This profile was prepared when Reinaldo Pamponet was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Reinaldo fosters the development of citizens as collaborators, entrepreneurs and knowledge producers. Through a methodology that creates new opportunities for cooperative learning, he is helping youth in Salvador and Sao Paulo create their own socially responsible enterprises, products and services through digital media. Recognizing that economic empowerment is but one of the many necessary elements for full citizenship, Reinaldo created Eletrocooperativa in 2004 to promote the active participation of disenfranchised youth in sustainable, income-generating development projects. Through interactive workshops, the organization teaches students about their rights, values, roles and responsibilities as members of society. In addition to helping young people acquire basic entrepreneurial skills to develop viable business models, Electrocooperativa has also produced and sold audiovisual materials on topics related to other development issues in an effort to show participants the value of their cultural contribution to society. In order to disseminate this income generating and collective learning methodology, Reinaldo is now launching a virtual platform. The Digital Economic Emancipation Platform is structured as an open-source social business, financed through online thematic competitions sponsored by businesses. Youth throughout Brazil submit their audiovisual materials online to enter the competition, and the funds raised by Eletrocooperativa are then distributed amongst the participating young people, thus increasing their ability to live off of the production of socially conscious media. Reinaldo hopes to use this platform as a means of growing Electrocooperativa’s economic and social impact.