Alfredo Mariano Olivera

Ashoka Fellow
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Alfredo Mariano Olivera was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Alfredo is changing the way mental health institutions approach patient care. Through his Radío La Colifita, or "Loony Radio," he demonstrates how and why Argentina's mental health facilities should shift from traditional methods of patient segregation and chronic incarceration to a more humane approach stressing treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. Loony Radio addresses needs related to rehabilitation, and eventual reintegration to society. By producing radio programs, patients enjoy a unique kind of therapy. Their voices are broadcast to the general public, challenging stereotypes of the mentally ill. The program offers opportunities for meaningful work for newly released patients and helps current patients maintain contact with their life under treatment, allowing for continued therapy beyond hospital grounds.
Alfredo's program at Buenos Aires's Borda Hospital, the largest hospital in Argentina, continues to grow. His idea has spread throughout the country and is now being replicated in other countries. As Alfredo develops ways for his program to become a standard feature of psychiatric rehabilitation, he is also exploring its application to other institutions suffering the same contradiction between segregation and social integration, including prisons, geriatric wards, and children's homes.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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