Jerónimo Calderón

Ashoka Fellow
Geneva, Switzerland
Fellow Since 2012


Jerónimo has created a youth-led movement that transforms social change into a desired lifestyle for Generation Y. Euforia developed highly engaging event-trainings that offer young people and executives unique learning opportunities. By branding citizen engagement as cool, trendy and attractive, Jerónimo creates inspiring and “euphoric” opportunities that engage individuals and groups previously resistant to youth programs. in collaboration with the UN, BCorp Europe and its network of volunteers, Euforia is currently scaling its approach to 15 countries. Euforia has also built solutions for universities, high schools and companies to foster changemaking, which allows it to self-finance its operations.


Since 2007, Euforia has mobilized 350+ young volunteers who have organized 100 + trainings and events in Switzerland and beyond in which more than 5400 young people as well as managers have participated. Six months after the trainings, 50% to 70% of the participants have become actively involved in finding local solutions to global challenges. More than 80% of the participants changed their behavior in terms of responsible consumption, transportation or fields of study; 35% joined an existing organization (e.g. local red Cross) and 18% launched their own initiative.


Jerónimo’s personal situation has always led him to feel a tremendous urge to fight against social injustices. His father is Bolivian and his mother is Swiss. He decided at 17 to spend one year in bolivia and experience the conditions of his family in the slums of El Alto. At 22, he discovered in Boston the potential of strong youth commitment with local student initiatives and was inspired by Howard zinn’s message of grassroots activism.



Related TopicsSocial enterprise, Environment & Sustainability, Business & Social Enterprise, Youth in Charge


This profile was prepared when Jerónimo Calderón was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Designed and led by young people, Jerónimo builds large-scale collective action to bring about a collective shift toward changemaking. Using an interactive and targeted approach and outreach strategy, Jerónimo engages an untapped and previously passive segment of the population. His model has three main components: (i) he transforms the communication used to promote social engagement with Generation Y. The Euforia movement uses messaging about changemaking that is fun, positive and attractive, and is based on current social norms among young people (ii) he multiplies the impact of existing communication channels by identifying and utilizing those channels most preferred by young people—flyers, social networks, flashmobs, web buzz campaigns—and peaks their attention by reaching out at least three times (iii) Jerónimo incentivizes youth action through his messaging: Euforia is communicated as “living an experience,” which appeals more deeply to young people than traditional social involvement.

To reach as many young people as possible, Jerónimo builds an entirely youth-led organization that is grounded in and directly in touch with their expectations and trends. Packaging trainings, peer-to-peer coaching, inspirational tools and online social networks, he empowers a network of young ambassadors who embody the movement, create and manage events, and recruit those who seem too passive to participate. Designed to make passive young people tap into their potential to make change, the Euforia gatherings are “euphoric” moments that facilitate participants to feel joy and excitement when realizing they have the capacity to change the world. During his first three years, the network of 200 youth ambassadors have organized more than 30 workshops and impacted over 1,500 young people.

Euphoria transforms motivation into concrete opportunities by being a one-of-a-kind matchmaking platform with existing organizations offering volunteer work, or supporting the launch of new social ventures. Jerónimo offers tools and projects already developed for young people to use, but lowers barriers to entry. This is in contrast to many organizations that keep the threshold for entry quite high (e.g. you must design your own project in order to participate). By channeling thousands of youth to existing programs, Jerónimo increases the number of participants while leveraging the impact for other youth initiatives. He has achieved great impact with 70 percent of the 1,500 participants actively engaged in a social cause as a result of Euforia. Jerónimo envisions expanding Euforia across Europe, while applying new groups, such as older generations and company employees, to this model.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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