Anna and Livio Michelini
Ten years ago, Anna Conigliaro Michelini, a sociologist, and her husband, Livio Michelini, a physicist, visited Brazil's Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais as lecturers. The ties they made then inspired them - working with the non-governmental organization International Service Volunteers' Association - to launch the Environmental and Social Rehabilitation Programme for Informal Settlements (Favelas).
Under their leadership, Favelas involved the university, federal public agencies, state and local governments, and people living in impoverished human settlements (slums) in a project that raised living conditions in seven cities. It began in Belo Horizonte where citizens lived in sub-human conditions lacking proper health care, housing, sanitation, education, employment and human rights.
The situation highlighted environmental problems - deforestation, soil erosion, flooding increasing landslide risks, massive pollution from lack of sewer systems, potable water, and solid waste disposal services. To combat these problems, the Michelinis worked with Brazilians to develop appropriate sanitation technologies and land planning activities while working to change land tenure legislation. The introduction of urban services - water, sewage, electricity, roads, public transportation, telephones, schools, and health - followed. The project was duplicated in other cities.
In 1988, they won the II International Technology for Development Prize.