Dante Pesce

Ashoka Fellow
Chile,
Fellow Since 1995
Corporación CIEM-CHOAPA REDESOL

Citation

This profile was prepared when Dante Pesce was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Dante Pesce believes that a privately sponsored, volunteer service corps can bring much-needed development knowledge and skills to Chile's poor, underdeveloped regions. He recruits university students and young professionals to volunteer to spend one year in implementing a concrete development project as part of a local citizens' organization team. Afterwards, the volunteers document the results of their work in theses, for which they receive university credit. Dante believes that private funding and precise understandings between the volunteer, the university and the local organization will avoid many of the problems that have plagued earlier volunteer-based initiatives. He also hopes and expects that a number of the volunteers will be inspired to continue in similar work, possibly in the same locations, either launching their own organizations or serving as staff members of existing citizen groups.
Dante also aims to build a volunteer ethic in Chile. By offering students a one-year opportunity to provide much-needed technical and creative assistance, to implement their projects in poor areas with the assistance and cooperation of local residents, and to analyze the results in university-accredited theses, Dante hopes to infect an important pool of talented and privileged young people with a passion for public service and a life-long commitment to careers in social change. Thus, beyond the quantifiable economic and social impact of the projects that the volunteers undertake, Dante expects his program to transform the volunteers in much the way that the U.S. Peace Corps and VISTA programs have changed the lives of so many of their participants. His intent and expectation is that the volunteer professionals engaged in his undertaking will emerge as proponents of social change, mobilizers of fellow citizens and effective advocates of public policies that promote local development.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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