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IDB and Mastercard present prizes to 12 projects selected by electronic consultation on youth leadership in Latin America

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the 12 youth leaders, whose projects were selected by electronic consultation, who will participate in a program of activities for “Youth Leadership in the 21st Century” in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The activities will be held in the framework of the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IDB and the Inter-American Investment Corporation March 7-13.

The Youth Development and Outreach Program of the IDB, known as IDB-Youth, with the sponsorship of MasterCard International, conducted the electronic consultation to select the most successful projects managed by youth leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The purpose of this initiative is to underscore the importance of youth in the nations’ growth, specifically in the areas of youth entrepreneurship, learning in the New Economy and volunteering and community service,” said IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias, commenting on the results of the first electronic consultation, which received presentations from hundreds of youth-managed projects from the region.

Jean Rozwadowski, president of MasterCard International for Latin America and the Caribbean, commented, "MasterCard supports the efforts of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Youth Program and encourages Latin American and Caribbean business, government and education leaders to execute programs that will improve teaching and learning in the region. Companies can implement - like MasterCard - far-reaching global, regional and local initiatives that will have a ripple effect in their spheres of influence.”

The electronic consultation marks the beginning of a program of activities that will be inaugurated March 7 with a seminar on “Youth Leadership in the 21st Century” in which youth selected in the consultation, other youth leaders and experts on entrepreneurship, learning and volunteerism will exchange experiences and will propose new strategies to assure the active participation of youth in all sectors of society.

The 12 projects selected and their representatives are the following:


  1. Gincana da Cidadania, Brazil ( The project consists of youth working with youth to foster their participation in social transformation. They work with schools in Rio de Janeiro through debates, visits, and exchanges to learn about the main problems in their communities and to examine possible solutions. To date they have organized the participation of 26 schools, about 50 percent of the schools in the city, resulting in 12,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 23 taking part in the project. Luciana Martinelli, 26, the project representative, has a degree in business administration and has taken many courses in youth leadership and participation. She has been keynote speaker in several youth events and is the founder of Instituto Pro-Acao pela Cidadania Jovem.
  2. Proyecto SPAH, Honduras - Preventive health for Honduran adolescents. SPAH’s premise is to help young people facing problems in the areas of drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, gangs and family violence. The project is taking place in the city of La Ceiba on the north coast of Honduras facing the Caribbean Sea. Norma Carias, 29, the representative of SPAH, has a degree in psychology and has been involved in community service since her early youth through her church. Norma has always been an honor roll student and has received many other honors, including that of representing Honduras in the International Youth Parliament in Sydney, Australia in 2000.
  3. Recovery program of the nutritional value in local foods, Colombia - The project consists of promoting healthy eating habits as a health care strategy. Students of agronutrition from Antioquia University in Medellin, Colombia, work with local schools that are located in low-income communities in or nearby Antoquia. They are teaching children, nursing mothers and pregnant women on the lost and ignored nutritional value found in local foods. The project representative is Yenny Arguelles, 19, who has a strong commitment to service and teaching.
  4. Guyana STI/HIV/AIDS Youth Project. Guyana is the third poorest country in the Latin America and the Caribbean region and has the second highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Western Hemisphere. The project consists on raising awareness on the facts of HIV/AIDS among young people and in the proper care to prevent acquiring and spreading sexually transmitted diseases. Kenroy Roach, 23, from the Volunteer Youth Corps, a nongovernmental organization that he founded and chairs, will represent this project. The winner of many awards for volunteer work, he holds a degree in industrial engineering and works as a food and drug laboratory technician.


  1. LOFRAN, Mexico. Enterprise focused on encouraging young people to create their own businesses and to hire handicapped people, particularly deaf-mute persons. LOFRAN is a model business that hires handicapped staff to manufacture picture frames. The project has been carried out in Puebla, Mexico, since 1999. Javier de Lope Frances, 22 years old, an industrial engineer, writer, and publicist will represent the project in Fortaleza. Javier has won many awards and honors, among them Entrepreneur of the Year 2000, a North American Collegiate Entrepreneur Award.
  2. Online Network of Young Entrepreneurs, Peru - Online network that promotes partnerships between the private sector and young people at national and international levels through the Internet. The goal of the partnership is for young people to find mentors for guidance to create their own businesses. The project began in 1991 and is managed by Jean Paul Piu Palo, 25, in Lima. An expert on business, marketing and Web design, Jean Paul published his first book at the age of 22 on Internet Publicity in Latin America. The first and second edition are out of print, and the third edition is currently being edited.
  3. Social and Environmental Recycling, Argentina – ( Project creates socially and environmentally responsible businesses and is being carried out in the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, and Mendoza in Argentina. Alejandro Singer, 25, has founded several organizations with this vision. A mass media technician, he is the chairman and director of the Youth Bank and holds a degree in economics.
  4. Social Incubator, Brazil - Project to promote partnerships between students, universities and the private sector. The project is being carried out in Brazil and managed by Romel Pinheiro, 29, who is the founder of the Social Development Academy in Recife. Among his many awards are the Social Project Award in 1997. Romel works as a consultant, designing socially responsible projects for NGO’s and the private sector.


  1. We are different we are the same, Nicaragua ( Use of mass media to educate young people in self esteem, their rights, responsibilities, violence and discrimination prevention. The project reaches 14 states in Nicaragua. Its representative, Carla Lopez, 30, is a social worker who believes that knowledge gives people freedom as well as responsibilities. Through this project she believes that youth gain understanding of their rights and can establish lifestyles to achieve them.
  2. YABT- Microentrepreneurs, Argentina –( Consists of a network of young entrepreneurs and political leaders that provide training on management and financing on line. They have also produced three television programs: Education 21, Health 21 and Recharge 21. YABT’s regional representative for Argentina is Alberto Echegaray, 30, who holds a degree in Business Administration and has served as advisor from 1997 to 1999 to the former Argentine Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo.
  3. Youth Leadership Program – Bolivia - Students from Nur University train young people in leadership skills with emphasis on social responsibility and community service. The project functions with local schools and has so far trained 1000 youth, created 10 youth networks and 20 community service projects. The representative for this project is William Baker Shoaie, 28, who is finishing a master’s degree in sustainable development and environmental management.
  4. Latin-American Rural Youth Network – Panama. Network of rural youth connected through the Internet to share knowledge, experiences and information regarding opportunities and research. The purpose is to reach rural youth who are somewhat distant from the main cities, to integrate them through communications, and to deal with issues that are particular to their realities. Albis Mariela Fernandez, 28, manages the project and lives in the rural area of Chiriqui, Panama. Albis is finishing her bachelor’s degree in agriculture. See Website at

The youth representatives on each project will be honored on Thursday, March 7, in a ceremony to present the IDB MasterCard Youth Leadership Awards that will be presided over by the president of MasterCard International for Latin America and the Caribbean and the president of the IDB.Community Service Activities

The “Youth Leadership of the 21st Century Program” will continue on Friday, March 8, with activities of community service and volunteerism that will be carried out in the Mercado das Artes in Aquiras, the old capital of Ceara, 30 kilometers south of Fortaleza.
Participating in the “Exchange of Talents,” as the event is called, will be Brazil’s First Lady Ruth Cardoso, the president of MasterCard International for Latin America and the Caribbean, the president of the IDB, and other personalities in the framework of the local community.

The purpose of this meeting, which will offer the participants different options of community service, is to underscore the importance of youth participation in the betterment of their communities.

The activity is sponsored and coordinated jointly by Comunidade Solidaria, MasterCard International, the government of the state of Ceara, IBM de Brasil, the Pommar-USAID Program and the IDB. About 500 youths from the area are expected to attend. The youth volunteers will share their knowledge and talents in such diverse areas as fine arts, handicrafts, professional development and income generation.

The “Youth Leadership in the XXI Century Program” is intended to create awareness among political and economic leaders of the region on the role of youth as protagonist for the development of their communities, cities and countries throughout the region.

The Inter-American Development Bank reaffirmed its commitment to youth and its active participation in the development process by creating the Youth Development and Outreach Program in 1995. Since then the Program has grown to include a network of 12,000 youth throughout the region.

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