David Hertz

Ashoka Fellow
Sao Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Fellow Since 2011
Related TopicsCivic Engagement


This profile was prepared when David Hertz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
David is preparing impoverished young adults from Brazil’s most difficult neighborhoods to enter the hospitality field and become productive and confident members of their society. With his organization, Gastromotiva, founded in 2006, he has combined professional instruction with values education in a series of practical tools drawing on classroom learning and on-the-ground training, all based around the burgeoning food service industry. Gastromotiva participants, who range in ages from 18 to 35, are encouraged to reach their potential and expand their creativity, adopting the skills to become professionals and even start their own restaurants or other small businesses in the favelas. As young entrepreneurs, they can serve as role models to other youth and champions for the development of their community.

With gastronomy at its heart, the innovative program David has created upholds the notions of culture, sensory perception, civic engagement, and one’s contributions to others, all intertwined with tools for youth professional development. David’s comprehensive curriculum includes high-quality technical and theoretical training in cooking and hospitality based on peer education. The companion practical activities, such as the Gastromotiva Buffet, in which the young people apply their skills in an actual restaurant setting, and the Gastromotiva Social Incubator, which supplies support and advises students as they begin to create their own community enterprises, together serve as powerful and unparalleled opportunities for participants to engage in real-life preparation for the workplace. Yet, because development of the whole individual, not just vocational training, is the objective of Gastromotiva, the coursework also addresses topics of history and culture, citizenship, communication, self-esteem building, and group dynamics, essential life skills for any type of professional service.

With a curriculum that spans career preparation and community action, Gastromotiva has constructed an educational solution that helps vulnerable youth confront various challenges to which they are exposed. This has also made it an appealing methodology for engagement with other associations, an opportunity that David is leveraging to grow his project. Besides seeking to expand his courses to over nine states in the country, he is establishing relationships with universities and prisons to adopt his initiative. David is also building collaborations with the international Slow Food Movement to spread his Social Incubator and encourage other young people to start new businesses with marginalized youth populations around the world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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