian, Ana Maria participated in a trip to Chile, visiting successful initiatives in the sector.