Earlier this month, delegates from countries across Latin America gathered in Lima, Peru for the inaugural Know Your City Latin America learning exchange. The exchange was a success, providing an important opportunity for community groups and their support organizations engaged in Know Your City community-driven data collection work to develop a shared vision for the Know Your City Latin America campaign and to learn more about SDI’s governance, tools, and methodologies. Participants were able to build a solid basis for further collaboration in the region, affirming their interest in strengthening peer learning and experiential exchanges with the SDI network.
Some of the highlights and key learnings from the exchange are outlined by the team below.
Some of our key achievements & outcomes:
- We identified the need to develop a vision for SDI in Latin America as a top priority, understanding that the Know Your City work is an entry point – an opportunity for SDI to establish links in Latin America and for us to get to know each other;
- We developed a general understanding of SDI, including the Theory of Change, governance systems, and federation membership;
- We learned about SDI’s expectations around calls for funds, contracts, reporting, and budgeting;
We discussed what makes SDI ‘different’ and ‘attractive’ in its approach to addressing urban poverty. Some of the key points include:
- SDI’s practical approaching, with the entry points into community organisation being rooted in concrete actions and practical tools such as data collection and daily savings, as opposed to a political or institutionalised network. This speaks to SDI’s being rooted in urban poor communities in need of everyday solutions.
- SDI’s priorities come from the bottom up, determined by demand from the communities themselves.
- There is huge potential for intercontinental peer learning through engagement with and in the SDI network. The size, scope, and reputation of the SDI network give credibility and leverage to local struggles.
In drawing the week of learning to a close, a number of items were identified to take forward the energy and learnings from time together in Lima. Some of these include:
- Deeper learning on use of data collection tools, including SDI’s web-based data platform. A series of tutorials was proposed and is already in the planning stages.
- Increased learning on savings and mobilization through tutorials and experience sharing
- Regular group calls to follow up on successes, challenges, and ongoing work
- Producing / translating SDI content into Spanish in order to keep the Latin American groups up to date on the latest SDI news, ideally via social media, newsletters, WhatsApp, etc.
- Deeper learning on advocacy strategy and achievements from across the network. There was particular interest in learning more about the South Africans’ experience managing government subsidies and upgrading funds.
- A request emerged for the Brazilians plus 2-3 other Latin American communities to participate in an African Regional Hub meeting in 2019
- Adding further resources to the Google Drive folder established for the exchange in order to make it a resource centre for Latin American groups.
There was an undeniable interest among the groups present to learn more about SDI and become increasingly engaged as part of the SDI family. The role of the Brazilian federation was highlighted as being crucial in bridging regional, cultural, and language gaps in this process. There are great opportunities for impactful work, but it was noted that this will require energy, resources, and support from the SDI network, and an open-mindedness to adapting language and opening to complementary approaches and models linked to existing networks and spaces in Latin America.