Gustavo Gindre Monteiro Soares
This profile was prepared when Gustavo Gindre Monteiro Soares was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Two years ago, with a group of communications specialist colleagues in Rio de Janeiro, Gustavo Monteiro Soares founded the Institute for Society and for Communication Studies and Projects (INDECS). The idea for the new institute was born out of his frustration with what he saw as the tendency of social activists to reduce all problems to political and economic issues. He was also convinced that activist citizens' organizations were failing to communicate their ideas effectively, relying almost exclusively on the media to transmit their messages and eschewing the deeper and more varied approach that the task requires.Gustavo raised his concerns with a group of communications specialists who shared his view that the general public in Brazil must become more actively engaged in addressing social problems and that, with that end in view, the development of new and creative communications strategies would be essential. But Gustavo and his associates were also convinced that they and others in their profession had a great deal to learn before they could develop the needed new approaches.With those several needs in view, the Institute has launched two initial projects that employ a "living laboratory" methodology and are viewed as testing grounds for the development of practical, grass roots-based new approaches in the communications field. In the first project, Gustavo, his colleagues and residents in two communities near Rio de Janeiro are working together on a number of local communications projects, including radio and video production and local newspapers. In the second, a public commuter ferry is being used as a laboratory for the development and demonstration of more effective methods for enhancing public awareness and responsibility on environmental issues.