Amy Bank

Ashoka Fellow
Nicaragua,
Fellow Since 2007

Citation

This profile was prepared when Amy Bank was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Violence in Central America is high, widespread, and worsening in society, in gangs and in the home as seen by a high incidence of domestic violence against women and youth. But violence in the home has been treated as a taboo subject and dialogue about the issue has been difficult in these polarized societies. Amy has shown that it is possible talk about these taboo subjects in a manner that leads to a reduction violence using three tools which encourage a broad discussion of these controversial topics in a manner which ensures a deep and lasting impact on attitudes and behaviors not just in women and youth, but society, and among those least willing to acknowledge let alone discuss these issues.
Amy’s core insight is that you can change attitudes and behaviors by finding new ways to legitimize discussion of previously taboo subjects. Through Meeting Point, Amy has developed Sixth Sense, a very popular, socially themed soap opera region-wide, whose topics are discussed in-depth at a local level, guided by hundreds of local citizen organizations (COs). These COs have been trained and prepared to draw out thoughts and deepen understanding over months of continual follow-up and dialogue with Meeting Point. Initially this creates dialogue, and that dialogue changes attitudes among friends and within families; eventually producing concrete changes in behaviors. 
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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