Jorge Cappato

Ashoka Fellow
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Argentina
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Jorge Cappato was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Riverine communities in Argentina are among the poorest in the country and have for years been forgotten by government and marginalized by large agricultural corporations. Jorge seeks to redress the economic viability of these communities by helping them devise productive strategies that redefine the role of local inhabitants in the fisheries’ value chain. Jorge recognizes that cultural preservation does not have to come at the expense of economic independence, and argues that for this independence to be sustainable culture can play a vital role. He works with northeastern riverine communities to increase their quality of life by unleashing their productive capacity, using culture and identity as one of their main assets. Local knowledge and motivations are central to the approach. Because some of the people most affected by the region’s poverty and environmental degradation are the youth and the women, Jorge focuses a good deal of his interventions on these two segments of the population. As a result of his work, hundreds of jobs have been created, the income of participating fisher-families has more than doubled. In addition, by creating viable, local economic opportunities, Jorge is mitigating the need of riverine communities to migrate urban areas.

A central aspect of Jorge’s work deals with creating strong networks amongst the inhabitants of riverine communities, including government officials and industry leaders. He has, for instance, led the creation of two associations, Redepesca and Recopades, communities of practice, whose main goal is to build knowledge and best practices around capacity-building and collaboration, and the sustainable use of natural resources in riverine and wetland areas. Such knowledge exchange in turn helps to improve the productive capacity of these communities, while also being instrumental in the proposition of new public policies.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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