Gerardo Pacheco Gutierrez
This profile was prepared when Gerardo Pacheco Gutierrez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Gerardo contends that the key to engaging at-risk youth is to give them the opportunity to take initiative and assume responsibility for their own lives and futures. According to his philosophy, young people have the capacity to make the important decisions needed to improve their lives and should play a greater role in determining the course of their social development. In his "Group A," Gerardo is consolidating initiatives for orphan child laborers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and street youth in which young people themselves manage funds, make decisions, build relationships with the community, and find ways to confront their addictions, as well as other personal, family, and community issues. He also works with public and citizen sector institutions to incorporate youth self-management projects into their community development programs, including significant input from youth on project design and budgeting. By creating a corps of youth leaders, Gerardo is not only helping clandestine youth overcome their own issues, but also making them a valuable commodity in the advancement of sustainable civil society organizations in Bolivia and beyond.