Shakira and the Inter-American Development Bank President present the ALAS-IDB 2016 Awards finalists

Washington, DC, Oct. 16.- Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno, international artist and education activist Shakira and the ALAS Foundation are joining forces again to recognize and reward the early-childhood education improvement and innovation champions in our region.

Since 2012, this award brings together the most relevant educators, children’s book writers, education centers and innovators who every year submit their nominations to the prestigious award, which consists of four categories: Best Teacher, Best Center, Best Children’s Book, and Best Innovation in Early Childhood Development.

In this fourth edition of the ALAS-IDB Awards, more than 1,200 high-quality nominations from 20 of the region’s 28 countries were received. This year’s finalists list was put together after a highly competitive process that included rigorous evaluations by a panel of experts in education, field visits and face to face interviews.

The results are now ready, and President Moreno and Shakira are proud to announce the ALAS-IDB Awards finalists in all four categories.

In the Best Children’s Book category, the finalists are:

Ready. Set…Hatch! Written and illustrated by Jeunanne Alkins, from Trinidad and Tobago:

In this success story about a baby leatherback turtle’s journey to the ocean, Jeaunanne shows children in Trinidad and Tobago that science not only can be fun—it can happen in your own garden.

Tamika. Written by Tamara Vidaurrazaga and illustrated by Karina Cocq, from Chile:

This story takes place in Easter Island, a tiny isle in the South Pacific. There, many years ago, Tamara began telling her daughter a bedtime story hoping to make her feel less isolated from the rest of the world. Now this story teaches all children that no matter who they are or where they live, we are all more connected to each other than we think.

El Día de Manuel (Manuel’s Day). Written by María Ferrada and illustrated by Patricio Mena, from Chile:

This children’s book is based on experiences that María and Patricio had with a Spanish youth who was diagnosed with autism. Through simple phrases and images, the story helps other children realize what autism is all about, while at the same time helping special children get a better understanding of themselves.

Toti y la Luna (Toti and the Moon). Written and illustrated by Jessica Pérez, from Guatemala:

We all know that with a little faith and determination, plus a little help from our friends, we can achieve a lot of things, provided they’re feasible. But, what if they’re not feasible? What if someone wanted to do the impossible, like touching the moon? Would you believe them? That’s exactly what Toti, the baby whale, was determined to do. Toti teaches us that, given resolve and friendship, no goal is unattainable.

In the Best Teacher category, the finalists are:

Carlos Eduardo Prieto Vera, Colombia:

Carlos started off his career as a singer and actor, which goes a long way to explain his drama-teaching style, one that combines music, play and learning. He dreams of a day when all children will have a teacher who helps them spark their imagination.

Marta Taipa, Chile

For Marta Taipa, teaching is not a job but a way of life. Her formal teaching work began soon after she got top grades in her teacher certification test in Chile. She has since opened her own school and continues to be a leader in early childhood education in her community.

In the Best Center Category, the finalists are:

Tiempo Feliz (Happy Times), Barranquilla, Colombia:

This center has become a role model for public-private associations. Through innovative financing mechanisms and creative-resource acquisition, “Tiempo Feliz” has helped hundreds of children who would otherwise have no access to early childhood schooling and has also created job opportunities for the local community.

Fundación Guatemalteca para niños con Sordoceguera FUNDAL-ALEX, Guatemala City, Guatemala:

This is the first center in Guatemala and its neighboring nations tackling the challenge of helping children who were born deaf and blind with their integration into society. After expanding their services, they have become leading providers of innovative best practices for families who have no other way of connecting with their children.

In the Best Innovation category, the finalists are:

Institute for Social Investment Development (IDIS), Brazil:

Established in 2001, this program aims to improve early childhood upbringing techniques through the participation of medical students and by organizing workshops for young parents. Today, they have branched out to reach several communities throughout the Amazon and devised innovative logistics to provide timely health services to the neediest families.

Por Mi Bebé (For My Baby) (TENEBIT S.A.S), Colombia:

Por Mi Bebé is a telephone app that uses artificial intelligence and sophisticated algorithms to provide future mothers with personalized information on their pregnancy. This app also helps pregnant women residing in remote areas to learn about best practices to ensure a healthy and safe delivery.

“La Casa Incierta” (The Uncertain House) Children’s Theatre, Brazil:

The main goal for La Casa Incierta actors is to give children a chance to observe and understand themselves through dramatic play. To this end, they have researched, written and performed plays that seek to explain the different psychological experiences undergone by small children as they strive to comprehend the world around them.

"VideoLibros en Lengua de Señas Argentina" (Canales Asociación Civil), (Videobooks in Sign Language), Buenos Aires, Argentina:

VideoLibros started in 2011 by filming actors translating children’s books into sign language. Their goal was to create the first baseline for sign language in Argentina. This venture teaches small children throughout the country a common language that helps them connect both with literature and with other people.

Childhood is an incredibly formative and decisive period in life. This is why we at the ALAS Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to all the finalists for their incredible work to improve small children’s experiences during such a significant time in their lives.

To know the winners in each of these categories, you are welcome to attend the event this coming Nov. 9, 2017 at the Enrique V. Iglesias Auditorium of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC. Register here! 

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.