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Registration for 2008 Cycle of the Innovation Project Open until January 25

On Friday, December 7, registration was opened for the fourth cycle of the Experiences in Social Innovation award until January 25, 2008. Eligible to compete are innovative projects that focus on the good of the community, that are designed for disadvantaged groups and that create conditions for the development and consolidation of full participation by the population.

Consideration will only be given to projects or programs in one or more of the following areas: community health; basic education; youth programs; income generation; corporate social responsibility; volunteer work; rural/agricultural development; nutrition/food security. Implementation must take place in at least one of the 33 Latin American and Caribbean member countries of ECLAC. Projects must have been in actual operation for at least two years and currently be ongoing.   

Projects Cover Broad Spectrum in Latin America and the Caribbean

A laboratory rich in innovative social experiences enabling us to learn from original and successful projects in the quest for solutions to the problems that plague the most disadvantaged populations in the region. This was the goal when the Experiences in Social Innovation contest was created. Three years on, what began as a straightforward award has grown into the most comprehensive project involving research, evaluation and exchange of experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. “In this period, we have identified more than 3,600 innovative social programs,” said María Elisa Bernal, the director of the project.

One characteristic of the initiative is the thematic diversity. Entries are welcome from the fields of community health, basic education, youth programs, income generation, corporate social responsibility, volunteer work, rural/agricultural development and nutrition/food security. This year, the participating projects focused on the areas of health, education, production and youth.

 Noraney Alves Lima, of the Four-Leaf Clover project, which took first place in the award with its Strategy to Reduce Maternal, Pre-Natal and Infant Morbidity and Mortality Rates, considers the initiative’s primary merit to be its engagement of the community. Created in 2001 by the Municipal Department of Health and Social Action of Sobral, in Ceará, the program has helped reduce infant mortality from 29.7 per 1,000 live births to 16.5 in 2006.

“We believed that it would only be possible to reorganize healthcare for pregnant women, mothers and babies through the creation of an inter-institutional network involving all segments of the community,” explained Lima. It paid off. Staff at Four-Leaf Clover created a Maternal, Perinatal and Infant Mortality Prevention Committee involving schools from the municipal district, local councils and community leaders.

In this strategy, the figure of the social mother plays a central role. “They are responsible for counseling pregnant women about the care they need to take during pregnancy and also after the birth of their children. As such, it is important for the social mothers to be women who are leaders in the community and whose children have already grown up, so they can dedicate their time to these tasks without neglecting their own families.”

Entries submitted for any of the contest’s three previous cycles
(2004-2005, 2005 -2006 or 2006-2007) may be submitted again. To
download the registration form, go to

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