Aline Bento: why it is important to support social technologies that are sprouting in the territories

This article was voluntarily translated by Israel Caravallo, a member of the Elos Translation Community.

Creativity and efforts, alone, tend to be insufficient for the communities to concretize the many cultural and socio-environmental transformations they look forward to. However committed they are, more is needed: financial resources and technical and methodological support.

This incentive along with reception provides a safe environment in which people can test their hypothesis of transformation in their territories, without the pressure for good results right on the first try. Everyone starts somewhere.

The resources and the support are valuable because they supply financial and technical security for the communities to prototype their ideas with a support. In this way, they can actively create new social technologies by the exercise of observation, investigation, and experimentation with the materials and talents they already have, with openness to error, improvements and sharing of ideas.

It is fundamental still the inspirational support, through motivating conversations in mentoring sessions that provide enriching exchanges, strengthening of groups and the possibility to carry out tests and to experiment different paths to the creation of low-cost, reproducible and sharable technologies.

Documenting and systematizing the discoveries is also an essential step so that the innovations can be replicated and disseminated and, in the future, come to constitute large-scale public policies.

The creation of social technologies is not something new. On the contrary. It has been present ever since humanity’s lived in community. In Brazil, indigenous and quilombolas groups, for example, who have historically had many of their ideas and narratives delegitimized, create all the time technologies that are thought up and tested together with the community.

They have been proving, for decades, that there is no one better than the community to come up with solutions for itself, building, collectively, new ways out of old territorial challenges. We must not forgot, also, of the classical examples in this field, such as the homemade saline solution, the cisterns and the mandala type gardens, which improve the health of the communities.

All these observations motivated the Elos Institute to create the “Jovens Ideias” – “Young Ideas” public notice, which selected in 2023 eight proposals in the country to receive the support of an seed fund, that encourages the birth of new social technologies. 87% of the initiatives supported by the public notice were led by women.

The projects, not yet tested or at an initial stage, are led by people, mostly young people, who have already been through the Elos’ GSA Warriors program, which for almost 25 years has formed dozens of mobilizing leaderships in 57 countries to act locally based on listening, respect for territorial cultures and collective creation.

The first public notice was exclusive to black people, native people, traditional communities, peripheries or favelas, with a household income of up to three minimum wages.

At the beginning, two open workshops on elaborating projects for this public notice helped those interested to apply. The majority of the ideas proposed face the challenge of funding, be it because they are still in their initial stage, or be it because of the complexity of the language and the requirements of some public notices for incentives.

The proposals selected for the micro-investment are the most diverse, composing a beautiful mosaic. They are already happening and include, for example: a poetic-musical project in public schools in Salvador; a virtual museum for the preservation of stories and memories of peripheral territories in Recife; the publication of books by writers from the periphery in Santos; free cultural and communication workshops in Campinas.

The profusion of proposals for “Jovens Ideias” shows how much this public notice format is necessary today and should be considered by financiers committed to the social transformation made by the community and how much Brazil has young leaderships eager for an impulse that helps them to put into practice their full potential, belonging and protagonism.





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