Cerrito 2018: Innovation for Poverty Elimination
Jun 4, 2018
On May 22, 2018, Fundación Paraguaya organized Cerrito 2018: Innovation for Poverty Elimination, a three-day international gathering that took place in the Cerrito Hotel in Benjamín Aceval, Paraguay. Curated by Fundación Paraguaya and supported by the Development Bank of Latin America's Social Innovation Initiative (CAF) and the International Development Research Center (Canada’s IDRC), the event brought together international leaders from different sectors to share proven strategies and solutions for poverty elimination.
The event began with a pre-gathering: the first meeting of the Poverty Stoplight partners. Hubs and Special Projects from around the world gathered to share their experiences using the Poverty Stoplight tool, followed by workshops on how to better understand and apply this tool in their home countries. The meeting also helped create a network of all partners working with the Poverty Stoplight, allowing them to access a bigger database of solutions powered by the experience and successful interventions of other organizations.
Early in the morning on May 23, participants were encouraged to take a guided tour around the school in order to observe and experience the implementation of the self-sustainable school model and its different didactic-productive units. Another activity was planned at the same time, in which participants could visit the neighboring indigenous village, the QOM community, and interact with local families and rural artisan women. This allowed participants to learn about the indigenous culture and language, as well as the problems these people are currently facing. Thanks to this, participants were able to observe the Cerrito Initiative first-hand, a project that seeks to eliminate poverty in all its dimensions in the community over a three-year period by activating the entrepreneurial potential of the 1,000 families that live in the area.
After these experiential learning activities, the gathering officially began. It started with opening remarks by Martín Burt, CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, Jorge Gartner, CAF’s Representative in Paraguay, and Carolina Robino, IDRC’s Senior Program Officer. The morning activities were focused on innovation beyond income and introduced sessions that looked into developments implemented by different sectors. Panelists shared innovative solutions on poverty elimination carried out by the Government, the private sector, the community, and Academia.
In the afternoon, Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization, talked about his experience addressing issues that are considered taboo by society. He encouraged social entrepreneurs to keep working on problems and shared methods in which something taboo can become visible and enter the agenda of an entire nation. This inspiring talk was followed by another set of breakout sessions that focused on technology, health and environment, and housing and infrastructure.
The last session of the day included leaders from a Paraguayan organization, Desarrollo en Democracia (Development in Democracy), and it gathered experts on development in order to shed light on cross-sectoral solutions to poverty. An additional activity was carried out at the same time in which participants could watch the documentary, Daughters of the Forest, which explores the lives of students at the Mbaracayú School in Paraguay.
The following day, the conversation started by addressing the missing dimensions of poverty. Diego Zavaleta from Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Andrew Fagan from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County, and Richard Matthew from the University of California Irvine led the talk about what needs to be measured in order to have a deeper and more realistic understanding of what poverty is, and the real implications for people living in this situation.
Isabel Guerrero from IMAGO and Oscar Calvo-Giménez from the World Bank shared their insights for development and how to scale up an idea for maximum impact. The last breakout sessions included topics such as education and culture, organization and participation, and income and employment.
As a closing activity, participants were encouraged to write down what their new goals were for Monday and “Someday,” taking into account everything that was shared and learned at the gathering. The next event, Cerrito 2019, was announced for May of next year.