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  • This blog is written by specialists from the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Its objective is to provide arguments and ideas that will spark debate about how to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean. This blog is a call to action for the reader. An idea, a project, or a question can make a difference.

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    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    Join us in congratulating the winners of 2015 ALAS-IDB Awards!

    By - 11 Nov 2015

    ALAS Winners

    The ALAS-IDB awards were conceived to recognize and share the commitment of individuals and organizations working in the field of early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The awards are presented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the ALAS Foundation, which is headed by Shakira, the internationally renowned artist. Awards are given in four categories: educators, centers, publications, and innovations.

    The awards recognize outstanding efforts to improve the lives of the youngest of citizens, often under difficult circumstances. One award honors the best example of children’s literature addressing socially relevant issues. In 2015 some 1,200 nominations were received, which reflects the region’s growing interest in early childhood development.

    The four winners and the finalists in the four categories stand out for their commitment and dedication to early childhood development, whether through their work with vulnerable children or by grappling with issues that are rarely addressed. The winners and finalists represent many other organizations and people who work tirelessly every day on behalf of the children of the region.

    The winners are:

    Best Educator 


    The accomplishments of Elisa Guerra are a testimony to her impact in early childhood education. She has published numerous textbooks and established six schools throughout México. She has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her innovative and impactful work, and is currently preparing to launch two new schools in Costa Rica and Brasil. Additionally, with the help of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, she is adapting her methodology for use with kids in Mexico’s low-income communities.

    • Honorable Mentions:
      • Daniel Ortiz (Bogota, Colombia)
      • Liliana del Valle Grisales (Medellin, Colombia)
      • Francy Arango Valencia (Medellin, Colombia)


    Best Publication Twitter-01

    The Black Book of Colors has been translated into more than 14 different languages, providing children from all parts of the world what colors taste and feel like. This book, written in braille and text, shows us how Tomás, a blind boy, smells, feels, and hears colors. Next to each page is an image of the object associated with the mentioned color, printed in relief to give texture to the picture. This way, visually impaired kids can perceive the “tartness of red” through Rosana Farías’ textured illustrations and through the lyrical text written by Menena Cottin, which remind the reader of the beauty we see when we close our eyes and feel.

    • Honorable Mentions:
      • Federico & Federico by Elena Dresser (Cuernavaca, Mexico)
      • Tito and Pepita by Amalia Low (Bogotá, Colombia)
      • Red, Blue by Mireya Tabuas (Caracas, Venezuela)


    Best Innovation 

    Twitter-04 (1)

    Started in Bogota, Colombia, the focus of Fundacion Canguro (Kangaroo Foundation) is to reverse the negative effects of premature birth, many of which impact the way children learn and develop later on. Based on the method of how mother kangaroos take care of their infants, this innovation now has 30 years of proven, successful results, and rigorous evaluations have testified to their effectiveness. Since its foundation, the Kangaroo Foundation has been recognized by multilateral organizations and scaled their model to over thirty countries.


    Best Center 


    Las Golondrinas center, located in Medellin, Colombia, is seeking to restore the social fabric of their once conflicted communities by bringing together children from different backgrounds and teaching them to cooperate at an early age. They are driven by the belief that when children play together, no matter how diverse they are, can learn to resolve their conflicts in a peaceful way, and more importantly, appreciating each other’s differences.


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