Mary Gloria Olivo
Fellow Since 1998
FUDEP -FUNDACION PARA EL DESARROLLO DE LA ECONOMIA PRODUCTIVA
This profile was prepared when Mary Gloria Olivo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Mary Gloria Olivo founded an organization named the Foundation for Popular Economic Development with the mission of empowering communities to take hold of their current problems and future development. In a country where few local community development models exist for the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas and other cities, Mary Gloria has created an initiative that puts decisions in the hands of local community members, provides job opportunities for professionals and low-skill labor, and brings together local governments, international and national funding agencies, and local businesses to pool resources to pay for the development. This model is the first of its kind in Venezuela to adopt a holistic, community-led management approach to all areas of development, including education, housing, sanitation, and microenterprise production.When the Foundation began over fifteen years ago, it was designed to provide local communities with basic technical services in microenterprise development, after-school and adult education classes, and preventative health services. As the national and local government social service funding sources for community development quickly dissipated in the early 1990s, Mary Gloria recognized the acute need for a "social consortium" approach that would pool outside resources, tap into existing community leadership and labor, and enlist citizens to become actively involved in their communities' development.