♣ Motivando y capitalizando la apropiación local

"♣": 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
      • Más aún,  desde hace varios años se está llevando a cabo un proceso de regularización de las tierras con miras a restituir el derecho de uso y usufructo por parte de las comunidades originarias.
  • promover la agenda global para el desarrollo sustentable:
  • Granja de Agricultura Sostenida por la Comunidad que promueve el desarrollo sustentable facilitando la participación social — mediante visitas, renta de tierras cultivables, demostraciones de agricultura ecológica, consultorías, educación y capacitaciones, investigación y desarrollo de tecnologías, así como investigación teórica y promoción de políticas.

    • La GRANJA [Esta/La iniciativa]  se localiza en una zona rural de Beijing (China) y ofrece un modelo de agricultura sustentable, alternativo al de la agricultura industrial. El modelo está inspirado en lo que internacionalmente se conoce como Agricultura Sostenida por la Comunidad (Community Supported Agriculture, CSA en inglés), que promueve una agricultura más atenta al desarrollo de las comunidades, y aboga por una  sociedad co-responsable y recíproca.

    • Tanto los procesos de cultivo como los del cuidado de los animales emplean tecnologías ecológicas y novedosas, diseñadas a partir tanto del conocimiento que aún conservan campesinos locales empleados para asistir en el cuidado de las tierras rentadas, como de los resultados de las investigaciones llevadas ahí a cabo por universidades aliadas — quienes ya sea investigan el modelo de la granja, o le utilizan como área piloto para la exploración y puesta en práctica de novedosas tecnologías alternativas y para formar una base de talentos. La participación de todos estos actores permite entonces que la granja y sus procesos estén siempre vigilados y en proceso de innovación.

  • Emphasizing the participation and leadership of the initiatives of otherwise discriminated members of the communities, giving, again, reasons for people to transcend discriminatory barriers
  • Decentralizing the management of the funds
  • Establishing banking trust funds mechanisms where all actors are represented and their rights and responsibilities clearly distributed (the trustee/bank, the donors/funders, and the beneficiaries/initiative/local people), that contribute to the effective management of the funds, and that guarantee its credibility and transparency
  • 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
  • All of the organizations approached claimed that the limited number and lack of stability in the funding sources (both public and private) makes them rely not only on external support but also on the support of the communities with which they work.  They agreed that the community and its members should, for this among other reasons, pursue their own development as independently as possible.

Moreover, it seems that when people appropriate programs and initiatives targeted at their own needs, it is more likely that problems are addressed with bottom-up solutions that, being more apposite (relevant) to the particular needs and interests of their local context, create the conditions for further ownership to be developed.

  • Capitalizing on people’s ownership and empowerment, and making social participation a transversal dimension of the initiative helps in making better use of the local political and financial resources already available, which are needed to sustain the initiatives over time. Fostering them can further help in filling the gaps of the development initiative, and thus, in reducing the need of external support (dependency) — by facilitating that the internal stakeholders share their diverse products, services, and other resources, the need to acquire external funds to cover them is minimized.
  • In other words, defining strategies specifically aimed at ensuring the community’s participation and negotiation in the design, implementation and evaluation of the programs, seems to increase the initiatives’ level of self-sustainability (its ownership) of the process, giving their programs a greater possibility of survival should financial support be withdrawn or the presence of the development initiative diminish.

However, increasing people’s participation is difficult especially in contexts where communities are habituated to be passive beneficiaries of public programs and incentives, and/or where their people are divided by socio-economical or, for example, racial barriers.

To stimulate it, both the[This/the initiative]  and the[This/the initiative] are promoting the use of alternative currencies that aim at reducing their communities’ dependency on the peso-based national economy, which is not guaranteeing that resources flow into their localities, pushing their inhabitants to migrate or live in poverty. Currencies that are expected to boost the local economy, promoting the circulation of goods and services which either stopped being produced as a (most probably unintended) consequence of external subsidies, or had no buyers due to the absence of conventional money in the place. Ultimately, the intention of these alternative market systems is to create incentives and means for solidarity and participation among people in order to solve their communities’ problems: defining and addressing what they are lacking and what their members can provide for resolving them. Moreover, they have noted that these non-monetary inputs, which value is backed up by the same goods and services offered by the participant partners, constitute a significant proportion of the resources needed for the implementation of other development programs with the communities.

  • The[This/the initiative], on its side, designs and monitors all of its programs through participatory mapping techniques, by which the community members gather with the members of the organization to draw up, together, a map of their community. During the drawing process, a comprehensive diagnosis is made of local conditions, challenges, conflicts, problems, and priorities. The participatory mapping not only allows the communities to visualize themselves and their situation but to become agents of their own development, by enabling them to identify the resources they have available, define possible strategies to address their interests and needs, and distribute roles — which enhances the programs’ possibilities for sustainability.
  • Many initiatives have also managed to foster local participation and ownership by decentralizing the management of the programs and their budgets — which also ensures transparency and thus, fosters credibility and with it further participation. They have done it by developing structures that give different sectors of their targeted communities the means and opportunity to create awareness of their specific needs and perceptions, and that help covering roles and functions (supervisory, managerial, communicational, etc.) that, as mentioned before, would otherwise require the acquisition of funds to cover them (such as children’s parliaments/governments, village development committees, parents’ organizations, rotatory management commissions that ensure the equitable representation and responsibility of all of the members, etc.). Another strategy commonly used to this end is the establishment of schemes, such as the banking trust funds mentioned before, that assure that all stakeholders’ interests and responsibilities are negotiated, defined by contract, and supervised by an external actor — dealing concurrently with potential treats to self-sustainability that could emerge during the implementation process and keeping the communities stewardship of the programs by delimiting their rights and responsibilities.
  • An additional but crucial resource for increasing local ownership seems to be the delivery of pertinent and relevant education to the beneficiaries. As a fertile capability that enhances other capabilities, education can change the informational basis that affects development praxis and enhance local capacity if it is delivered through schemes that, like the Intercultural Education Model[9], concurrently responds to the interests and needs of the different present and future social systems involved — of the individual, of his community, of his country, of the planet, of its environment, etc.— and recognizes their diverse contributions to knowledge. These models render immediate effects in the community’s life and, as a result, in its involvement in the learning process.  By having education as an important component of broader development models, initiatives can further promote developmental sustainability in the sense of: enhancing educational participation across generations (we know that educated mothers tend to seek ways of educating their children) and, building local capacity to support other development programs.
  • Finally, 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.
  • Decentralizing the program
  • An important feature of the program 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 the program’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 program 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 degree of ownership that the communities have of the program means that it already bears the hallmarks of sustainability, given that development interventions are generally successful to the extent that they are appropriated by and integrated into the communities where they are targeted. Such interventions are at greater risk of failure when project funding ceases or when external project advisers are withdrawn, probably because community ‘take-up’ or ‘buy-in’ has been limited, rendering the project unsustainable without such community investment and appropriation.

  • 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.
  • co-management
  • 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.
  • An additional funding source comes from the project’s participation in the carbon bond market, in which it redeems its carbon emission certificates for the price set by the international market rules.
  • Mechanisms such as the banking trust, the participation in the carbon bond market, and the parity funds also bring attention to the way in which local ownership can be capitalized for addressing funders’ concerns on corruption and the lasting effect of their donations without compromising beneficiaries’ capacity to negotiate their views and responsibilities.
  • The Parity/Matching Funds Scheme:

Funding comes from a variety of sources in exchange for an active commitment by the communities who own the forests, to take the necessary actions to ensure that the forests are always kept strictly intact – which means not exploiting them and not allowing anyone else to do so. The funds are used to compensate the communities for revenue lost, resulting from their abstention to economically exploit their forests.

Some of these funding mechanisms are obtained through parity or matching fund schemes where, in exchange for the communities’ contribution consisting on their commitment to keep the forests intact, entities such as the National Forestry Commission (Mexico) provides 1 Mexican peso for each peso that[This/the initiative] obtains from other financial sources to help the community to achieve the same objective – which is basically to preserve the environmental services that forests provide. Other mechanisms consist of financial contributions on the condition that the said commitment is verifiably met, and that the community engages in undertaking active forest conservation activities.

Like the National Forestry Commission in Mexico, many institutions are concerned about the lack of direct involvement (ownership) that most development projects have on the part of the beneficiaries. Frequently, beneficiaries’ involvement and ownership of the project demonstrates that the donors’ investment has greater possibilities of surviving and leaving a lasting effect.

  • 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.

  • 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 Tumin is a voucher that is complementary to the peso, the Mexican currency. It seeks to support family income serving as a means of facilitating the development of an alternative exchange dynamic: the barter system (which actually used to be the traditional exchange system in the region).

Vouchers are used to exchange goods with value equal to (but not worth) 1 Mexican Peso ($ 0.08 USD approx.), backed up by the goods and services offered by its partners, which are listed in a directory so that its members can compromise to support each other. A coordinating team, which is rotatory (ensuring the equitable representation of and responsibilisation of all of the members) monitors and evaluates the project. It is made up of Commissions (education, communication, etc.) that are in charge of organizing various issues related to the project, ensuring its integrative character.

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

  • The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program, for example, implements demonstrative initiatives for resources’ management and the acquisition of legal certifications to increase family income generation, increase food security, and reduce the impact on the environment, as socioeconomic strategic components to improve the quality of life, environmental conservation, and regional development (e.g. the communitarian ecotourism or the crafts production with local forest’s resources).
[This/the initiative] has never had schools. Compulsory Education’s coverage in the area is almost 100%, partly because of[This/the initiative]’s advocacy efforts in the last 20 years. It rather had focus on complementary activities to the work of public schools. Since more than 53% of the local population is below 19 years old, [This/the initiative] mainly works with children and the youth with programs for community and environmental education, cultural promotion and diffusion, digital inclusion, and complementary actions for schools. During the latter, local education-related actors (communities, schools, and multiplier of actions) are trained to create supporting regionalized learning materials with participatory methodologies. This counteracts the lack of relevance of local schools’ curricula.

As with the health program, while[This/the initiative]’s efforts where concentrated until not long ago into complementing schools’ activities, they are now focused on a partnership with 5 schools, the Carlos Chagas Foundation, and the Education Ministry of Santarem municipality, to work on a pilot project for making education for the Amazonian populations more relevant.

For this purpose, they also use the participatory mapping methodology. Children draw maps of their communities that include not only their inhabitants, but also their institutions, geographical conditions, resources, etc. This methodology helps both[This/the initiative] and educators to identify the perception children have about the place they live, what is important, whose concepts are embedded into their mindset, etc. Based on these concepts and images,[This/the initiative] helps educators and school authorities to sensitize teachers about what is relevant in the region (many teachers are not from the communities where they work), and adapt local materials and the curricula with images, subjects, and methodologies that are more familiar to the children.

The objective of this partnership is to set an example of how to improve the quality of the public schools in the region that, if successful, is to be scaled to the whole municipality. That is, as the case of the health program, to serve as a demonstrative experience that aims at being escalated by the State, with the argument that it is the latter’s responsibility to provide access to quality education for all. The project so far has been stopped because the Carlos Chagas Foundation cancelled all of its funding this year.

  • [This/the initiative] works in partnerships with the communities, creating or strengthening local organizations that are independent from[This/the initiative] itself, thus limiting its financial and administrative responsibility and ensuring their autonomy (x).

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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • One of the main initiatives within this program is the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program. It responds to the fact that the Amazonian communities live in an extremely vulnerable region where land occupation and resources mismanagement are the prevailing practices.
  • The model’s success in raising schools’ quality relates to its comprehensive focus on academic improvement, equity in education opportunities, and the community’s involvement (the model counts, for example, with a Children’s and a Parents’ government that run the school).
  • [This/the initiative] mainly sustains itself by selling the model to governments, NGOs, private schools, etc. as a package of consultancy services that includes the settlement of demonstration schools in already existing schools (pilot schools), the co-participatory adaptation of its prototype guides and learning materials (their methodological structure), and technical assistance (training to different stakeholders) for the application and implementation of the model and for the community’s involvement. This way[This/the initiative] capitalizes on its know-how on the systematization of the school’s processes to promote stakeholders’ ownership of it and on the adaptation of the model to different contexts, offering an educational solution to improve quality, effectiveness, equity, and sustainability of education.
  • highly self-sustainable because: a) it is systemic – works with teachers, students, and parents in all educational aspects; b) uses the promotion of social participation as its transversal dimension – all stakeholders participate in educational decisions, which motivates their ownership of the projects;
  • Uses the promotion of social participation as its transversal dimension (people’s ownership of the project can sustain it in a large extent even if financial support is vulnerable)
  • all stakeholders participate in educational decisions, which motivates their ownership of the projects. The model has, for example, a children’s and a parents’ government that run the school.
  • donors’ support can increase if the recipient is able to convince them that whatever donation they make is going to be sustainable, which relates to beneficiaries’ ownership and participation in the projects but also to the organization’s capacity of finding means to sustain its programs, regardless of external support. Demonstrating to a donor a high capacity of fundraising certainly ensures their investment to be backed up by other’s trust on the Organization.
  • [This/the initiative]has 75 years of experience working with marginalized children and their communities in 31 countries, working in partnership with already existing local organizations, enterprises, and parent committees (a strategy that enables them to make better use of its efforts and resources) to identify key local problems and possible solutions (health, education, micro-enterprises, etc.), all of them family oriented.
  • Que se cubran necesidades reales. Preguntar constantemente a miembros cuáles son.
  • No se trata de acaparar sino de fortalecer a la comunidad. No gallinas propias, mejor comprar las de la vecina.
  • [Esta/la iniciativa] se dedica a dar asesoría legal y fiscal a organizaciones de la sociedad civil (OSC) para su constitución legal y como donatarias autorizadas, con el fin de fortalecerlas y abrirles las puertas a más apoyos. El régimen de donatarias autorizadas facilita que las iniciativas de desarrollo consigan apoyos financieros (porque pueden ser deducibles de impuestos para los donantes) y les exenta de pagar impuestos. El proyecto surgió con un curso impartido para estudiantes de la Universidad Iberoamericana en la Ciudad de México llamado “Marco Legal y fiscal de la filantropía”. En éste se buscaba llenar dos huecos a la vez, sin necesidad de una gran inversión en trámites y recursos financieros: por un lado, ayudar a “saciar el hambre de asesoría del mundo de las OSC”. Por el otro, contribuir a la formación en este rubro de abogados fiscalistas que pudiesen adquirir experiencia brindando asesorías gratuitas a varias iniciativas durante todo un semestre.

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.

  • Gobernado hoy por un patronato
  • Colaboraciones de mutuo beneficio con la población local:
  • -[Esta/la iniciativa] provee las instalaciones para un Bazar Navideño que da oportunidad a comerciantes durante la temporada alta de vender sus productos — a quienes selecciona en función de garantizar la diversidad en la oferta de productos y con ello, el mayor atractivo del bazar. Aunque la renta que [Esta/la iniciativa] recibe de éstos sólo le alcanza para mantener el lugar y no le representa ninguna ganancia monetaria, le sirve para hacer su lugar de venta de árboles más atractivo a gente que viene de otras partes del país.-Lo mismo sucede con el Mercado de comida navideño, en cuyo casi ni siquiera se le cobra renta a los vendedores, pues la mayoría son locales.-[Esta/la iniciativa] da permiso a pepenadores locales de recoger y aprovechar la basura, lo que le ayuda a su vez a mantener sus instalaciones limpias.-También da permiso a los pastores locales de traer sus borregos a pastar, lo que a [Esta/la iniciativa] le sirve para que éstos corten el pasto y le abonen.
  • 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.
  • Lo importante, es que las ofertas que registren los inversores respondan a necesidades reales de su comunidad, de manera que la economía alternativa que están formando sea responsiva e integral. Para ello el rol del  coordinador (conocido como agente de tiempo) como observador de la complementariedad oferta-demanda es crucial. También lo es el que éste organice frecuentes encuentros entre los miembros para que éstos puedan conocerse, visualizar colaboraciones potenciales, y empezar a generar confianza entre sí. Estos eventos también sirven para sensibilizarles sobre la importancia del proyecto y las necesidades para su desarrollo.
  • This budget is allocated into capacity building programs for the community.[This/the initiative] is a Civil Association and each of its local offices are Civil Associations as well, and not a part of[This/the initiative]’s main office. So the budget goes to increasing the community Civil Association’s self-sustainability (training them on getting funds, managing programs, establishing cooperatives, increasing social participation, etc.). The Enterprise and[This/the initiative] make an agreement where the local Civil Association (the community organized) ensures results over a certain period of time (10, 20 years), and if there are not results (periodical evaluations) the funding is stopped.
  • They also work with local groups and parent committees to identify key local problems and possible solutions, all of them family oriented
  • General Assembly takes place every two months among the partners. Attendance is not mandatory and the participation of representatives of the partners is accepted in cases where they cannot attend. At the end of these assemblies, demonstrative barter markets are mounted for people to learn to use the Tumin. Partners can prepare their participation in the Assembly through subgroup meetings as required. The Assembly, which has (as one of its objectives) the constant evaluation of the project, is made up of Commissions that are in charge of organizing various issues related to the[This/the initiative] Project. Thus, there are Commissions on Education (to teach children new economic values such as solidarity), Communication (broadcasting the project), Distribution (which dispenses the Tumin), etc.
  • [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.

  • Hace aproximadamente 20 años, la finca fue establecida en la localidad de La Flor en las montañas de la provincia costarricense de Cártago, con el objetivo de trabajar junto con las poblaciones locales en la construcción de un modelo de agricultura alternativo y sustentable, que permitiese promover la educación ambiental, social e intercultural entre las mismas comunidades y con estudiantes y visitantes extranjeros.
  • Además, los miembros de la iniciativa empezaron a invitar a estudiantes y voluntarios a pasar temporadas en la finca cuidando el bosque, trabajando en el huerto, y aportando a las comunidades con donaciones y trabajo en conjunto para mejorar sus condiciones (ej. limpiando el río, impartiendo cursos en las escuelas, organizando eventos, etc). Esto no sólo sirvió para la formación cívico-ambiental de los visitantes sino la de las comunidades beneficiadas.