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Experiences in Social Innovation Award winners announced

The ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) announced on November 11 from its headquarters in Santiago, Chile, the five winning projects of the Experiences in Social Innovation Award (2004-2005 Cycle). Twenty projects from nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were selected as finalists in the competition, which is organized by ECLAC with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The project Lèt Agogo (Milk Agogo), from Haiti, received the first prize of US$10,000. A group of experts from multilateral agencies, responsible for selecting the prizewinners, considered that this project successfully introduced significant changes to the production and sale of milk under adverse conditions, by merging the technical know-how of the non-governmental organization Veterimed and the local knowledge of small farmers, generating benefits both for the community and for the country as a whole. 

Second prize went to the Argentine Programa Integrado de Cultivos Andinos, Cooperativa Agropecuaria Artesanal Unión Quebrada y Valles – C.A.U.Que.Va, while third prize went to the Guatemalan project Prevention of the Drug and Street Gang Phenomenon in Marginalized Urban and Rural Areas (Prevención del Fenómeno de la Droga y Mara en Áreas Marginales Urbano y Rurales). In fourth place came Brazil’s Ecoorgânica – Cooperative of Organic Family Farmers (Ecoorgânica – Cooperativa dos Produtores Familiares Orgânicos) and, finally, in fifth place, again from Brazil, came the Community Health Efforts in the Tapajós National Forest (Ações de Saúde Comunitária na Floresta Nacional do Tapajós).

According to José Luis Machinea, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, the quality of the shortlisted projects exceeded expectations. “The recognition given these initiatives will enable others to learn from their examples and, as such, contribute to the reduction of poverty in the region,” he said.

Hanmin Liu, Chair of the Kellogg Foundation Board of Trustees, explained that the communities of Latin America and the Caribbean have proved that they are capable of proposing creative solutions to resolve their problems. “Society and government needs to learn to listen to them,” he said.

The remaining 15 projects received honorable mentions and they were all hailed as winners for having reached the final stage of the Experiences in Social Innovation Award. Nearly 1,600 projects from Latin America and the Caribbean were entered for the competition.

The criteria adopted to select the five winning projects were: leadership and association characteristics with a view to the production of social capital; replication potential; impact on the beneficiary communities; complexity and treatment given the adversities encountered; and innovation. The supervisors and representatives of the 20 finalist projects presented their programs to an evaluation panel formed by the group of experts invited by ECLAC to judge the projects.

On November 10 and 11, the ECLAC headquarters also hosted the Social Innovation Fair, during which members of the 20 finalist projects were able to share experiences and exhibit their work to the public.

The Kellogg Foundation was represented by James E. McHale, Senior Vice-President of Programming; Hanmin Liu, Chair of the Board of Trustees; Francisco Tancredi, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Program Directors Andrés Thompson and Blas Santos.

The Experiences in Social Innovation Award is to be held annually. The 2005-2006 cycle was launched at the end of June 2005.

More information on the award can be obtained on the websites www.eclac.cl and www.wkkf.org, by telephone (56-2) 210-2297, or e-mail: Innovacion.social@cepal.org.

Read more: Experiences in Social Innovation Award

Photos: Milton Bellintani/Cross Content

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