Mariana Galarza

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Mariana Galarza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Mariana Galarza is empowering Ecuador’s citizens to take control over their health. In a world where the expensive curative medical model dominates, she believes a healthy society will emerge only when people “create their own health,” making daily decisions to prevent disease. To realize this vision she provides citizens with simple practices based on traditional and popular medicine, information to make common sense nutritional and lifestyle choices, and easy-to-follow guides for decision-making around disease. Over the past 14 years Mariana has systematized methods for both implementing these practices and for training others to do the same.
With these tried and true methodologies, Mariana is rebuilding Ecuador’s health system from the bottom up and the top down. On the community level she has created new institutions and roles for educators and professionals to administer her content. These replicators reach directly into the spaces in which people live—their homes, schools, and places of work—with simple solutions for better health. Mariana has simultaneously begun to reform the macro-level institutions that currently govern health, already tackling the Ministry of Health and the medical education field.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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