Youth and Social Innovation: a dialogue on bottom-up social development
Organised under the auspices of UNESCO, this international seminar brings together multiple voices to discuss the lessons, dilemmas and challenges of bottom-up experiences of social development as they intersect and influence civil society and public policy. The seminar will have a particular focus on youth, especially exploring how young men and women generate civic engagement, community building and social innovation.
This dialogue builds on a continuing partnership between UNESCO Brasilia Office, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Brazil-based global grassroots organizations, which initiated with the project “Underground Sociabilities”, an international and inter-institutional multiple stakeholder research partnership that studied the identity, culture and resilience of favela communities in Rio de Janeiro. Through collaborative research, the study mapped out how peripheral actors organized in grassroots initiatives and NGOs in the city of Rio de Janeiro use cultural activities, identity and the imagination to regenerate public spheres and build a positive future for young people at risk of drugs and violence.
Based on the research and its contextual validation, LSE and UNESCO Brasilia Office produced a toolkit designed to translate concepts, resources, tools and strategies into a practical guide that offers a global model of bottom-up social development and urban transformation found in favela organisations. Central to the guide is to contribute to the formulation of public policies that take into account the voices and experiences of grassroots organisations. In addition to discussing and sharing experiences, the seminar will introduce the Spanish version of the toolkit entitled “Desarrollo social de base: un manual práctico”.
With this seminar, UNESCO continues to promote pioneer experiences and engagement with multiple stakeholders in the task of reflecting how new social technologies are related to policy making. At the same time, it extends to Latin America the activities and exchanges that have already occurred in the UK and Brazil seeking to expand the conversation and bridge the gap between government bodies, policymakers, NGOs, activists, researchers, disenfranchised citizens, and grassroots agencies.