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More than 800 Applicants to the Social Innovation Competition, Round Three

A total of 806 innovative projects to benefit communities in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed up to participate in the third round of the “Experiences in Social Innovation” competition (2006-2007 cycle), organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The competition, first launched in 2004, identifies successful new initiatives in social development to disseminate them and contribute to the best practices and policies on behalf of the region’s poor.

Brazil tops the list of competition entries with 145 applicants, followed by Argentina (137), Colombia (127), Mexico (122), Chile (70) and Peru (66). Programmes for youth make up the front-running category (21%), followed by health projects (17%), rural development (14%), education (13%), income generation (11%) and volunteer work (8%).

The application period for this third round ran from 10 November 2006 to 12 January 2007. In the current stage, the Selection Committee is reviewing all 800-plus initiatives, with the help of ECLAC experts and external evaluators, and will solicit additional information from some applicants. The outcome of this stage will be announced beginning 20 April 2007.

The names of the semi-finalists will be announced in mid-August, and on-site visits to the selected projects will take place in September. All semi-finalists will be invited to participate in the next Social Innovation Fair, to be held in December in Brazil.

Previous Winners – A programme in Peru for community responses to domestic violence  took first place in the second round (2005-2006) of the competition, awarded at the Social Innovation Fair in Mexico City last November. Second place went to an Argentine project to help young lawbreakers reintegrate into society. Third place was awarded to a community project to raise trout in the Peruvian highlands. Other prize winners included a municipal programme for health promotion in Paraguay and a programme to keep visually-impaired youths in community schools, in Brazil. 

The first round  (2004-2005) of the Social Innovation Competition awarded first prize to Haiti’s “Leche Agogó” project, which combined traditional knowledge and modern techniques to improve, under difficult conditions, milk production and marketing. A project to grow Andean crops in Argentina took second prize, with third prize going to a programme to prevent drug abuse and gangs in the shantytowns of Guatemala. Other prize winners included an organic produce cooperative for family farms and a community health programme, both in Brazil. 
The competition covers initiatives from eight categories: community health, primary education, youth programmes, income generation, corporate social responsibility, rural development/agriculture, volunteer work and food security/nutrition. 

First place in the competition receives a prize of US$30,000; with second place receiving $20,000; third place, $15,000; and fourth and fifth place winners, $10,000 and $5,000 each.

Complete information, including videos and radio spots, on the Social Innovation Competition is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese at http://www.cepal.org/dds/innovacionsocial/portada_i.htm

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