Youth Citizenship Network, a project developed by Brazil’s NGO Communitarian Image Association (AIC), from the city of Belo Horizonte, capital of the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is one of the 12 winners of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices.
The award is promoted by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) in partnership with the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The objective of the award is to recognize actions that may help cities, neighborhoods or communities to live better.
A total of 703 projects from over 80 countries participated, and there were 48 finalists. Of the 12 winners, 10 projects were awarded in the "best practices" categories and two in "best transfer of practices to other communities around the world", which was added this year and is the case of the Youth Citizenship Network, from Belo Horizonte.
Each project winning the award will receive US$ 30,000, to be delivered at a ceremony in Dubai, scheduled to take place in early 2007.
The project from Minas Gerais, which has been in execution since 2002 operated by youths from low-income families, involves a network of medias totally elaborated by them. The television programs they make, for example, are shown on Minas Television Network and the radio programs are transmitted by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) radio station.
The youths also produce a printed paper, which is distributed for free in public schools, and they also count on a website and a news agency. The whole project is sponsored by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
The productions elaborated create alternatives for appreciation of the youths and are turned, especially, to regions with high levels of social vulnerability. The content of the media produced by them covers information about cultural groups, spaces and public activities, social projects, as well as information about education, professional qualification and employment. The project mobilizes over 300 groups of youths and organizations connected to youths.
This is not the first AIC award for the Youth Citizenship Network. The project has already received various national and international awards, among them a special mention at the Experiences in Social Innovation Contest, promoted by the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal/UN) this year.
AIC was established in 1993 with the objective of promoting access to the means of communication to impoverished communities of Belo Horizonte. The NGO develops workshops and creates means of communication that count on the participation of people who live in the streets, slums and of school students.
Another project that received the award was a project by non-profit organization Riwaq: Job Creation through Restoration of Historic Centers of Palestine, which involved the generation of jobs through the restoration of historic centers in the region.
The other countries winning in the "best practices" categories were Rwanda, India, Colombia, the Philippines, Peru, Spain, Vietnam, Burkina Faso and the Cameroon. The other country winning in the same category as the Brazilian project was New Zealand.
The selection was made by an international jury that met in Palermo, Italy, during the meeting of the "Euro-Mediterranean Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities", which took place last week.
According to the chairman of the board of Dubai International Award and acting director general of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, the criteria chosen for the award were impact, partnership, and sustainability and also leadership and community empowerment, gender equality and social inclusion, and innovations.
Dubai Award is given every two years and was established in 1995 with the objective of promoting sustainable practices that promote the improvement of quality of life, cities and communities. Over the last five cycles of awards, the organization has received 2,465 projects from over 125 countries.
Anba – www.anba.com.br