♣ Voluntary contributions

"♣": 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
  • El Apompal Ecotourism now survives on income from tourists and the voluntary work of external agents and members of the cooperative, who don’t receive a fixed salary, and provide also material contributions (the land where the lodging cabins were built for example).
  • Some national universities, such as UNAM, UAM and Universidad Veracruzana, as well as others from abroad, collaborate with the initiative by sending students to do their social service in the communities.

  • The volunteers do not receive financial compensation but can stay in the community, paying only for their food.
  • La [This/The initiative] Farm is a project led by the civil organization ASODECAH in Costa Rica, which seeks to create and promote best ecological and human practices through volunteer programs, workshops, school visits and collaborative activities with the surrounding communities. It also offers a space for those who seek an alternative way of life, living and working on the farm, and contributing to formulate civic awareness regarding sustainability.
  • On the other hand, in order to extend the scope of its project to promote education for sustainability, the promoters of the initiative took advantage of its 10 hectares of land to build cabins with capacity for approximately 40 people. These allow them to receive not only tourists and students, but also volunteers. The latter, in exchange for lodging, food, training, and first-hand experience in techniques and models for sustainable agricultural development, not only offer their support for the maintenance of the farm -cleaning of roads, working in the garden, recovering of the forest , constructing cabins, taking care of the animals, improving the means of dissemination of the project and social networks, etc. Some also help by giving courses both to local communities (free of charge) – as mentioned before – and to other visitors to the farm. Currently the courses include the teaching of Spanish for foreigners, techniques of sustainable agriculture, yoga, medicinal plants, dance, etc. The volunteer program is still working on finding mechanisms to attract the Costa Rican population from other cities, who are also unfamiliar with the concept of ecological farms and for whom it is difficult to pay for their living expenses without receiving a wage as the farm requires them. Currently most visitors are from the United States, Canada and Europe.
  •  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.
  • [This/The initiative]  Farm was the first farm to implement the model of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in China, a model of sustainable agriculture that has inspired the creation of more than 500 farms and forged entrepreneurial attitudes in several of its participants (volunteers, residents, etc) — creating, as Baizigui, in charge of the communication area, suggests, an awareness within the community in regards to “organic agriculture, as well as recreational and natural education and the role of the public garden model”.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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] teachers earn approximately one tenth of a government school teacher’s salary. Although they earn the same rate as other staff at the[This/the initiative], effectively they teach only part-time, so what they earn means that they amount to little more than volunteer teachers.
    • The communities themselves prepare the teaching and learning materials. Among them, a workshop of disabled people prepares toys made of recyclable materials for the Night Schools, and a carpentry workshop provides them with science toys. Maps and posters displaying the alphabet hang on the walls of the schools. Children frequently need to share the learning materials that are available.
    • The mission of the[This/the initiative]’s Communications team is worth noting here. Through puppetry, a traditional means in this cultural context of sharing messages with the community, the[This/the initiative] discusses in an interactive manner some of the problems faced by the Night Schools, such as the need for girls’ attendance, the safety of the children, their relationship with their teachers, and so on. In a related vein, the Night Schools hold the annual Balmela Festival to provide feedback to their communities, to reinforce the value of education, and to thank them for their help and participation.
    • The degree of ownership felt by the communities of these projects enhances their trust of the[This/the initiative] and their confidence to send their children to the Night Schools. The opportunity costs of school attendance and community involvement in the projects are compensated by this sense of ownership, which is also a result of a widely decentralized budgeting process. The communities are deeply involved with the program: they manage it, they contribute to it, and they benefit from it.
    • 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 community contributes with volunteer work (e.g. the promoters), the payment and collection of Tumins, facilities for holding the assemblies, a space for Tumin’s House (the project’s head office), and 5% of the value of the partners’ products sold at the Tumin’s House to cover administrative costs. They also contribute with their participation in assemblies and other meetings, and with the payment of the Tumin house’s staff. This participation has enabled the project to sustain itself so far, despite the organizers’ complaint about the difficulties they have had in gaining the trust of the people and enhancing their solidarity and participation, which they claim to be the result, mainly, of people’s habituation to government’s “welfarist” assistance, the corruption that permeated them, local cultural/class/ethnic-based divisionism, and people’s lack of clarity on concrete means to participate.
    • Project promoters do not charge for their services, and neither do they include them in the trading scheme, but themselves participate as partners with the sale of any other items.
    • 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 [Esta/la iniciativa] en un “proyecto vivo” que realmente forme modos de vivir alternativos, no solo experiencias de un día
    • Voluntarios:

    Quieren hacer una Eco-aldea: idea poco definida aún pero primeros habitantes serían voluntarios que ganarían un lugar donde vivir, comida y experiencia (aprendizajes varios: sistema de aprendices) (fuente de sustentabilidad del objetivo del proyecto en tanto que busca “exportar conocimiento”) por 6 meses a cambio de su trabajo (“forma de atraer mano de obra”). Al parecer les cobrarán.

    Voluntarios MX les propuso ayudarlos a conseguir voluntario

    • 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).
    • Volunteer workers. It has a shortness of staff and hires personnel or volunteers for specific projects.
    • Accept and incorporate volunteers from abroad.
    • a model in which there is vast participation of learners, parents and other community members, teachers, and administrators in the school management, supervision and control, decision-making, planning and the implementation of education programs, and the development of curricula, and learning and teaching materials.[This/the initiative]is certainly a practical demonstration of such concepts, since it highlights the importance of co-management, relevant education, and strong context integration in order to ensure equal access to quality education.
    • One of the strengths of[This/the initiative] lies in its teachers, who seem to be liked by the community and respected by parents and children, principally for two reasons: the manner in which they treat the children, and the devotion with which they work. Night Schools’ teachers are local adults from different working backgrounds (postmasters, keepers of records, policemen, nurses, traditional midwives, extension workers), which helps them to make their teaching relevant for the community.[This/the initiative] teachers earn approximately one tenth of a government school teacher’s salary. Although they earn the same rate as other staff at the[This/the initiative], effectively they teach only part-time, so what they earn means that they amount to little more than volunteer teachers.
    • An important feature of[This/the initiative] is that it is monitored by a Children’s Parliament. The children who are members of this forum, elected every two years by students attending the Night Schools, choose a Prime Minister who works with a student cabinet monitoring the work of the teachers, the functionality of the solar lanterns, the availability of safe drinking water, and the provision of teaching and learning materials. They also encourage children who have dropped out to attend school. The Prime Minister organizes monthly meetings in which the ministers raise any problems in the schools, ask adults for explanations, and prompt solutions. The cabinet is empowered to hire and fire teachers, and to expose cases of corruption. Some Night Schools’ teachers occasionally do not turn up for class, but children in the parliament help to create awareness of the potential problem so that it doesn’t happen very often. The forum clearly also serves to create awareness in the communities about the children’s points of view and needs. The general view is that although some problems might take some time to be solved, the system works. Moreover, “the concept of the Children’s Parliament is integral to the curriculum at the Night Schools. Children attending the Night Schools get to know more about political systems and structures by actually going through the learning process” (x).
    • The families of[This/the initiative]’s children contribute to the program with cash or with donations of teaching aids or learning materials. Parents pay 10% of the cost of the health check-ups provided to the children. These contributions from the families are made in spite of the fact that families need their children’s contribution to the household income, and cannot easily afford to wait ten years for their children to start earning.
    • At a community level, the families’ contribution is even larger. The communities generally provide the buildings for the Night Schools and other activities (such as the Children’s Parliament, fairs, workshops, and meetings), and contribute voluntarily with cash, food, time, or work to the realization of the program. The supervision and management of the[This/the initiative] is largely done by Village Education Committees and the Children’s Parliament, both volunteer organizations run by the community. Ultimately, almost the only expenses that are not covered by the community are the teachers’ salaries and some costs for activities that they cannot bear.
    • The extent of this community involvement is also evident in the number of people associated with an extensively decentralized social structure that is integrated with the[This/the initiative]’s initiatives in this domain: 150 full-time staff, 500 half-time staff, and around 5000 honorary members. This is both important and unusual, given that policy makers and policies are usually very far from implementation sites and beneficiaries.
    • the[This/the initiative] Website’s “Donate” section (ibid.) accepts donations for specific items (such as mosquito nets, or solar lanterns) or higher, voluntary amounts.
    • No contando con plazas académicas sino solamente un reducido número de plazas técnico administrativas y fomentando, en cambio, la participación temporal de investigadores pertenecientes a otras adscripciones (en estancias, sabáticos, pos-doctorados, etc). — permitiendo resultados en investigación, formación y difusión con una baja inversión en salarios, prestaciones y facilidades para dicho personal. La rentabilidad del proyecto tiene también que ver con el efecto multiplicador que tienen los investigadores que colaboran con el[Esta/la iniciativa] y que llevan la forma de trabajo que éste propone a sus centros de adscripción.
    • Cuyo software puede ser conseguido de forma gratuita en sitios como TimeOverflow: https://www.timeoverflow.org/pages/about
    • 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).