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  1. Giancarlo de Vera,

    Good morning to you. I am very impressed by your blog. Given the focus of your blog on human rights, sustainable globalisation, international development and democratic renewal, I thought this story may be of interest to you. The Community Tool Box is a global resource with more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement. Recently, the Community Tool Box has been hosting an international prize for community innovation to address community problems & goals.

    Here’s a little more info:

    Grass-roots efforts to improve the lives of impoverished, marginalized populations around the globe answered the call when the Community Tool Box solicited applications for its first “Out of the Box” competition in July 2010.

    More than 300 projects based in 42 countries – from Argentina to Zimbabwe – applied for the prize which will recognize outstanding community innovation efforts that stress low-cost, small-scale, non-technical solutions to local problems. Ten finalists were named in November. Voting for the winner is underway at http://ctb.ku.edu/ and continues until January 31, 2011.

    Finalists include the following:

    · An effort to empower and transform the socially disadvantaged communities in Rodriguez and San Mateo, by concentrating on Community Development/Education, Enterprise Development/Microfinance and Capacity Building.

    · An effort in Maharashtra, India to prevent birth defects and disabilities by discouraging child marriage, delaying conception of the first child and promoting breast feeding

    · A business-citizen partnership to mitigate poverty in America’s largest and most distressed region – the Mississippi Delta

    · A collective in West Bengal, India working to remove the stigma of mental illness – a severely neglected issue in India – which targets women with psychological disorders who are often victims of discrimination, abandonment and physical abuse

    · An effort to build a sustainable re-settlement village in Kenya, Africa, for people displaced by the outbreak of the post-election violence of 2008

    · A neighborhood project to foster citizen activism, volunteerism and community pride to combat gang activity and eradicate neighborhood blight in Monrovia, Calif.

    · A community training project in southeast Africa to prepare specialists in orphan care, health, water and sanitation, education and agriculture.

    · A collaborative effort to reduce alcoholism and substance abuse among youth in Genesee County, New York.

    · An effort targeting girls orphaned or affected by AIDS in Kaimbu, Kenya that provided sanitary napkins to females who would otherwise stay home from school while menstruating.

    · An initiative in Rwanda, Uganda and Guatemala to build and sustain a preschool, gain access to clean water and increase food security.

    According to Stephen B. Fawcett, Director of the Work Group for Community Health and Development that sponsors the Community Tool Box, the sheer number of projects submitted to the contest testifies to how much community innovation is underway in the far corners of the world. “The power of communities to take action is a wonderful thing to behold. Through this awards competition, we see that grass-roots change is alive and well throughout the world.” he said. “The competition is making it possible for people around the world to share what works and to inspire others to take action.”
    First prize for the Out of the Box competition is $5,000 plus a Community Tool Box workstation. Anyone may cast a vote. The results will be posted on the Community Tool Box website by February 15, 2011.
    The Work Group for Community Health and Development is one of the centers of the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas, http://www.communityhealth.ku.edu/.

    Wishing you the very best,
    Michelle Loewenstein

    1. The “Community Tool Box” project is very impressive. Thanks for sharing the link. I cannot agree more with the thought that an individual can be the stimulus to make a difference in a community, state, nationally, and internationally. It takes a village to bring us all together!

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