♣ Fostering local leaders and networks of disseminators

"♣": 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
  • Both the farming and animal care processes use ecological and novel technologies, designed from both the knowledge that local farmers still use to assist in the care of the rented lands, and from the results of the research carried out there, conducted by partner universities – who either investigate the model of the farm, or use it as a pilot area for the exploration and implementation of innovative alternative technologies and for the formation of a talent pool. The participation of all these actors then allows the farm and its processes to be always monitored and in the process of innovation.

  • The model of the [This/the initiative] that the [This/the initiative] team has designed consists, then, in helping to form a consumer network and in obtaining financing to subsidize the training of communities and their leaders (which they have obtained from foundations such as the Bread for the World, from Germany), so that they can become independent as soon as possible. This is helped by the contribution of volunteers (generally from the consumer’s network), who until now have supported for free with the creation of the web platform mentioned above, offering places to receive and distribute the products in the city and other logistics services, and/or donating clothes, toys, etc.

  • The [This/the initiative] team also spent 3 years to subsidize the communities and train their leaders, so that they could get into contact, know and organize directly with their consumers through the Wechat platform (a kind of fusion between WhatsApp and Facebook widely used in China), as well as another special platform that built a group of volunteers to receive orders and feedback from consumers and make payments. The training offered by the [This/the initiative] team to both the leaders and the other farmers has also included research for the recovery of traditional agricultural technologies, visits to markets of organic agricultural products and projects of Community Supported Agriculture to learn about their methods of preparation and packaging of products, etc.

  • [This/the initiative] also ensures that all its programs are supported by a training of “multiplier” agents, that is, local leaders that can manage and disseminate the programs independently.
    • many Night Schools’ alumni are incorporated into the[This/the initiative]’s development projects. Alumni work as, for example, solar engineers, coordinators of craft workshops or of the local early childhood education centres, cooks for the[This/the initiative] community, or as cultural workers in the community. Others extend the benefits of the PROGRAM into the mainstream education system at the Siksha Karmi and Siksha Niketa schools. Further examples of this integration among projects lie in the training offered to teachers by the[This/the initiative] ’s Health Centre to identify common health issues in their students, and in the vocational training that the children receive.

    Many were first generation learners who today have their children at school. Many children in the program indicate a wish to become teachers. By initiating a first generation of learners, the program is contributing to educational sustainability in the sense of enhancing educational participation across generations

    • [Esta/la iniciativa] busca promover su modelo y escalarlo a través de cursos de capacitación técnica para la instalación y mantenimiento de viveros, de sistemas de captación de agua de lluvia, etc, que ofrece de forma gratuita a campesinos y otras organizaciones tanto nacionales como extranjeras que les visitan.
    • Se está desarrollando un proyecto de “ecoaldea” urbana. Se construyen casas en las que se proyecta que vivan voluntarios que trabajen en los diferentes proyectos durante residencias de seis meses a cambio de alimento, residencia y experiencia. No se ha decidido si estos voluntarios tendrán que pagar por realizar estas residencias de “capacitación”. Según los dueños, esto convertiría a Ectagono en un “proyecto vivo” que realmente forme modos de vivir alternativos, no solo experiencias de un día.
    • [This/the initiative] , which has been in operation from Mexico City since 1996 promoting alternative barter markets (of products and services) all over the country.
    • [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.
    • [Esta/la iniciativa] se dedica a dar asesoría legal y fiscal a organizaciones de la sociedad civil (OSC) para su constitución legal y como donatarias autorizadas, con el fin de fortalecerlas y abrirles las puertas a más apoyos. El régimen de donatarias autorizadas facilita que las iniciativas de desarrollo consigan apoyos financieros (porque pueden ser deducibles de impuestos para los donantes) y les exenta de pagar impuestos. El proyecto surgió con un curso para estudiantes de la Universidad Iberoamericana en la Ciudad de México llamado “Marco Legal y fiscal de la filantropía”. En éste se buscaba llenar dos huecos a la vez, sin necesidad de una gran inversión en trámites y recursos financieros: por un lado, ayudar a “saciar el hambre de asesoría del mundo de las OSC”. Por el otro, contribuir a la formación en este rubro de abogados fiscalistas que pudiesen adquirir experiencia brindando asesorías gratuitas a varias iniciativas durante todo un semestre.
    • Contemplates the training of local stakeholders to follow-up, and supervises its implementation in creating “microcenters” where they meet once a month to disseminate innovations and resolve problems together. For this purpose they are currently preparing a virtual platform as a complementary instrument.
    • [This/the initiative] mainly sustains itself by selling the model (consultancy services) to governments, NGOs, private schools, etc. as a package that includes:

         1. The settlement of demonstrative schools in already existing schools (pilot schools).

         2. The co-participatory adaptation of its prototype guides and learning materials (their methodological structure).

    3. Technical assistance (training different stakeholders including teachers – that are educated in the same way they are expected to educate their students, – parents, administrators) for the application and implementation of the model and for the community’s involvement.

    • it complements the training of local stakeholders with mechanisms for the discussion and dissemination of innovations;
    • [This/the initiative] ’s Strategies for Scalability

    Not only the vision but also the strategies of the organization intend all to create replicable models of action whose objective is to serve as demonstrative references for the State (not the government) and/or the private sector, so they learn better and cheaper ways for designing and implementing public policies/projects and adopt them.

    X argued that the organization’s mission is to create links between communities and partners from abroad rather than monopolizing the former; meaning that their objective is to create development models that can be further scaled by agents that are capable of implementing and funding them sustainably. Once this mission is achieved, the organization’s aim is to change its role from implementing the programs to creating management capacities in the communities, to oversee their continuous persistence and quality after adopted by either the State or the private sector.

    [This/the initiative] is currently requesting an independent agency’s help to systematize[This/the initiative] ’s intervention model to be able to scale it, providing that it considers itself as a low cost and high impact sustainable development alternative whose construction is based on the know-how gained from more than 20 years of working with marginalized populations in the Amazon.

    In collaboration with[This/the initiative] , Ashoka and McKinsey & Company (2010) made a noteworthy multi-annual strategic plan for scaling-up[This/the initiative] ’s program (hereafter referred as the Strategic Plan) to envisage the perspectives and recommendations to expand[This/the initiative] and achieve, in 5 years, a “community integrated development participative model, with proper socio-environmental technologies, with low cost and high impact, consolidated in all direct attention areas and ready for replication in other regions” (x).

    The Strategic Plan explores the characteristics of[This/the initiative] ’s model and its principal strengths and weaknesses before making some suggestions to the organization – all of them very illustrative of the factors related to its level of self-sustainability.

    It describes the organization’s value chain: the inputs it receives (e.g. financial resources, social demands, human resources, data, and information), the means through which the organization works to create value (e.g. participative processes, democracy, partnerships, strategic planning, trainings, exchanges, inter and multidisciplinary approaches, adaptation of international social technologies into the local context, and methodologies for the strengthening of community groups), and its outputs (e.g. learning and information, trust relationships, reference models for development initiatives, self-esteem, autonomy, social inclusion, influence in public policies, social work, trained professionals).

    The Strategic Plan also evaluates[This/the initiative] ’s strengths (e.g. proper and replicable social technologies, measured benefits, co-management capacity, team’s expertise, knowledge on the region, capacity to propose and adapt, network of partners, visibility and credibility obtained, both locally and abroad), its opportunities (e.g. work in a region with global visibility – the Amazon – network of contacts, scope for gaining scale because of the interest that public administrations have on[This/the initiative] ’s work), its weakness (e.g. spread of energy and resources in too many actions, non-satisfactory working conditions, insufficiency in the system of management and systematization of experiences, little participation of the Associates’ Council), and its challenges (lack of stability in the funding sources, limitedness and lack of flexibility of the resources available for institutional strengthening, lack of appropriateness of national policies for the Amazonian region, Amazonian predatory occupation processes).

    Correspondingly, some of the recommended strategies contained in the Strategic Plan for [This/the initiative]’s sustainability and scalability are:

    • The formation of a network of multipliers.
    • The expansion of communication tools.
    • The inter-institutional exchange of methodological processes of expansion.
    • The transfer, dissemination, and replication of environmental technologies.
    • The cooperation with the public and private sector.
    • The methodological reorientation to ensure a greater interaction with public policies and both public and private institutions, identifying common demands and possible cooperation initiatives, using information technologies for gaining scale.

    To enlarge[This/the initiative] ’s reach without compromising its quality, the Strategic Plan recommends dividing the 5 years into 3 stages. During the first one, the areas that are currently intervened are consolidated as a permanent laboratory, its results are more comprehensively systematized, and priority is given to the Institutional Integration (which includes developing its communication means, inter-institutional agreements, methodological exchanges and consultancies, adapted socio-environmental expansion, transference, dissemination, and replication processes).

    During the second stage, the area of dissemination is gradually expanded, starting with[This/the initiative] ’s more consolidated social technologies, especially 1) the health initiative – which includes preparatory actions for scalability (systematization of the Basic Attention Model that[This/the initiative] has implemented and is offering now to the new beneficiaries, consultancy services portfolio, prospective of potential regions and actors for the replication of the model, etc.). And, 2) its integrative development practices: also needs preparatory actions. Start with strategies of participative diagnosis and planning (conjuncture, identification of local actors and their perceptions, research about priorities for short, middle, and long terms, sectorial competences, etc.) culminating with a Development Plan with Recommendations for the application in the area of work.

    Finally, stage 3 is suggested to be about articulating the Amazon with other regions around the globe, attracting proactive and strategic connections.

    • The prototype alternative market model promoted by[This/the initiative] and that inspired the[This/the initiative] Project, comprises, according to Luis Lopezllera’s “Money is not enough, what to do?” Manual (2008), the integration of an alternative economic system that includes at least the following:

    1. The granting of memberships for partners.

    2. The signing of a letter of commitment agreed on the rules of the exchange.

    3. The creation of a user directory based on the planning of a consumer basket (that defines what kind of partners are needed, including foreign partners, if the locals cannot fulfil the need).

    4. The training in person and/or through a brief Operation Manual.

    5. The provision of the barter/exchange vouchers to the partners.

    6. The creation of a regular newsletter that accompanies and strengthens the project.

    7. The creation and distribution of educational and publicizing materials.

    8. The establishment of a promotional team (volunteers).

    9. The organization of regular meetings for the project’s development.

    10. The organization of decisional deliberative assemblies of associated partners (decentralization).

    11. The establishment of cellular stores for the public (that link together, give certainty, and facilitate the buying of products for those who cannot attend the market’s meetings because of logistical problems).

    12. The organization of local fairs, private or public, gatherings, visits, courses, and workshops (introductory lectures and retreats).

    13. The organization of regional or national meetings (with similar networks).

    14. The use of advanced communication and dissemination means.

    15. The procurement of infrastructure and support resources (property for the shop and office, meeting room, exhibition room, furniture, telephone, computer, projector, transportation, support fund, etc.).

    • The establishment of a promotional team (volunteers).
    • [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.

    • [This/the initiative] also ensures that all its programs are supported by training to form “multiplier” agents, that is, local leaders that can manage and disseminate the programs independently.