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Successful Social Innovation Projects to be Presented in the United States

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16 November 2010|Press Release

ECLAC will exhibit 25 programmes awarded for their innovation, community participation and low costs, developed to overcome poverty and inequality in the region.

(16 November 2010) Many social initiatives have helped communities effectively combat poverty, inequality and social exclusion in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean over recent years. Many of them have won the Experiences in Social Innovation contest organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with support from the Kellogg Foundation.

Examples of these successful experiences are the small dairies created by Haitian farmers to improve their income; the efforts against domestic violence of women in the Peruvian highlands; the reduction of maternal-infant mortality and the establishment of greater transparency in public spending in Brazilian municipalities; and environmental protection though soccer in Belize.

Representatives of the 25 most innovative initiatives of the 4,800 projects submitted to the contest over the past five years will share their experiences during the seminar Social Innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held at the Institute of the Americas of the University of California in San Diego, United States, from 17-19 November.

The social projects are grouped in four areas: income-generation, youths at risk, affirmation of health and education rights and volunteering and community participation. These initiatives will be exhibited by their own protagonists during the seminar and will be commented by public officials and opinion leaders from the region.

The winning projects come from Argentina (5), Belize (1), Bolivia (1), Brazil (7), Chile (2), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Ecuador (2), Guatemala (1), Haiti (1), Mexico (1), Paraguay (1), and Peru (1).

They have in common social innovation, active citizen participation and reasonable costs.

The book From Social Innovation to Public Policy. Success Stories in Latin America and the Caribbean will be launched during the three-day seminar. In this book, authors Nohra Rey de Marulanda and Francisco B. Tancredi, members of the panel of judges, reflect on the factors of success and the lessons learned.

A round table will also be held on the concept of social innovation, moderated by Richard Feinberg, of the University of California. Panelists include Martín Hopenhayn, Director of ECLAC's Social Development Division, Leon Reinhart, Founder and Chairman, Maya Relief Foundation, California, and Jorge Vinicio Murillo, Management Professor, EARTH University, Costa Rica.

On Friday, 19 November, José Antonio Ocampo, professor of the University of Columbia, former finance minister of Colombia and former Executive Secretary of ECLAC, will offer a master lecture on social development in the region.

For more information, see the seminar website Social Innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For questions, write to Pilar Bascuñán at:

The inauguration of the seminar and the master lecture will be broadcast live via webcast.
The presentations will be available on video as of late November on our website.