Public Mini Libraries

by El Desafio Foundation

2016 came to an end with a fantastic balance regarding Public Mini Libraries. We have seen the transformation power that they have on people, families, kids, granparents connecting with the younger ones trough books and storytelling. Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and 2017 we are preparing our plans to keep on spreading these little magic houses around the city and -why not- the whole country.

Last year we've installed 6 new minilibraries around Rosario city, attracting schools and students and getting them engage in the process. This positive energy also got attention from media, influencers and others that inspired other cities far away, including Bariloche (Patagonia), 3000km away. Therefore we have developed a set of tools, manuals and instructions which is completely open to everyone at no cost, so everyone can replicate the power of the Minilibraries in their own city or town. Making books accessible to everyone, having activities to do in public space, making parks nicer, colorful and happy are great ways to engage citizens into active participation. And that's the beginning of a solution revolution instead of a passive 'complaining mode'. 

Thanks to your support we made another year possible and we keep on growing, making possitive impact in a world that needs good examples, inspiration, peaceful and safe environment for all and equality. Lets keep on moving in that direction together!

How do we create a truly happy city? A city in which all citizens have equal opportunities of development? A city where the voice of the children is heard? Last week we discussed these questions during the second edition of our Ciudades Felices (Happy Cities) Festival in Rosario, Argentina. More than 500 people attended a day full of keynote speeches, roundtables, exhibitions & innovative spaces of interaction. With the presence of different (inter)national speakers - among whom the famous urbanist Gil Peñalosa and the coach of the national Argentine football team Edgardo Bauza - we discussed topics like youth development, urban planning and mobility.

I co-founded El Desafío Foundation more than 11 years ago and to see the ever growing group of youngsters, of which many volunteers was truly moving. We organize the festival to inspire and get inspired, to share our knowledge and make a bigger impact by creating new connections. Currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands I had the opportunity to get a bit of an 'outside view' attending the festival and working with the team for the last 2,5 weeks. Democracy in the making, fueling the hope for a better future; it's so inspiring to be part of this challenge. 

At the festival actors from various backgrounds - entrepreneurs, NGO's, the Municipality, schools, and many more - got together as equals with a common goal. Our youngsters did not only co-create, they also curated the wrap up at the end of the festival. They shared their main concerns and ideas with the Secretary-General of the Municipality and the university chancellor. Their advice: more attention for LGBT rights, sports as a platform for development and sustainable transport and inclusive public spaces. But not just words, also the conclusion that if we want to create a happy city, citizens can't be spectators, we all need to act, and now!

Thank you so much for your support. Only with your help we can give these youngsters the opportunity to create the city they envision. Very soon we can share the after movie and more outcomes of the festival. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information. 


We all know how we want to live and what we want to create. Health, safe places to grow and develop, accesibility to good modes of transportation, economic development and happiness. But to create that we need to convince a lot of people and create a movement. Not everyone has the vision or the time to think about how we can make a transition to that desired picture. But we are accelerating change in Rosario, and sooner than we think probably in the whole country.

The Urban Cycling Lab we told you about in last report is up, running and rocking. We've interwieved 20 influencers from the city and created a fantastic actor and system analysis that will allow us to co-create solutions and ideas to move faster into urban cycling. These influencers are bussiness people, artists, shop owners, educators, representatives from the government and social entrepreneurs.

Meantime, the organization of the Happy Cities Festival 2016 already started. The date is October 13th, and the one-day festival will go around topics like Youth development, Mobility and Social urbanism, Sports for Development and cities as platforms to educate. Mr. Gil Peñalosa, founder of, will be the star of the event, visiting Rosario for his first time. Gil will help to build enthusiasm and the energy needed to keep on accelerating the transition to a more inclusive and sustainable Rosario.

Thanks to your incredible support we can keep on thinking big, and making the world better for all.

Rosario en Bici, El Desafio and city major Fein
Rosario en Bici, El Desafio and city major Fein

We want to move Rosario forward into a sustainable and happy city, this is our goal. A city thought for people, by people. Where everyone can develop, move, be safe and healthy. And our agenda is becoming more imporant every day.

Together with the DRIFT team of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rosario en Bici (local NGO working on cycling) and the city council, we've launched the urban cycling lab. This will be a platform that will show the city of tomorrow, today. It will make visible how we can use public space in a different way, how cycling can estimulate social cohesion, youth development, safety and health. Rosario mobility is in a transition to a more sustainable one, with a lot of pressure on services and infraestructure due to the fast growth of the city. Thinking of the kind of city we want to build for the future is key, and cycling its an answer for sustainability like we saw in other parts of the world.

During the rest of the year, the Urban Cycling Lab team will work together with bussinesses, NGOs, public institutions, schools, universities and many other actors in order to come up with actions, experiments, ideas and innovative approachs to help the city to move forward in terms of cycling. And we are super excited about it. El Desafio is leading this group of proffesionals and that made us proud, but also we understand that this recognition also forces us to deliver, and we will. It's time to move Rosario forward!

El Desafio with the city officials
El Desafio with the city officials

Last time we told you about the first Happy Cities Festival we were organizing in Rosario city. So we did it. Last November we've hosted an incredible event full of energy, igniting conversations about how we can create better cities for youth and people in general. Sports for development, youth development and mobility/urbanism were some of the issues we talked about during the day. There were debate panels, round table, pop up meeting rooms, interactive simulations and polls to engage the public and bussinesses people and policy makers all at once. Around 600 people attended the Festival, also atracted by the great pop-up bar that our own chefs from the cooking program installed that day. 

The event was great to engage people into meaningfull conversations, and everyone gave a clear message that they want to pariticpate in the life and construction of happy cities. Thanks to this we opened lot of minds and eyes, and we inspired citizens to be more active.

Meanwhile we have huge plans for 2016. Besides the Minilibraries project that will keep on running, and the 2nd edition of the Happy Cities Festival, we are working in a new urban intervetion together with a dutch project called Social Sofa. The concept is about revalue public space and make it motivating to people to use it and connect. At this stage we are working hard to see the possibilities and we hope to have more news for you next time.

Thanks to your support we did great things in 2015, and we sure in one year we will be celebrating again for our milestones!

All the best and thanks again!



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Organization Information

El Desafio Foundation

Location: Papendrecht, Zuid Holland - Netherlands
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Mario Raimondi
Rosario, Santa Fe Argentina
$7,811 raised of $18,000 goal
41 donations
$10,189 to go
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