♣ Differentiation

"♣": Estrategias específicas empleadas por los estudios de caso para incrementar su nivel de auto-sustentabilidad.Pueden estar en inglés o español. Por favor usa el traductor del menú lateral 

"♣": Specific strategies used by the case studies to increase their degree of self-sustainability.They might be in English or in Spanish. Please use the side menu translator
  • Although the initiative is in serious economic difficulty because of reduced government support, surviving members believethat ecotourism is more sustainable than the sale of natural resources or agriculture. They believe that local resources, such as waterfalls, and wildlife, are a form of capital that can attract visitors.
  • The Shaolin Temple is probably the biggest attraction of the place for its shows and training in martial arts and Buddhism offered to thousands of students from China and around the world. As the cradle of kungfu, the temple hosts an international festival in these arts every 4 years with a parade and exhibitions that attract a significant number of visitors.

  • Clearly, the region does not lack attributes to implement a successful model for conservation, research, education, cultural exchange and tourism.

  • The initiative of GreenPrice consists in intercepting products whose best before date has not exceeded 2 months (buying them at a reduced price from the distributors or suppliers, or obtaining them in concession or as a donation); review with strict seriousness their packaging, smell, taste, quality; catalog and inventory them; and sell them at prices 30-40% lower than the market to their clientele through an online supermarket (with home delivery to facilitate the process to customers) and through the organization of fairs in neighborhoods and universities, as well as corporate and environmental events (to bring them closer to potential consumers). This creates another step in the food supply chain that facilitates the best use of food.

    • Systematizing the components, working methodologies and results of the initiatives’ models, showing supporters the effects of their contributions and demonstrating the initiative’s differentiated capacity to make them cost-effective (which would also help in gaining  visibility and thus, further support for the initiative for the settling of new projects).
    • The chief purpose is to provide access to education for children who cannot attend the local public schools because they open only during the day, when more than 60% of children in the region are expected to help with their families’ subsistence activities
    • the kind of children who attend the [This/the initiative]: poor, low caste, and with illiterate parents. Approximately 75% of the Night Schools’ students are girls. This is a fairly recent phenomenon, since with the increasing coverage of public schools more boys are going to ‘normal’ schools, while girls are required to help with their families’ economic activities. As a consequence, the[This/the initiative] offers the only education option for many girls in the region
    • The[This/the initiative] teachers, in fact, encourage children to transition to mainstream schooling, but without much success. Private schools are generally regarded to be of poor quality and expensive, while government school teachers and supervisors are regarded as too informal and frequently violent with children. Moreover, the knowledge taught in mainstream schools is considered ‘bookish’ and largely irrelevant to their lives and needs, while students are apparently highly motivated by the Night Schools, their teachers, and what they learn there. Although the number of public schools in the region has increased – because of Education for All initiatives, the Central government’s policies, and the influence that the[This/the initiative] has had over the years – attending day schools remains a considerable challenge for these children.
    • On the other hand, the nightly schedule, although relevant to their needs, is difficult for children who have been working all day in the fields under a hot sun. The older children tend to have greater concentration capacities than the younger ones, although the latter will refuse to admit feeling sleepy. The school experience seems to be genuinely enjoyable for them. Children reported that they particularly enjoy what they learn, learning to read and write, to be able to read letters for their parents, learning to count, exchanging ideas, singing, painting. Some children who attend schools during the day also like attending the Night Schools because they like what they learn there. The same happens with some children who, after finishing the[This/the initiative], continue to attend the Night Schools.
    • In contrast to the frequently punitive measures employed by local authorities to ensure school attendance (for example, making an educational qualification a prerequisite for a driving license), the[This/the initiative], mindful of the causes that prevent families from accessing education, looks for the children in most need and adapts its program to their local socio-economic and cultural context. This is not only a key aspect of the[This/the initiative]’s success in attracting these children into school, but a primary source of its self-sustainability and of the quality and relevance of the education they provide.
    • The[This/the initiative]’s inherent sources of sustainability that have managed to keep it active (yet at risk) in ensuring children this educational right are illustrative, on the other hand, on means through which the unequal ownership can be tackled.
    • providing legal and environmental advisory services to the local communities that own these areas and who used to supply wood to logging companies until, with the help of the organization, they organized a new scheme for meeting their needs without finishing the no-renewable resources of their subsistence.
    • the[This/the initiative] Project and the[This/the initiative] was explored only to complement its information, both initiatives’ central objective is reducing their communities’ dependency on the peso-based national economy, which is not guaranteeing that resources flow into their localities, pushing their inhabitants to migrate or live in poverty
    • The[This/the initiative] has 26 years of experience working with socially and geographically excluded populations, many of them of the caboclo indigenous-descendants group, in the Brazilian Amazon region of the Western Para state.

    These communities inhabit environmental conservation areas because of which they have hardly received the benefits of public services.[This/the initiative] emerged as a response to that vacuum, focusing in what communities initially claimed as their priority: health services.

    The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program, for example, implements demonstrative initiatives for resources’ management and the acquisition of legal certifications to increase family income generation, increase food security, and reduce the impact on the environment, as socioeconomic strategic components to improve the quality of life, environmental conservation, and regional development (e.g. the communitarian ecotourism or the crafts production with local forest’s resources).

    This program responds to the fact that the Amazonian communities live in an extremely vulnerable region where land occupation and resources mismanagement are the prevailing practices, and also that the government conditional cash transfers’ development model Bolsa Familia have resulted in the disappearance of local production and extreme dependency from the communities to external subsidies

    [This/the initiative] started as a health delivery program, providing adapted technologies such as micro-systems for the provision and treatment of water, house filters, wells, and rustic pits.

    In the year 2006, the organization acquired a boat (the Abare Ship) that, making regular rounds from community to community, approached people with an interdisciplinary team presented as Mocorongo Great Circus teaching people means to take care of their hygiene and prevent diseases with fun and participatory games. Personnel from the boat also offered basic medical and dental attention, vaccinations, family planning trainings, minor surgeries, etc.

    The success of the project resulted in its absorption by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and in its escalation to State level in 2010.

    [This/the initiative] has never had schools. Compulsory Education’s coverage in the area is almost 100%, partly because of[This/the initiative]’s advocacy efforts in the last 20 years. It rather had focus on complementary activities to the work of public schools. Since more than 53% of the local population is below 19 years old,[This/the initiative] mainly works with children and the youth with programs for community and environmental education, cultural promotion and diffusion, digital inclusion, and complementary actions for schools. During the latter, local education-related actors (communities, schools, and multiplier of actions) are trained to create supporting regionalized learning materials with participatory methodologies. This counteracts the lack of relevance of local schools’ curricula.

    As with the health program, while[This/the initiative]’s efforts where concentrated until not long ago into complementing schools’ activities, they are now focused on a partnership with 5 schools, the Carlos Chagas Foundation, and the Education Ministry of Santarem municipality, to work on a pilot project for making education for the Amazonian populations more relevant.

    For this purpose, they also use the participatory mapping methodology. Children draw maps of their communities that include not only their inhabitants, but also their institutions, geographical conditions, resources, etc. This methodology helps both[This/the initiative] and educators to identify the perception children have about the place they live, what is important, whose concepts are embedded into their mindset, etc. Based on these concepts and images,[This/the initiative] helps educators and school authorities to sensitize teachers about what is relevant in the region (many teachers are not from the communities where they work), and adapt local materials and the curricula with images, subjects, and methodologies that are more familiar to the children.

    The objective of this partnership is to set an example of how to improve the quality of the public schools in the region that, if successful, is to be scaled to the whole municipality. That is, as the case of the health program, to serve as a demonstrative experience that aims at being escalated by the State, with the argument that it is the latter’s responsibility to provide access to quality education for all. The project so far has been stopped because the Carlos Chagas Foundation cancelled all of its funding this year.

    • The systematization of the[This/the initiative]’s model (done by an independent and external institution), clarifying what it offers that the public schools don’t, how is it able to resolve the problem of access to education for its children and the State is not, and why is its model more relevant to its children and their communities than that of public schools. That is, systematize the models’ contents and its results.
    • Once a reference model is agreed
    • [This/the initiative] in Colombia has been internationally recognized because of its pedagogic model for quality rural education in rural areas (especially in multi-grade and poverty-stricken schools) that has attracted the attention of many countries’ governments. The model’s success in raising schools’ quality relates to its comprehensive focus on academic improvement, equity in education opportunities, and the community’s involvement (the model counts, for example, with a Children’s and a Parents’ government that run the school).
    [This/the initiative] mainly sustains itself by selling the model to governments, NGOs, private schools, etc. as a package of consultancy services that includes the settlement of demonstration schools in already existing schools (pilot schools), the co-participatory adaptation of its prototype guides and learning materials (their methodological structure), and technical assistance (training to different stakeholders) for the application and implementation of the model and for the community’s involvement. This way[This/the initiative] capitalizes on its know-how on the systematization of the school’s processes to promote stakeholders’ ownership of it and on the adaptation of the model to different contexts, offering an educational solution to improve quality, effectiveness, equity, and sustainability of education.

    • model is in itself a tool to make schools highly self-sustainable because: a) it is systemic – works with teachers, students, and parents in all educational aspects; b) uses the promotion of social participation as its transversal dimension – all stakeholders participate in educational decisions, which motivates their ownership of the projects; c) it is trans-sectoral – it promotes the formation of skills as the basis of entrepreneurship reducing rural children’s migration to the cities, and emphasis is put on children’s application of their knowledge within their family and community; d) it complements the training of local stakeholders with mechanisms for the discussion and dissemination of innovations; e) it is cost-effective – although initial expenses are heavy not so the future incidental ones; f) it promotes interculturality – the national curriculum is reinforced but they place strong emphasis on the relevance of education and the appreciation of rural life and local knowledge, which has immediate effects in the community’s life and, as a result, in the involvement of parents in the learning process
    • a rural primary education pedagogic alternative that has attracted the attention of 40 countries’ governments (many of whom have adopted it, especially in Latin America, but also as far as Vietnam), and received many international awards for its contribution to improving the quality of education around the world
    • what[This/the initiative] offers to rural schools is, as its founder said during the interview, the “translation of complexity into manageable action” through technical assistance based on the organization’s experience and know-how on the adaptation of the model to different contexts, offering an educational solution to improve quality, effectiveness, equity, and sustainability of education.
    • [Esta/la iniciativa] busca, desde 2008, atender una de las más importantes carencias de la Universidad X: la desvinculación que existe entre sus miembros e instituciones, y con otros sectores de la sociedad, y que le impide aprovechar al máximo el capital intelectual de su comunidad para atender problemas del país que por su naturaleza multi-factorial y multidimensional, requieren de análisis e intervenciones integrales.

    Ese es precisamente el objetivo del[Esta/la iniciativa]: catalizar discusiones pertinentes y desarrollar las herramientas estructurales, conceptuales y metodológicas que faciliten que cualquier miembro de la universidad, independientemente de su campo de conocimiento o adscripción, tenga las condiciones apropiadas trabajar de forma colaborativa (inter y/o transdisciplinaria) en estos problemas transversales, aportando sus diversos enfoques y conocimientos. Esto tanto para proyectos a largo plazo como para la efectiva respuesta de la comunidad académica a problemáticas emergentes con carácter urgente. Entre estas herramientas el[Esta/la iniciativa] ha ideado, hasta ahora, la celebración de reuniones focales y foros de análisis, el préstamo de sus instalaciones para encuentros entre la comunidad universitaria, la puesta en práctica de seminarios, cursos y congresos amparados en programas sombrilla con carácter presuntamente transversal y sujetos a evaluación periódica de pertinencia — varios de ellos accesibles a agentes externos gracias a un sistema de telecomunicaciones que permite su transmisión en vivo a través del internet, extendiendo su impacto y facilitando vías alternativas de comunicación y cooperación. Además, el[Esta/la iniciativa] propone el paradigma de la complejidad, que cuestiona la capacidad de las actuales herramientas disciplinarias de investigación, docencia y divulgación para comprender y abordar dichos problemas, y aporta nuevos enfoques, recursos, métodos, y metodologías. El Centro también le ha apostado a una organización y estructura administrativas que buscan ser flexibles y de buen balance costo-beneficio con miras a garantizar la relevancia, integralidad y capacidad de resiliencia de su proyecto.

    El[Esta/la iniciativa] es un proyecto original y pertinente en y para la universidad, pues le ofrece un espacio cuya función ex profesa es atender una de sus más importantes carencias (x): la de mecanismos que faciliten de forma efectiva que los distintos miembros de la comunidad universitaria, con sus variados objetos de estudio, enfoques y campos conceptuales, se encuentren para trabajar en conjunto temas transversales de relevancia a los problemas que aquejan a la sociedad. Ése es precisamente el objetivo de este[Esta/la iniciativa]: catalizar discusiones pertinentes y desarrollar las herramientas conceptuales y metodológicas que faciliten dicho trabajo inter y transdisciplinario, para lo cual propone el paradigma de la complejidad.

    La vinculación con otras instancias de investigación. El[Esta/la iniciativa] opera con un modelo de red que pretende, entre otros, que investigadores de varias instituciones pasen temporadas significativas en sus instalaciones (residencias) para trabajar de forma colaborativa en proyectos inter y transdisciplinarios. Si bien este modelo ha sido bienvenido por muchas de éstas instituciones, que han encontrado en el Centro un medio para fortalecer sus lazos con investigadores de otras instancias, se reporta que también hay las que han opuesto resistencia a que sus investigadores abandonen sus centros de adscripción con el argumento de no ver en ello beneficios para sus propios proyectos.

    • [Esta/la iniciativa] es un negocio de hospedaje que fue creado por una familia de origen urbano en la sierra de Puebla, México, con dos fines: encontrar un modelo alternativo de existencia que les permitiese una mejor calidad de vida y ofrecer a los visitantes un espacio diferente tanto para descansar como para desarrollar sus proyectos personales.

    Una gama integral de medios para el descanso y el entretenimiento que hacen al lugar más atractivo para distintos tipos de huéspedes, diferenciándolo de otros hospedajes de la región: comedores, temazcal, un observatorio, cancha de squash, espacios para eventos (útiles para diversas necesidades específicas: paseos escolares, cursos de formación humana, bodas, retiros, etc).

    En el[Esta/la iniciativa] todo el año es temporada alta. Esto se debe, en opinión de sus creadores, a que es un proyecto diferente. Y también a sus fuentes de publicidad

    A dicho éxito del proyecto ha ayudado la práctica de re-invertir todas las ganancias. También le ha servido el hecho de que sus promotores aceptan y fomentan, además del pago con dinero convencional, la práctica del trueque con los clientes (a quienes prefieren llamar visitantes). A la fecha este sistema les ha permitido intercambiar noches de hospedaje por publicidad, paneles solares, botellas de alcohol, e incluso trabajo – todo ello tras discutir la conveniencia para ambas partes de forma directa. Esta última modalidad de intercambio, el trabajo, es la única que no ha funcionado bien, pues al parecer ha habido mucho abuso por parte de los visitantes (que no trabajan lo prometido o se quedan más de lo acordado, por ejemplo). El trueque permite además que el[Esta/la iniciativa] pueda cumplir mejor con su misión de apoyar los proyectos personales de los visitantes, que son de distinta índole (retirados, mochileros, tesistas).

    “Proyecto otro nivel porque todos tienen un para qué venir. Y queremos que estén aquí contentos, en paz”.

    • Cómo convences de que es buen proyecto? Demostrando que es viable, original (diferenciación), aportando buenos argumentos (advocacy capacity), demostrando historial de éxito (empresa exitosa porque siempre ha utilizado los apoyos como prometido  y ha tenido resultados: confianza basada en resultados), haciendo buena publicidad en el proceso, cultivando credibilidad.
    • La sustentabilidad de[Esta/la iniciativa] es factible, en gran parte, a que hay muy pocos expertos en la materia y que el proceso de las autoridades hacendarias no es suficientemente transparente. Esta diferenciación le ha hecho de varios clientes que le han recomendado de voz en voz: “es un negocio noble porque siempre se necesita”
    [Esta/la iniciativa] busca:

    Sustentarse (es ella y ya no trabaja en colaboración con equipo fijo), por eso ya sólo trabaja con OSC que puedan pagarle.

    Apoyar algunos proyectos especialmente interesantes

    • Para facilitar la venta de los árboles fomentan dos tipos de colaboración que aseguran la integridad del proyecto y con ella su mayor proyección y atractivo sin la necesidad de invertir recursos extra:

    Colaboración estrecha y de mutuo beneficio con otras Sociedades Anónimas (S.A.):

    -Una ofrece paseos de integración, retiros y pláticas a la medida para empresas (Coca Cola, El Metro, Coppel, etc), lo que le sirve a [Esta/la iniciativa] para hacerse de recursos extra y publicidad.

    -Otra, Hacienda X (desde 1999), ofrece alojamiento (hotel y campamentos); visitas culturales al Museo de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz y al Museo de los Volcanes, al laberinto inglés, al parque de los venados, las águilas y las serpientes acariciables; instalaciones de deportes extremos como la tirolesa. Todos estos servicios y más están disponibles gratuitamente a los clientes de [Esta/la iniciativa]. Además, la Hacienda le envía sus clientes a éste último en visitas diarias a cambio de lo cual éste les regala pequeños árboles, les ofrece pláticas sobre manejo sustentable de los bosques y paseos por el vivero y el bosque.

    -Otra más organiza visitas escolares que son reconocidas por la Secretaría de Educación Pública, pues están diseñadas de manera tal que sirvan para reforzar la enseñanza de materias del plan de estudios como ciencias, educación ambiental (manejo de basura, aprovechamiento del agua de lluvia, etc), civismo, etc. Estas visitas (van como 20 escuelas al día) tienen un costo de$140 pesos por alumno y representan un ingreso extra para [Esta/la iniciativa], quien a cambio obsequia cupones de descuento en árboles de navidad para cada alumno, un árbol pequeño del vivero y un certificado de participación. Aunque esta colaboración le es redituable a [Esta/la iniciativa] en términos financieros y de publicidad, un reto que tiene que vencer para asegurar un mayor impacto de su objetivo de sensibilización ambiental es la significativa apatía que parece caracterizar a buena parte de los alumnos y maestros que les visitan (una tercera parte según nuestra fuente).

    Colaboraciones de mutuo beneficio con la población local:

    -[Esta/la iniciativa] provee las instalaciones para un Bazar Navideño que da oportunidad a comerciantes durante la temporada alta de vender sus productos — a quienes selecciona en función de garantizar la diversidad en la oferta de productos y con ello, el mayor atractivo del bazar. Aunque la renta que [Esta/la iniciativa] recibe de éstos sólo le alcanza para mantener el lugar y no le representa ninguna ganancia monetaria, le sirve para hacer su lugar de venta de árboles más atractivo a gente que viene de otras partes del país.

    -Lo mismo sucede con el Mercado de comida navideño, en cuyo casi ni siquiera se le cobra renta a los vendedores, pues la mayoría son locales.

    -[Esta/la iniciativa] da permiso a pepenadores locales de recoger y aprovechar la basura, lo que le ayuda a su vez a mantener sus instalaciones limpias.

    -También da permiso a los pastores locales de traer sus borregos a pastar, lo que a [Esta/la iniciativa] le sirve para que éstos corten el pasto y le abonen.

    • La sustentabilidad de[Esta/la iniciativa] es factible, en gran parte, a que hay muy pocos expertos en la materia y que el proceso de las autoridades hacendarias no es suficientemente transparente. Esta diferenciación le ha hecho de varios clientes que le han recomendado de voz en voz: “es un negocio noble porque siempre se necesita”
    • Increasing the capacity of the[This/the initiative] to attract funding by putting emphasis on connecting the donors with the beneficiaries by creating a portfolio for the donors of the Solar Night Schools Program (in specific) that includes concrete information about:

    1. The problem that the Night Schools address.

    2. The[This/the initiative]’s mission, vision, and organizational scheme – personnel, programs, etc.

    3. The Solar Night Schools Program (a systematization of the model and how it works).

    4.The results obtained so far from the Solar Night Schools Program — qualitative (case studies) and quantitative (statistics) information that can connect the donors with what their funding might support and explain to them how was the region before the Night Schools started and how is it now.

    5. The organization’s financials.

    a. How does the[This/the initiative] collect money for the Night Schools, how does it use it, and how is it distributed.

    b.[This/the initiative]’s financial self-sustainability (here could be included the Community Contributions Inventory suggested in[This/the initiative]’s R1).

    6.  A “Gift Catalogue” where options are offered to the donors about means to contribute with items, activities, or services for the children and explaining how are they going to be used.

    7. Emotional connection with the donor: a conclusive text that concretely explains to the donor how their contribution is going to benefit the Solar Night Schools Program, and more importantly, the children and their communities.