This profile was prepared when Solomon Cedile was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Solomon’s “Community College” is an intensive one-month residency program that brings personnel from small community-based organizations together with participants from larger, national level citizen groups. As the groups study various aspects of public service, they also link with the kinds of partners they will need to carry out their work successfully. The College leads to more sustainable social change as well as new leadership in the townships. Solomon doesn’t rely on generating or spreading new strategies for community development, but instead acts as a facilitator to effectively connect existing knowledge with new users. Solomon developed his program especially for young people. Now he has taken this concept further, extending it to entire communities. He is working with residents one “block” at a time (a block has about 650 residents), using the same experiential learning model. Participants learn practical things, such as how to save money by building more efficient houses, as well as more conceptual skills, such as problem-solving and civic responsibility. Solomon aims for these residential blocks to help “tip” community behavior and development.