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Initiatives that emphasize human development

In different cities in Africa and Latin America, teams work on mental health in young people, opportunities for older adults, public hygiene and the integration of the migrant population.

What does a life project mean? There may be millions of answers; almost as many as there are inhabitants on planet Earth. The truth is that, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are conditions that every person should enjoy throughout their development. With an eye on this objective, initiatives of the 2022 Local Innovators Program (PIL) work on themes that seek to remove those obstacles that prevent adequate personal progress. 

On this occasion, Merling, Catherine, Florence and Wake They share the projects that work in cities in Costa Rica, Ghana and Colombia. From creating opportunities for immigrants to sanitation in public bathrooms, municipal leaders and social entrepreneurs exploit their creativity to create innovative solutions. 

For different stages of life

In Bogotá (Colombia), the union between Sonia Tovar, deputy director for Old Age, and Catalina Santana Castellano, co-founder of the company 101 Ideas, aims to combat the labor exclusion of people who are approaching retirement age. In other words, they seek to improve their living conditions and guarantee their rights “within the framework of an inclusive, progressive and universal social policy.” 

“We are inspired by the pride of age to revitalize the adult lives of people in my country, bringing them the possibility of feeling productive in a flexible way after age 55,” Catalina presented. In particular, their alliance targets the population that lives in a situation of greatest economic vulnerability. 

Among other points of the program, the social entrepreneur highlighted the “importance of generating work in intersectoral alliances” in order to increase the impact of the solutions. 

From Heredia (Costa Rica), Estela Paguaga Espinoza, from the local Inclusive Social Management area, also valued lessons from the PIL and observed that “sometimes the answers are in the simple things.” With Grettel Castiglioni Barrantes, from the Local Interinstitutional Network for Suicide Risk Attention, the municipal leader works on this issue among adolescents in her community. 

“Consulting adolescents is very important. They propose simple things in terms of budget. So we see that it is more management of existing resources than additional budgetary expenditures,” reflected the Heredia official. 

Migration and public health

Merling Sapene She is Venezuelan, lives in Canada and, through the entrepreneurship Corazón Migrante, works to promote greater integration of immigrants who arrive in La Cruz, Costa Rica. In particular, the objective is to reduce structural unemployment (informal employment) of the young population that travels and must settle there. 

“My dream is that this project is implemented and provides a relief solution for the human being who leaves everything behind to start a new life in Costa Rica,” transmitted the digital entrepreneur. To do this, it works with organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in search of labor solutions and psycho-emotional support. 

On the other side of the ocean, from Accra (Ghana), Florence S. Kuukyi He told the Proyectos de Vida community how his initiative is progressing to achieve greater hygiene in public bathrooms in the metropolitan area. She is a Public Health analyst and works in the Public Health Directorate in the local metro, and together with Esther Aidoo, from the company Witties, analyze how this lack of sanitation especially impacts women and children. 

“We learned better how to identify a problem by looking for its root. Also how to raise hypotheses and generate prototypes,” said the official from the Ghanaian capital. 

Community of Life Projects, PIL 2022. 

Main image: Migrant population in Costa Rica. Source: Alonso Tenorio, La Nación. 

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