ETIV Staff and NGO Association Board Members

Founder & Director – Jaci Braga

Jaci was born and raised in upstate New York to an American mother and a Brazilian father. When Jaci was eleven years old she travelled to Brazil for the first time to visit her large, extended family. While stuck in traffic in downtown Sao Paulo, a small group of children in torn up clothes ran up to the car, tapping their hands against the windows and pleading for change. Immediately, Jaci’s uncle said “NO” in a harsh voice and everyone proceeded to roll up their windows. This was Jaci’s first experience with poverty, and she was shocked that her own family could deny a few poor children some pocket change. When she asked her father how this could be, he simply stated: “The world is an unfair place for most people” and then proceeded to point out the million dollar hotels and beachfront properties in comparison to the vast stretches of shantytowns or “favelas” on the hillsides. This was indeed a defining moment; a moment when Jaci first began to realize her calling: to work towards a world that is more fair and just for more people.

Jaci earned a Bachelors degree (BA) in Psychology and worked in therapeutic foster care for a few years. She later moved to Colorado to earn a dual Masters in Social Work (MSW) and International Studies (MA). Jaci worked as a community organizer in Denver for several years, mainly focusing on social justice and human rights issues with a deep emphasis on immigrant rights. In 2010 Jaci was brought to Washington D.C. to lead the grassroots immigration campaign for two national federations. After a year and half of politics in D.C., Jaci decided that it was time to move abroad to live a simpler life. She sold her car and let go of most of her material belongings to improve her Spanish and pursue a career in International Development. Jaci first went to Nicaragua to travel, volunteer and complete her yoga teacher training certification. She later moved to Peru to accept a position managing a volunteer lead Non Governmental Organization (NGO). In February of 2015, Jaci decided to pursue her lifelong dream of moving to Brazil to finally learn Portuguese, connect with her Brazilian roots and start a new NGO someplace where the disparity and the need is quite profound. Exactly 30 years after her first trip to Brazil, Jaci founded ETIV do Brazil; which envisions a world where more people care for each other and the environment, actively creating greater equality and opportunities for all.


Treasurer – Talita Barbosa Cação

Talita is a native of Mato Grosso do Sul, located in the state of the Pantanal. She graduated in Education from Uniderp Anhanguera and also competed a degree in Personnel Management at Dom Bosco Catholic University. She has lived in Itacare for 2 years and works in both education and tourism. Talita joined the ETIV team in April as Treasurer of our association, and she teaches Portuguese to our volunteers.

In her spare time, Talita enjoys making crafts and traveling. She has traveled extensively throughout Brazil and also did an exchange in Perth, Australia. After that she lived in Bonito-Ms for six years, where she first got involved in Sustainable Ecotourism. Talita loves nature, traveling and seeing new places. She is grateful for all the beauty and peace that Itacaré brings to her life and she believes that the least she can do is to give back to this community, which she now calls home, by supporting the work of Etiv do Brazil.


Environmental Coordinator – Janaina Santos Garcia

Janaina was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil but has spent time visiting and living in the Bairro Passagem neighborhood of Itacaré since she was just 3 years old. Janaina grew up playing in the mangroves on the banks of the River Contas here in Passagem and then later graduated with a degree in biology. Janaina dedicated her masters studies on pollution in the mangroves, with a special focus on the species of mangrove that grow here in Itacaré. Janaina joined the ETIV team in April, 2016 and she is also part of an animal protection group and a project teaching morals and values to local children. Janina believes that small deeds with great love is the best way to make our communities  happy places to live.


Web Developer – Triana Hamilton

Triana is a web designer, developer and Information Security specialist who has experience working with a variety of programming languages, as well as computer and web technologies since the age of 14. She builds websites since 2004, supplementing her academic learning with self-driven online resources, allowing to pursue her own personal and professional projects. She is passionate about the web and secure communication systems, so all her work is created with web security and privacy in mind. Her mantra for crafting websites is finding balance between beauty, performance and usability. Triana works with artists, small to medium businesses, NGO’s and other socially responsible organizations.

Web designer and developer Triana Hamilton