Veronica Torassa

Ashoka Fellow
Azul, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Veronica Torassa was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Verónica implements programs in which everyone works together to address the most challenging problems in rural communities on a step by step basis, which leads to a cycle of growth, progress, and strengthens feelings of belonging. For example, to address the terrible condition of schools (many rural schools have a single room school with fifteen kids of all ages and grades), Verónica created an education model that recovers the adhesive role of schools in rural communities, by uniting schools that have low levels of enrolment through the creation of educational circuits. These circuits improve the quality of education of the participating schools in terms of academic content, socialization, diversity, and accessibility. To address the feelings of isolation and disempowerment among women, Verónica brought the mothers to school, started sewing classes and discussion groups, and the women began earning an income. To address that the only medical care available is at the hospitals of the county capital, Verónica convinced the hospital to send out medical teams on a rotating basis throughout the county along the educational circuits.

Soon teachers and mothers feel they are making a difference, doctors and nurses are getting out into the communities, and small progress leads to bigger steps involving more people in the communities. In this way, gradually, but methodically, Verónica first develops a local community network that helps residents of rural communities fundamentally break out of a cycle of apathy and isolation and transforms them into agents of change and leaders of their own development.

As Verónica’s grassroots approach attracts more people and achieves more success in ways that are real and tangible to the community, businesses and government take notice and she begins to build the final, most important ingredient to her approach—forming a second network that includes local government agencies, the private sector, universities, and foundations to support these initiatives which work and have popular support, so that these groups gradually take the lead to continue and expand their integrated programs to other rural areas. Once Verónica has been the catalyst on a pilot basis and shows this new, improved reality on a small scale, she allows this second, external network to replicate and take credit for their part of the integrated program on a much broader scale and with the resources needed for success depending on the real possibilities of interaction in other rural areas.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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