♣ Supra-strategy

"♣": 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
  • All the development initiatives investigated have designed strategies, pertinent to their own purposes, to compensate for the challenges posed by their dependency on external factors and actors. Some have even set their development initiatives with the specific purpose of counteracting such power unbalance. This means that, with different degrees of awareness in the matter, planning on how to build on their self-sustainability has been a “supra”-strategy employed by all of them.
    • “To exit the well we must stop digging”, claimed X from the[This/the initiative].
    • The Capital Fund Scheme:
    [This/the initiative] uses a comprehensive scheme that includes several funding mechanisms that allow the organization to create a capital fund that yields interests to be used to finance the project.

    The establishment of a capital fund is an option that intends to avoid searching for annual funds but, instead, creates an investment fund that yields interests to be used to finance the project without touching the fund itself. If the fund is enough, there is no need to get more money. If not, or if the interests decrease, it will be necessary to keep up the search for donations. It can represent the whole or only a part of the budget needed for the project, but having a part makes it easy to get the rest because it gives certainty to the donors. This scheme can be discussed with the donors in the teaming contract.


    • The Banking Trust Fund Scheme:
    • All financial resources obtained are deposited in the capital fund, the use of which is subject to control by a banking trust fund mechanism, which provides the project with credibility to encourage donations to contribute with those resources.Donors, foundations, governments, and international NGOs trying to support the so-called “developing countries” frequently face the same problem: corruption. Money frequently doesn’t arrive at its destination and stays in intermediary hands. It also happens that the money is distributed but the recipient organizations don’t have projects to offer, even if the money is there. With a Trust Fund, the money doesn’t have to go through the organization’s hands but rather goes through the Trust Fund’s hands which gives transparency to the money’s management, and certainty to both the organization and the donors.A Trust Fund is composed of 3 parts:
      1. The Trustee (the Bank) that is the one that generates the confidence (the trust), as it is the one that monitors how the money is being spent and ensures that it is used in the way and with the purpose agreed, by contract, between the beneficiaries and the donors.
      2. The Donors/Foundations that put money in the trust for a specific purpose.
      3. The Beneficiaries (the organization and/or local people).


      1, 2, and 3 elect an Executive Board (also called Technical Committee) that supervises/manages the Trust Fund on a daily basis and under the general supervision of the Trustee. It is formed by representatives from donors and beneficiaries.

      All rules applicable to the operation of the Trust are convened through a contract among 1, 2, and 3.

      All decisions (the designation of the Executing Board, the use of the money donated, etc.) are settled in that contract. All parts would like to advocate for their own interests but the ideal is to find a balance between them – respecting the beneficiary’s project objectives and the donor’s aims. The donors participate in the model because they accept it, which means that once they sign the contract they cannot make changes to it. That has to be clear in the original contract.

      The content of the contract is to establish that what is being settled is a Trust Fund, that is, a contract based on trust because there is someone (the bank) that looks after the contract’s compliance (e.g. “We agree to ensure that the obtained money will be dedicated to x and the bank will supervise that it is done that x way” ). When, during the implementation process, money has to be spent, the Executive Board decides how to use the money and the bank watches that the conditions are in line with what was agreed both on the contract and in the conditions to which the granting of the funds were subjected, that is, the original objective and destination of the funds.

    • Sustaining the Solar Night Schools Program with, exclusively, the interests generated by a Capital Fund could be an alternative for its financial self-sustainability. That would mean two things:

    1. That the funding’s strategy objective changes from searching for yearly funds to finding donations for an investment fund (the capital fund) selected with two criteria:

         a. that maximizes the interests; and

         b. that minimizes the financial risks.

    2. That money gathered from all sources to the program (including the suggested matching funds of R2) is used to pay the Night Schools’ expenses, and what is left invested in the capital fund (FDR) whose objective is to grow as much as possible so its interests can soon become another matching fund: the matching fund of the capital fund, thus attaining true financial sustainability.


    • The current economic model does not offer a solution to the problems of poverty, but reproduces them. We must create an option that represents an alternative to the current economy, which creates immense external dependence. Start creating it from the children, through an education that questions what is produced locally and what is missing, considering that the local production, however, is never enough. We need a trans-generational approach to transcend the economic dependence that creates scarcity, poverty. To exit the well we must stop digging.

    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.).


    • On what are the Night Schools’ children going to live when they grow up? What is the economy in which these children are being educated about? Where does this education lead them?….We must create an option that represents an alternative to the current economy, which creates immense external dependence. Start creating it from the children, through an education that questions what is produced locally and what is missing, considering that the local production, however, is never enough. We need a trans-generational approach to transcend the economic dependence that creates scarcity, poverty. To exit the well we must stop digging

    The[This/the initiative] Project’s model is not intended to be scalable, but the local autonomous economy model that promotes solidarity and local production is. Retrieving experience from the[This/the initiative] Project and[This/the initiative]’s initiatives (or from any other of the many thousands of alternative currencies – economies – that today are being multiplied in the world) can become a tool to reinforce the self-sustainability in the implementation, and therefore the scope, of the programs undertaken by the[This/the initiative], by attacking the roots of dependency with a systemic, integral perspective

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

    Nowadays,[This/the initiative]’s general coordinator considers that the organization’s health mission is accomplished because it has not only achieved its objective of providing health access to the populations in the area it serves, but it has been escalated in the whole state thanks to the organization’s pragmatism and its acknowledgement that the State’s delivery and funding capacity is bigger. Therefore,[This/the initiative]’s role in the area of health has changed. Now it is focused on training communities for the management and social control of these social policies to monitor the State intervention’s quality, which has implied a great detachment effort for the organization.

    [This/the initiative] uses a few interesting strategies to ensure its financial sustainability, which are in charge of its Area of Institutional Integration. This area is responsible for integrating the organization’s diverse programs, determining institutional articulations and policies, planning the dissemination, expansion, and replication of the model, and ensuring their sustainability.


    • integrating the work of different areas, consolidating the model’s impact


    • 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).


    • [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.


    • [This/the initiative]’s development model is integrated because of the interconnections that exist amongst its various interventions, which are emphasized in the understanding that attending the communities’ needs in an integral way implies recognizing that community life is integral itself; that all age sectors have to be attended; and, that one area can support another because it is frequently the same people that are involved.[This/the initiative]’s institutional integration process consists of consolidating each area’s relevant institutions and trying to establish a transversal project.

    However, to achieve this level of integration is very difficult, as many factors work against it: The responsibilities of[This/the initiative]’s staff are distributed by areas and each area’s responsible has to be accountable for the programs at his/her charge, to ensure maintaining donors support. While all personnel are encouraged to be involved in all areas of work, they can only do it superficially because they have to concentrate on their own projects. Most importantly, the donors support very concrete/thematic agendas. Their funding criteria are not integral and they expect concrete results in concrete areas. So each area coordinator is generally responsible for the results of its domain and not the other.


    • 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


    • 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.).


    • Once a reference model is agreed


    • El[Esta/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.


    • El lugar se ubica en una región rural con más de 50% de la población en condición de pobreza y más del 15% en la de extrema pobreza según cifras del 201⁠0. Aunque el objetivo de El[Esta/la iniciativa] no es transformar las condiciones socioeconómicas de este lugar, sus creadores están conscientes de que es importante evitar acaparar las oportunidades económicas de la zona. Por ello, y quizá también porque al negocio le resulta más redituable, no les ha interesado ser completamente auto-sustentables en alimentos, los cuales compran en buena parte de sus vecinos. En este mismo sentido se han hecho intentos por establecer colaboraciones con los habitantes de la localidad para beneficio mutuo, ofreciéndoles acceso a su clientela a para vender sus productos o servicios (paseos a caballo, donas, etc), lo cual a ellos conviene también por ser un atractivo para los visitantes. Estas colaboraciones al parecer no han prosperado. Además de aparentes barreras socio-culturales y de género (la dueña del[Esta/la iniciativa] es una mujer y esta es una región conservadora), no se sabe bien qué ha impedido el interés de la comunidad para colaborar con este proyecto.  Incluso en alguna ocasión una pobladora local se negó a recibirles un grupo de gallinas que le ofrecieron a condición de que después le vendieran a El[Esta/la iniciativa] sus productos.


    Intentos de integración, lazos entre cosas que se refuerzan entre sí-:

    • a nivel proyecto (hospedaje, comedores, temazcal, generador eólico/solar, observatorio, espacio para eventos)

    •A nivel comunitario (gallinas, donas, etc)

    No se trata de acaparar sino de fortalecer a la comunidad. No gallinas propias, mejor comprar las de la vecina.


    • Desde que concluyó esa etapa de cursos,[Esta/la iniciativa]   ha dado consultoría a autoridades hacendarias, con la intención de sensibilizarlas respecto a las necesidades particulares de las iniciativas de desarrollo más vulnerables. Desde la perspectiva de [Esta/la iniciativa], los encargados de diseñar la legislación fiscal conocen poco de la realidad que se vive fuera del ambiente urbano y es por ello que han privilegiado mecanismos bastante estandarizados para la certificación y distribución de apoyos, que han reproducido las condiciones de desigualdad entre las iniciativas de desarrollo, al tener pocas previsiones para su trato diferenciado y por ende equitativo. Como resultado de lo anterior, muy pocas organizaciones culminan el trámite de reconocimiento como donatarias autorizadas con éxito.  De 60 organizaciones asesoradas por su grupo a la que se les dio seguimiento, menos de 10 lo concluyeron. Esta deserción se explica en parte por el hecho de que el proceso es complejo y no gratuito, y la desidia por parte de las OSC mucha, pues el trámite o es costoso (cuando la mayoría carece de recursos) o es gratuito pero lento y tedioso. Además, los costos del notario no se pueden evitar. Más aún, la estandarización de la normatividad favorece a las iniciativas con mayor grado de: 1. Estructuración (solidez, desalentando la innovación); 2. Vinculación con los donantes (son mundos que no se juntan); 3. Capital intelectual para enterarse y competir con éxito en las convocatorias por fondos, especialmente las internacionales (por idioma, formación, acceso a los medios, etc); 4. Capacidad económica para cubrir gastos de constitución legal (asesores en el proceso, notarios, transporte a las oficinas administrativas en las ciudades, principalmente la capital).

    Por lo anterior, para[Esta/la iniciativa] contar con el estatus de donataria autorizada no es para todos, y no basta para resolver las necesidades financieras de una organización porque las donaciones son pocas y difíciles de adquirir. Aún así, le considera una herramienta útil, de apoyo.


    • Efecto multiplicador (docencia, capacitaciones): La apuesta del dueño es que alguno de los niños visitantes llegue a ser presidente de la República y haga las cosas distinto.


    • Aunque no hay recetas mágicas para resolver este problema de fondo, a lo que quizá habría que apostarle, para mejor un poco la situación, es:

    a la confianza, porque la falta de ésta es lo que está limitando el número de donaciones e impidiendo innovaciones que den un verdadero giro al actual sistema.

    a cambiar las “creencias de filantropía de arriba hacia abajo”.

    a buscar el cambio en otros flancos además de reformas al Sistema de Administración Tributaria, que es tan sólo uno de los muchos ingredientes del problema. Esto es, a emprender una reforma integral. El sistema hacendario es de los más flexibles y ha tenido más reformas que ningún otro sector público gracias a que ha habido una inusual continuación de su personal a pesar de los cambios de gobierno (debido en parte al alto grado de especialización de sus miembros). Sin embargo, no ha logrado cambiar de raíz la estructura que reproduce la desigualdad en el sector.

    a entendernos como sociedad civil.

    a volver la herramienta más accesible, como por ejemplo: ampliando el número de rubros para ser donataria autorizada  y facilitando sistemas electrónicos que agilicen el trámite (ya se ha avanzado en ello).