♣ Mapping and planning inherent sources of sustainability, capabilities and corrosive disadvantages

"♣": 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
  • RECT’s development plan focuses on community peasant ecotourism. The communities, each organized into cooperative societies comprising several families, analysed which local resources could be used. They carried out environmental impact assessments to identify the number of visitors that could be received without affecting the environment. They have trained the participating villagers and have distributed responsibilities so that all aspects of the eco-tourism industry are covered.
  • The detailed and holistic development planthat allowed Songshan to acquire the UNESCO label, considered aspects such as:
    • the evaluation of local geological resources of potential tourist interest, as well as human, aquifer, forestry, environmental, artistic and cultural resources.
    • the delimitation of the protected area
    • the legislation for the protection and management of geological and natural relics, and for the planning of the growth of the surrounding urban areas
  • Within these spaces, for example, initiatives might devote to purposely study, trace and plan on how to directly deal with the corrosive disadvantages that are standing in the way of their objectives. Concurrently, they can work on mapping, creating, monitoring, capitalizing and reinforcing their different inherent sources of sustainability (the local resources and know-how with which they already count). This way they can take advantage of them to strengthen the local economy, reducing dependency on resources from abroad, and improving the effectiveness of their outcomes. That is, positive outcomes that are actually, and not only figuratively, available to the people (positive liberties), and that, consecutively, favor the possibilities of their initiatives to be sustained.
    • Removing corrosive disadvantages for the effective and thus sustainable implementation of a development initiative might imply special financial and institutional arrangements and the design of new strategies related to the management, the means of acquisition, the purpose and the diversity of the funding.
    • Creating and capitalizing on the local resources, which could be helped by:
        •  Fostering the initiatives’ beneficiaries production of local goods and services through entrepreneurial or cooperative schemes which surpluses can be reinvested in their own communities (and that might be supported with local barter systems)
        •  Creating a parallel for-profit section or even enterprise within the initiative that generates surpluses to be invested on its social objective (e.g. selling consultancy services packages or training workshops based on the initiative’s know-how and particular experience, charging for guided visits to the initiative or the local area, etc.)
        •  Establishing parity funds schemes that capitalize on the local contributions and address funders’ concerns about how the frequent lack of ownership of the programs by the beneficiaries tends to result in their investments being non-sustainable
      •  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).
    • initiatives that already count with a certain degree of local ownership showed us that this can be capitalized if concrete efforts are devoted to track and systematize the value of the services and resources already provided by the communities/stakeholders (creating for example, community contributions inventories). These can help in addressing donors’ concern about the lack of local ownership that they know treats the long term sustainability of their investments, and in facilitating the settling of parity/matching funds mechanisms that take into account the value of these contributions, without compromising beneficiaries’ capacity to negotiate their views and responsibilities.
    • There are numerous ways in which the program’s local community is already contributing in non-monetary ways to the sustainability of the Night Schools. The degree to which the local community has appropriated the program (as evidenced in their participation in providing management, supervision, infrastructure, funding for activities and materials, etc.) is a crucial point to note, for at least two reasons:

    -It means that almost the only expenses that are not being covered by the community are the teachers’ salaries and some costs for activities that they cannot bear.

    -It means that this initiative already bears the hallmarks of sustainability, given that it is well-known that development interventions are generally successful to the extent that they are appropriated by and integrated into the communities where they are targeted (development interventions are generally seen to fail when project funding ceases or when external project advisers are withdrawn, probably because community ‘take-up’ or ‘buy-in’ has been limited, making the project unsustainable without such community investment and ownership).

    Recommendations made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R1: Make a Community Contributions Inventory enumerating and detailing all contributions provided by families, communities, children, mentioning their monetary value in US dollars (e.g. If the place offered by the community for the school were to be rented instead of simply facilitated, how much should they be receiving for that rent; if the children were charging for their supervisory role how much would they be receiving). Additionally, based on that Inventory, find out the percentages of those contributions to be able to show the donors what percentage of each kind of participation is done by whom.

    R2: Find a Donor that works with the Matching Funds Scheme, or establish it with one of the current donors using the Community Contributions Inventory (referred in R1) to promote an understanding in which for every X amount of dollars that the[This/the initiative] contributes, the Foundation commits to contribute, in return, with 2x or 3x (depending on the established parity). This scheme will give the Foundation the security that if[This/the initiative] stops contributing with x, the Foundation will stop as well. If the[This/the initiative] manages to get a matching fund with a 1 for 1 parity it would be already doubling its budget.

    • the[This/the initiative]e’s current budgeting process is already highly decentralized, which means that there are many actors supervising it at the same time. After receiving a donation or grant, the[This/the initiative]’s main office, known as the Tilonia office, sends the money directly (that is, bank to bank) to its branch offices – the Field Research Centres (FRC) and the Associated Partner Organizations – who, in turn, transfer it to the Village Education Committees (VEC)’s accounts. The latter are managed together by a member of the FRC and those of the VEC, which are closer to the communities. A mechanism to ensure certainty on how the money is spent would strengthen the model.
    • Regarding the Participation in the Carbon Bond Market Scheme:

    One of[This/the initiative]’s main strengths and most well-known contributions in the development field is the Solar Energy Program, which is already greatly intertwined with its other initiatives – including the Night Schools – that are largely possible due the provision of the solar lanterns that allow them to run at night. Moreover, many Night School alumni participate in the Solar Energy Program once they have graduated.

    This means that, so far, the Night Schools are already part of the Solar Energy Program, which generates renewable energy and therefore is eligible to participate in schemes such as the carbon bond market.

    Recommendation made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R5: To design a strategy to integrate more solidly and consciously the Solar Night Schools Program to the[This/the initiative]’s UNESCO Learning Centres for Sustainable Community Development (Mason & Maclean, 2011), and find an intermediary (such as Terra Global Capital) that introduces it to the international carbon bond market and deals with all the procedures involved in this funding source.

    Money collected by this means can also be included into the Capital Fund (see R3) and ensured through a Trust Fund (see R4) as[This/the initiative] does to strengthen the financial sustainability of its project.

    • inspired by the[This/the initiative], which has operated from Mexico City since 1996 promoting alternative barter markets (of products and services), local university teachers in 2010 created an alternative market project popularly known as “The[This/the initiative] Project” as a tool to boost the local economy (promoting the circulation of goods which had no buyers due to the absence of conventional money in the place) and reduce external dependence (on resources and on the values from the printing and distribution of economic currency).

    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 above mentioned directory lists all the goods and services whose purchase accepts payment with Tumin (food, carpentry, tourism, education services, etc.). These businesses are also promoted through the magazine mentioned in subsection “d” of the previous point. The diversity of the partners is a crucial factor, because it allows a balance between the needs and the supply (says the current coordinator of the[This/the initiative] Project).

    • The Children’s Parliament is itself a model for the exchange of ideas. This could be the basis for the exchange of other valuables (knowledge, things… it would be necessary to define what, from a participatory assessment of what is in the region in terms of credits of trust, alienation. Namely: to go from parliamentarianism to economy with something that replaces money – or complements it – being careful not to replicate the criticized existing schemes).
    [This/the initiative] could detect exchangeable value goods (products or services, existing or potential, between members of the[This/the initiative] or its beneficiaries) with which an exchange network can be created to complement, rather than replace, the use of the already scarce rupees circulating in the region, strengthening the social organization and all issues arising from a new economy based on trust and less dependent on the outside.

    • The Territorial Development Program is the basis of the social and political support of all of[This/the initiative]’s work, since it enables people to manage their own development by strengthening their self-management capacities and adapting the program to local conditions.

    The program assists local leaders seeking to ensure ownership of popular initiatives implemented by the project as a whole, and works primarily to consolidate the process of land use and land tenure…strengthening regional representations in the social control of public policies in defense of their land, and good stewardship of their natural resources for economic, social, and environmental viability (x).

    For this purpose they use participatory mapping, a methodology through which the communities sit together to draw a map of their region, and:

    a. Document the territory where they live;

    b. Gather all their information to construct geographic databases;

    c. Determine the most relevant problems;

    d. Visualize business opportunities in the region; and

    e. Use them as a basis to program both[This/the initiative]’s and the government’s developmental intervention in the region, and to manage their own lands, enable territorial regularization, and promote the sustainable use of local resources.

    The mapping serves as a “document of reality” that allows not only[This/the initiative] but also government bodies to better design their policies and programs in the region in different areas.

    • [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.

    Based on the social technique (mentioned before) called “participatory mapping”,[This/the initiative] makes, altogether with the communities it serves, a diagnosis of local conditions, challenges, problems, and priorities and, based on them, it uses art, games, and communication as means for each of its programs. The participatory mapping not only allows the communities to visualize themselves and their context but to become agents of their own development, and define strategies and roles. The above is particularly important because the local population lacks an entrepreneurial mindset, most probably as a consequence of a governmental intervention that has not been particularly keen to include them in its development programs (x). Although it is not voluntary, the social ownership and participation created with[This/the initiative]’s participatory methodologies functions as its model’s basis and source of sustainability, “because this way the communities become part of the projects’ developers and not only their beneficiaries” (x).

    • 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.
    • [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.

    • 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
    • Participative diagnosis and planning (conjuncture, identification of local actors and their perceptions, research about priorities for short, middle, and long terms, sectorial competences, etc.)
    • The program’s potential optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, which includes financial constraints.
    • strengths (including the abovementioned systematization of its achievements, its co-management capacity, credibility obtained, and the extent of social participation with which it works), opportunities, weaknesses (including the lack of systematization of its model, the working conditions, and the management of the organization’s energy and resources), and challenges (including the lack of stability in the funding sources, the limitedness and lack of flexibility of the resources available for institutional strengthening, etc.).
    • The definition of general strategic directions (that serve as objectives) in stages, each program’s objectives, initiatives, key activities, and their indicators for each stage, that could be useful indicators for regular evaluations of the program (such as the number of beneficiaries, percentages of child mortality, etc.).
    • Aprovechando cada oportunidad para experimentar cómo revocar obstáculos y facilitar las condiciones de trabajo para sus futuras generaciones. Intervenciones que le permitan confrontar las inercias naturales a su propuesta, respetando las actuales formas de trabajo de la comunidad académica (x), y promoviendo a la vez dinámicas alternativas que sirvan para apoyar aquellas que espontáneamente ocurren entre sus miembros.
    • ElEsta/la iniciativa] es un proyecto ambicioso, y por ello conseguir el cumplimiento de su misión le exige intensificar sus esfuerzos con un enfoque sistémico (integral) y sustentable. Esto es, con intervenciones en varios flancos de forma simultánea y persistente y construyendo sus objetivos sobre el ensayo y error.
    •  Un catálogo o directorio de investigadores que facilite a. la identificación de potenciales colaboradores para proyectos específicos; b. La identificación de temas comunes de investigación en la universidad desde diferentes áreas del conocimiento; c. La posterior construcción de mecanismos de colaboración entre éstos. Dicho directorio podría ser alimentado con bases de datos ya existentes, como la del SNI por ejemplo, o bien los inventarios de distintas instancias de la universidad
    • 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).
    • To attract members to the[This/the initiative] Project, the abovementioned coordination identifies people from the community who could enrich the diversity of products and services offered in the association’s directory (x)…
    • 3. The above mentioned directory lists all the goods and services whose purchase accepts payment with Tumin (food, carpentry, tourism, education services, etc.). These businesses are also promoted through the magazine mentioned in subsection “d” of the previous point. The diversity of the partners is a crucial factor, because it allows a balance between the needs and the supply (says the current coordinator of the[This/the initiative] Project).
    • Harán un levantamiento topográfico con un dron para conocer recurso (mapeamiento)
    • Define a program for institutional integration that:

    a. Designs and systematizes a long-term a transversal project that increases the existing interconnections amongst[This/the initiative]’s development initiatives and the Night Schools.

    b. Settles partnerships between internal and external agents for the concrete purpose of increasing the[This/the initiative] model’s integration with the Night Schools and the mutual support of its initiatives.

    c. Departs from a diagnosis of[This/the initiative]’s current intervention model, and defines a short-term pilot project area to begin the integration process using, perhaps, participatory mapping as a methodology.

    d. Uses PMES annual cycles (planning, monitoring, evaluation, and systematization) to ensure the organization’s initiatives are working transversally.

    e. Uses the already existing information-communication technologies (ICTs) in the Night Schools to integrate them into the[This/the initiative]’s other initiatives.

    • [This/the initiative]’s value chain (the organization’s inputs, means to create value, and outputs).