Jaqueline Moreno Mendoza

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Jaqueline Moreno Mendoza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Jacqueline is building self-reliant communities from settlements of displaced persons surrounding the city of Bogotá. Jacqueline uses barter mechanisms designed not only to improve economic, social, and educational conditions in these impoverished settlements, but also to build community unity, leadership, and autonomy. Her comprehensive social and economic barter system is based on trust and an exchange of skills: Everyone has needs, and everyone can offer something to their community. For example, a mother can leave her children in the daycare center in exchange for teaching dance lessons on the weekends, or an elderly man can eat in the community cafeteria in exchange for working in the community garden. 
Since outside organizations do not freely provide for the community, Jacqueline is destroying a crippling dependency on aid that has been created and fostered by conventional paternalistic development programs. Community members create, manage, and support others with their own resources. This internal transformation—building a strong community working together to better their situation from a fragmented settlement of isolated families—leads to remarkable changes. Jacqueline’s communities have better housing, new infrastructure, such as sewage and electricity, drastically reduced domestic and community violence, and the majority of children attend school.
Members of Jacqueline’s pilot community currently operate approximately 85 percent of the system and lead the efforts to replicate her idea in other settlements. While Jacqueline is working on strategies to meet the growing demand from other communities and citizen organizations (COs) from around the world to learn and apply her methodology.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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