NGO launches lifetime basic incomes in Brazilian village, founds collaborative “projects network”

NGO launches lifetime basic incomes in Brazilian village, founds collaborative “projects network”

“Quatinga Velho, the lifetime Basic Income”

The nonprofit organization ReCivitas distributed a basic income to residents of the Brazilian village Quatinga Velho from 2008 to 2014. In January 2016, ReCivitas launched a new initiative, Basic Income Startup, which aspires to resume the Quatinga Velho basic income payments and make them lifelong.

A new initiative, the Basic Income Projects Network, aims to bring together other nongovernmental organizations that wish to start their own privately-funded basic income pilots.


Marcus Brancaglione, president of ReCivitas, writes this update:

The ReCivitas Institute is an NGO founded in 2006 that works to apply factual guarantees to human rights in independent public policies.

Since 2008, we have developed and sustained the Unconditional Basic Income pilot project in Quatinga Velho, Brazil, which is an internationally recognized project in Basic Income studies and research.

As of January 16th, 2016, Basic Income payments are now permanent, and no longer just a part of an experiment. For 14 people the Unconditional Basic Income has started to be for a lifetime. Now, with our enhanced peer-to-peer model, they also contribute, according to their ability to do so, to these payments.

The project is now called BASIC INCOME STARTUP, because for every 1,000 Euros donated, for no additional cost, a new person that lives anywhere that 40 Reais can make a difference (that is, a person that really needs that money) will start to receive the lifetime basic income.

And it bears emphasizing: for every 1,000 Euros that are donated, RECIVITAS will remove one person from the most abject conditions of primitive deprivation — the kinds of conditions that every Basic Income activist should never forget actually exists.

This project was designed during our last trip to Europe in 2015, while we observed the inequality between refugees and European citizens.

In Brazil, the Brazilian Network for Basic Income is being formed by local communities and independent institutions. The aim is to expand and replicate the model in the ghetto, forgotten places of the world, because poverty has a face and an address, therefore programs that fight poverty do not need focusing techniques or conditionalities, because the people who are in dire need of help already live in segregation.

ReCivitas would like to use this rare opportunity to invite other projects and local communities that are paying, or wish to pay, a basic income, to join us and form the Basic Income Projects Network.

Through partnerships with local organizations, the Quatinga Velho model can be replicated in any community around the world, including ones with the same difficulties: with small amounts of their own capital, no governmental support or support by private corporations, and some amount of international solidarity and support.

We have decided to propose this partnership, especially after the World Social Forum, for two reasons. First, because we have finally realized how much we have accumulated in shareable knowledge in these ten years— knowledge that must be shared with those who really want to accomplish things. Second, because we want to help in the construction of these new projects, especially the ones that are more open to those who really need them.

For more information about the network, including the terms of the partnership for participating groups, please see the “Basic Income Project Network” page on the ReCivitas website.

Marcus Brancaglione, President of ReCivitas

BRAZIL: Basic Income Startup gives “lifetime basic incomes” to villagers

BRAZIL: Basic Income Startup gives “lifetime basic incomes” to villagers

The ReCivitas Institute is introducing a “Lifetime Basic Income” in the Brazilian village of Quatinga Velho–a project it hopes will serve as a model to other organizations running their own basic income pilots. 

From 2008 to 2014, the ReCivitas Institute, a non-governmental organization based in Brazil, administered a basic income in Quatinga Velho, a small village in São Paulo, Brazil. Under the project, which was funded entirely by private donors, 100 Quatinga Velho residents eventually received a basic income of 30 Brazilian Reais (about 9 USD) per month, paid in cash. All participants were volunteers.

In January 2016, ReCivitas launched a new project, Basic Income Startup, which intends to make these payments permanent. As of January 16, 14 residents of Quatinga Velho have basic incomes, now set at an amount of 40 Reais, that they will retain for at least 20 years.    

Basic Income Startup has pledged that for every €1,000 received in donations, a new individual will start to receive the lifetime basic income at no additional cost to donors. It has also stated that this additional recipient will be selected from those living in areas where 40 Reais per month makes a significant impact on quality of life.

According to ReCivitas President Marcus Brancaglione, the idea for Basic Income Startup originated during a trip to Europe in 2015, when he observed the inequality between refugees and European citizens. Unsurprisingly, then, ReCivitas does not see its work and mission as limited to Brazil, but as having global ramifications.

The ReCivitas Institute is now encouraging other local organizations and communities to replicate its project in Quatinga Velho, and invites other NGOs conducting their own basic income studies to unite and form a Basic Income Projects Network:

Our idea of Basic Income is the universal one. Really universal. With no discrimination of any sort, such as of nationality, citizenship or territorial. We work with an open association model that was not designed to expand while being restricted by geopolitical limits, but instead to multiply without regard for borders, in an international network of communities maintained by the peoples themselves, from person to person, through mutual support between non-governmental organizations.

Describing the results of ReCivitas’s project in Quatinga Velho, Brancaglione says that the basic income ” ‘changed the dreams’ of people in the community…giving some of the poorest a basic security, and [allowing] them ‘the capability to project into the future’ rather than living and budgeting without ever being certain that their income was secure. The money and the terms of payment gave citizens the power to change their relationship with the outside authorities. Rather than having to prove the extent of their poverty in order to receive social security, they were freed to assert their citizen’s right to a basic income” [1].

Although the basic income has brought clear benefits to Quatinga Velho, project leaders have emphasized that their goal is not to study basic income or to prove that it “works”. They are already convinced that basic income is effective, and their goal is to implement it [2].

The Brazilian government has maintained the Bolsa Família, a conditional cash transfer program for the poor, for over a decade; however, the government has not yet shown a willingness to institute a full universal and unconditional basic income. Thus, ReCivitas has chosen to move forward with administering its own privately-funded unconditional basic income on a smaller scale, and hopes to inspire similar initiatives worldwide.  

For more information about Basic Income Startup, see its website and view the video trailer below:

YouTube player

[1] George Bangham, “Report of Lecture at Oxford University,” Instituto ReCivitas, February 28, 2016.

[2] Cf. Karl Widerquist, “Basic Income in Quatinga Velho celebrates 3-years of operation,” Basic Income News, June 7, 2012.

Information and photographs provided by Marcus Brancaglione, President of ReCivitas.