V?ctor RODR?GUEZ UGALDE
Fellow Since 1998
This profile was prepared when Víctor Rodríguez Ugalde was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Victor Rodriguez has constructed an educational model which fosters active learning and improved communication skills among children. His ambition is no less than to change nationwide patterns of public education by showing the effectiveness of games and interactive lessons as compared to traditional rote learning. To do this he has begun to teach children about one of his own passions, food and nutrition. His educational methods are a radical departure from traditional Mexican schooling, and include a mobile museum, educational games, informational booklets with cartoons and quizzes, and many other materials designed to involve students in the educational process and encourage a positive attitude towards learning. Victor complements his graphic design skills with an ability to excel in public relations. This has allowed him to convey, to different audiences - such as parents, school directors, professors, journalists, and administrators - the importance of having his work included in the public schools.Victor uses texts but also has created an impressive array of his own oral, written, and graphic materials to generate playful interaction among children in the classroom. These professionally printed materials include stand-up displays, games which test the students' knowledge of nutrition, and pamphlets illustrated with cartoons. The geographical focus of his work is the state of Oaxaca, characterized by poor nutrition levels, disdain for indigenous people, and encouragement of repetition within educational settings. While the direct beneficiaries of his program are children 15 years of age or younger, the most outstanding element of Victor's idea is that all sectors of the population are included in the training. This guarantees continuity in the program and improves the chances for the institutionalization of the process. On the one hand he has involved mothers, and women in general, in the nutrition of their children, while teaching them how to prepare nutritional foods and how to recognize signs of malnutrition. On the other hand, he has educated children through activities with their teachers both inside and outside of the classroom, and recruited older students to accompany younger ones in activities or journeys to the traveling museum.