♣ Know-how

"♣": 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
  • One interviewee thought that for ecotourism to make a profit “you must invest time“. The organization through cooperative societies has allowed them to gradually build their capacity for operation. Each cooperative has now commissions (for lodging, food, surveillance, administration, etc.) that have been strengthened by experience and education. The cooperation with experts and university researchers have helped the project develop step by step.
  • The initiative has also been supported by external researchers and professionals who have helped it to formulate alternatives to become self-sustainable. Several of the external experts are part of the “Friends of the Community Ecotourism Network of Los Tuxtlas” group. The group first met during a visit to the community, and supports the initiative by promoting it through social media, inviting people, etc.

  • The network has allowed Geopark staff to guide other geopark initiatives in their validation process, and to share with them their experience and impact, largely achieved due to sustained state support.
  • The initiative’s leaders interviewed thought that the nomination as a UNESCO Global Geopark has benefited them greatly because of the influence and learningthey have received from exchanges with other parks in the network.
  • UNESCO Global Geoparks seek to promote the global agenda for sustainable development by:
    • highlighting cooperation with other geoparks to transfer of skillsand knowledge, to promote intercultural understanding and with this, peace.
  • UNESCO’s criteria:
    1. management body that:
      • operates the area effectively
      • is recognized by local legislation
      • includes scientific experts
      • includes local and national authorities and actors relevant to tourism, environmental, cultural and administrative issues (owners, community groups, tourism agencies, ethnic groups, local organizations, etc.).
    • As a social enterprise that serves as an integrated platform for agricultural development, the farm is maintained with the income received both from the rent of land and animals and from the school trips, mentioned above. In addition, it has set up a dining room that operates during the weekends and a store in which it sells its own products (eggs, meat, vegetables), as well as some from other collectives with similar working approaches (with commission), which makes the visit to the farm more attractive. The farm also offers consultancies and training to officials and organizations that want to replicate the model, as well as to companies that want to adopt greener technologies. It also offers carpentry and local arts workshops. It works with the support of volunteers — some thesis students, other young people who want to experience a way of life different from the one offered by the city — and still relies heavily on donations from both foundations and local governments, which help, in part, to finance scholarships for interns who help manage the farm. This diversity of income sources allows the subsistence of the project in a region where land rent is expensive.

    • To scale up its model of sustainable rural development, [This/The initiative]  Farm has been providing technical consultancies and training in natural agriculture to other rural cooperatives, through a working model that includes: 1. The establishment of a network of local community-based sales channels; 2. The use and promotion of natural agricultural technologies; 3. The development and strengthening of local cooperatives with a comprehensive set of services; 4. The development of local certifications for organic production that empower smallholder farmers by creating a verification process in which they, together with consumers and other stakeholders are directly involved— named  Participatory Guarantee System (PGS); 5. The development of stations for research, knowledge-transfer and skill-development (technical, financial, marketing and social services to smallholder farmers and their communities).

    • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that promotes sustainable development by facilitating community involvementthrough visits, farmland rentals, ecological agriculture demonstrations, consulting services, training and education, technology research and development, as well as theoretical research and policy advocacy.

    • [This/the initiative] supports migrant workers to improve their living conditions in their destination cities by promoting their rights in the public and private sectors, offering training courses and advising them in urgent situations through a free hotline.

    • In 2006, a group of these migrants founded [This/the initiative]. This non-governmental organization created a toll-free hotline service that migrants from the cities of Beijing, Wuhan and Suzhou can call to request counseling in urgent and immediate situations — eg. help to get a job, to resolve legal disputes with their contractors, to defend their social and political rights, to solve health problems, etc. [This/the initiative] offers this advice thanks to the collaboration of a staff of around 10 people and more than 300 volunteers, all of them ex-migrants.

    • [This/the initiative]’s intervention in labor disputes and its tasks of promoting the rights of this sector have generated many resistances and made it difficult to obtain financial support that, rather, usually comes from foundations and foreign embassies (mainly). [This/the initiative] also collaborates with volunteer organizations of universities, hospitals, the justice bureau, unions, news agencies and other government agencies, which in addition to financing support it with courses, training, and know-how. All these associations, coordinated by a department exclusively responsible for public relationships, allow the initiative to work project by project and ensure the gratuity of its services.

    • Work with partnerships both with the communities and with institutions abroad, from the public and the private sector, and with diverse development agendas. This enables the organization to expand these communities’ access not only to primary health but also to a wide variety of social programs that support one another with the transference, adaptation, and application of appropriate social technologies and also in terms of funding (x). It also benefits the foreign partners because they make good use of [This/the initiative]’s experience, know-how, and credibility in the region to access it.
    • Offer consultancy and advisory services to the public and private sectors, including NGOs and social movements (capitalizing on their experience).
    • Uses participatory mapping as the departing point of all of its programs. This methodology not only enhances people’s ownership but also enables the description of people’s integral perspective about their community, its components, conflicts, resources, problems, needs, as well as the possible strategies to respond to all of them.
    • consultancy services portfolio
    • the participation promoted by the Children’s Parliament and the whole organizational structure of the Night Schools has probably one of the most sophisticated structures in the world. Capitalizing on the agency capacity created in those children through the Parliament’s experience could have great social effects that, ultimately, might result in sources of support for the Night Schools.
    • [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.

    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.

    • [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.

    • A plan for institutional integration (which includes developing its communication means, inter-institutional agreements, methodological exchanges and consultancies, transference, dissemination, and replication processes).
    • The inter-institutional exchange of methodological processes of expansion.