María Elena Foronda Farro
This profile was prepared when María Elena Foronda Farro was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Although Peruvians have begun to pay more attention to environmental issues in recent years, María Elena is the first environmentalist to address the problem of contamination caused by the processing of fishmeal. Unlike other advocates who use confrontational tactics, María Elena finds common ground between those who suffer from pollution and those who cause it. She turns the victims of pollution into environmentally aware citizens who do not simply protest, but also propose clear, concrete solutions that alleviate pollution and reduce tension between people and industry. She has created committees of young people that investigate environmental damage, monitor compliance, and negotiate with the government and businesses.