Fundación Acción Joven, an award-winning Costa Rican non-profit organization, is aiming for yet another accolade to add to its already impressive list of achievements.
Acción Joven’s founder and Ashoka fellow, Jose Aguilar Berrocal, is a finalist in a nationwide leadership competition in his home country of Costa Rica, one that promises to provide an important awareness platform to its winner.
Jose’s nomination merit comes mostly from his work as founder and president of Fundación Acción Joven (FAJ), a non-profit organization that aims to reduce high school dropout rates to zero. Acción Joven has been very successful in the past: It has a proven and constant record of effectively lowering dropout rates in the schools in which the program has been implemented (currently they are working with 10 high schools across Costa Rica, all of them located in areas of high social risk)
As if that weren’t enough, FAJ also has a national declaration of educational interest from the Ministry of Education, validating everything they do as if it came from the government itself.
FAJ’s methods rely on empowering both teachers and students of at-risk high schools, providing them with the necessary tools to identify the problems surrounding them, and making themselves the protagonists of their solution. It is the implementation of a model invented by Aguilar himself, called “Integral Model for the Prevention of the Student Drop-out”. It was his graduation project from when he was opting for his first master’s degree, a project that many of his teachers said was nice enough on paper, but would never work in real life.
7 years and another master’s degree later, (This one on Development Management from the London School of Economics, and on a scholarship from the British consulate’s Chevening program) Jose’s idea has materialized into Fundación Acción Joven, one of the most solid and effective solutions to the problem of student dropouts. It’s a problem with alarming statistics: According to the Ministry of Education, 45% of Costa Rican 17 year olds are not in the country’s education system.
Winning the leadership competition would signify not just a triumph for Fundación Acción Joven, but it would also help secure an important awareness platform – The contest is sponsored by one of the biggest media networks in the country, and a win would allow Acción Joven’s message to reach far beyond its usual means, and would become an immense aid in their mission.
You can vote for Jose Aguilar by visiting this link: http://www.lideres.cr/vote and clicking on the “like” button under Jose Aguilar. You can also learn more and support Fundación Acción Joven, by visiting their website at http://www.accionjoven.org/index