♣ Posicionamiento (rol)

"♣": 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
  • Adopting a trans-generational approach means also that initiatives consciously position themselves regarding to whose responsibility it is to resolve the social problem they are addressing (is it theirs? the State’s? the beneficiaries’?); who has greater capacity to maintain and keep effective the initiative (or its working methodologies) in the long term; and who can ultimately bring it (them) to scale. These questions have a direct bearing on the allocation, the purposes, and the long- term planning of the funds and on the initiative’s design in general.

It may be the case that, as the Brazilian organization does, the most appropriate funding allocation is one that serves to demonstrate the effectiveness of a particular intervention strategy, in order to convince the State (rather than the naturally impermanent government) to integrate it into the system and take it to scale, enabling its sustainability (and permitting the initiative to shift its efforts towards other areas of action).

It can also be the case that it makes more sense to concentrate funds and efforts on building on the local capacity to gradually take ownership of the initiative, purposely designing an Exit Plan with defined deadlines for the implementing agents from the initiative (in case they are non-local) – which would help in the initiative’s (rather than those agents’) long run sustainability and even scalability. For that, decentralization and capacity building are key strategies that involve, among others, creating the conditions for people to construct their own path towards development and for necessary changes and conditions to emerge for the benefit of present and future generations. These can be helped by, for example:

• Creating a local economy that stimulates local production, promoting employment to the families, and reducing migration rates to the cities (through the building of cooperatives, barter systems, etc.)

• Devising the local agents that have the greatest capacity to sustain and disseminate the initiative over time and promoting the emergence and development of new local leaders or multiplier agents (as the This/the initiative] calls them) with the same end

• Developing structures for local participation and organization, supporting, if pertinent and necessary, their legal constitution

• Prioritizing education and technical training (in fundraising and other managerial skills, production and reparation of goods and facilities, etc.).


  • Children in this last group are accepted into the bridging courses only so that the organization can motivate them to go back into mainstream schooling. The[This/the initiative]’s policy is not to readily accept dropouts from mainstream schools.


  • Communities have asked the organization to build more Night Schools and to extend them to Upper Primary and even to Secondary level, but the organization’s response has been that not only does the[This/the initiative] not have the budget for that, but also, more importantly, it does not seek to encourage families to choose the Night Schools over other mainstream possibilities


  • 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] 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).

  • [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 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.


  • role would change from implementing and managing the Night Schools to creating management capacities in the communities to oversee their continuous existence and quality after being adopted by the State.


  • The success of the project resulted in its absorption by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and in its escalation at State level in 2010. As a consequence, the organization finished its health mission not only in the consideration that it had achieved its objective, but also that the State’s delivery and funding capacity was bigger.[This/the initiative]’s current director, argued that the organization’s mission is to create replicable development models of action that can be further scaled by agents that are capable of implementing and funding them sustainably, for which it also works on strengthening the links between the communities and partners from abroad. Models that serve as demonstrative references for the State (not the – rather unstable – government) and/or the private sector so they learn better and cheaper ways for designing and implementing public policies/projects and adopt them. Once this mission is achieved, the organization changes its role from implementing the programs to creating management capacities in the communities to oversee their continuous persistence and quality.


  • [This/the initiative] doesn’t get involved with the school’s financial sustainability, because they don’t implement[This/the initiative]’s model, but only provide technical assistance to already existing schools, regardless of their own financial scheme…


  • [This/the initiative]’s alleged success in improving the quality of education in rural areas (especially multi-grade and poverty-stricken schools) convinced the Colombian government to elevate it on a national scale for a period of 10 years (starting from 1992), and it was implemented in 20, 000 rural schools all over the country.

However, governmental support was not stable and the promotion of the model became vulnerable to political struggles/interests. Therefore they decided to create the[This/the initiative] Foundation as a social enterprise that seeks to generate surpluses to reinvest them in their social objective (to strengthen and promote[This/the initiative] pedagogic model’s scalability) and enlarge their impact and mission (x). As a result, their organization has become more self-sustainable because it doesn’t rely on the vulnerable support of the government for the achievement of their social objective.

[This/the initiative] doesn’t get involved with the school’s financial sustainability because they don’t implement[This/the initiative]’s model, but only provide technical assistance to already existing schools, regardless of their own financial scheme. In any case, to pay for the adaptation and implementation of the model and ensure its success, they promote co-financing schemes of public-private partnerships between[This/the initiative], private business, and local governments, or with appropriate NGOs, etc.


  • Other strategies are specifically addressed to avoid creating dependency relations. In concrete, the community sponsorship programs are intended for a specific target: ensure the community’s self-sustainability in an agreed period of time. The money to find the partner enterprise comes from [This/the initiative] ’s main office and it is recovered from the money the enterprise provides in the sponsorship budget. [This/the initiative] is an officially registered civil organization and each of its local offices is an officially registered civil organization as well, and not a part of [This/the initiative] ’s main office. So the budget goes to increasing the community’s Civil Association’s self-sustainability through capacity building programs (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 in a certain period of time (10, 20 years), and if there are not results (periodical evaluations are made) the funding is stopped. In short: the partnership contemplates an Exit Plan for both the enterprise and the [This/the initiative]’s main office with the intention of ensuring a decentralized development program


  • In the long-term

Once a reference model is agreed between the[This/the initiative] and the local ministry of education, start the scaling up of the Night Schools to all regions where the model is needed as the State is not able to ensure all children’s access to quality schooling.

From this stage forward, the[This/the initiative]’s role would change from implementing and managing the Night Schools to creating management capacities in the communities to oversee their continuous existence and quality after being adopted by the State.