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.
By Anaclaudia Rossbach (Rede Interecao, Brasil), Celine D´Cruz (SDI Coordinator) and Maria E. Torrico (Red Interaccion, Bolivia)
Participants: (i) from Secretariat, Celine D´Cruz; (ii) from Bolivia, Maria Eugenia Torrico and Elizabeth Bustos; (iii) from Brazil, Eli Sandra Santana and Anacláudia Rossbach.
Municipalities visited: within Lima metropolitan area – Puente Piedra, San Juan de Miraflores and San Juan de Lurigancho
Institutions visited: Public Health projects lead by Joe Zunt and Silvia Montano and NGO KalLpa.
Context: This visit [06 – 09 September 2011] was the outcome of an invitation to Celine/SDI after she was invited to share SDI’s experience at Washington University, Seattle to a joint team of Neurologist and the School of architecture. This team of health, architectural professionals and students have been working on a joint project with communities in Lima. They invited Celine/SDI to explore the possibility of working with the mothers groups in Peru. What attracted the team was the idea that within SDI savings groups were more than just micro savings and extended to other parts of the communities life.
- Celine´s presentation for multidisciplinary students from Washington University was facilitated by Joe Zunt Neurologist affiliated to Washington University and Silvia Montano a local Neurologist in Lima. This was followed by a Visit to Pitagoras School, local partners for environment and public health projects by Washington University, Joe Zunt and Silvia Monano.
- Meeting with mothers from parents students association (APAFA) to present SDI methodologies and identify interests for a next day follow up, they are residents of a broader neighborhood called Lomas de Zapallal, constituted by several smaller settelements, located at Puente Piedra Municipality. Present: 12 mothers and APAFA President.
- Internal meeting in the evening with exchange team and hosts Joe Zunt and Silvia Montano. Introduction to Jose Vinoles who will be the local anchor for the rest of the week program, that should include follow up visits at Lomas de Zapallal and to KalLpa NGO, including eventual visits to communities were they operate projects related to public health, youth, income generation and improve of urban environment.
- Team meeting on LA Hub coordinated by Celine D´Cruz. Issues discussed: (i) exchange Brazil – Bolivia to take place on the first week of October. This exchange will have two objectives: a) A team led by Fernanda Lima and leaders from Brazil will support Bolivia on their internal planning process and setting up of goals and targets for short and medium term and b) to explore more about the savings instruments from Bolivian groups. (ii) Exchange to Philippines. Discussion on composition of the exchange teams and a subsequent stop over in Brazil for a small exchange of 2/3 days to consolidate planning and a broader discussion with Brazilian savers on savings schemes instruments adopted in Bolivia. The idea is to strengthen savings schemes capacity in Brazil. (iii) On LA hub expansion. We discussed open possibilities in Ecuador (M. Eugenia contacts) through a local social movement and Colombia through Architect Alejandro Echeverri (Sheela Patel contact). The approach will be narrowing the long distance relationship and evaluate after a couple of months the feasibility of exchanges. The idea of having more countries (poor) attached to Brazil, like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, could represent a window of opportunity to leverage international funds for the hub.
- Follow up meeting at Pitagoras Schooll with mothers from Lomas de Zapallal. The mothers from the previous day meeting weren’t present, but Jose Viñoles facilitated a meeting with other new mothers and just one of them was interested on a further visit at her small settlement. Her name is Sarita Garcia from the settlement called Eliseo Collazos Verde and a visit was scheduled for the following days.
- Meeting with KalLpa President Alejandrina Zamora Pariona and team to exchange institutional information. KalLpa basicly operates in 4 regions in Peru: Ayacucho, Cuzco, Ichitos and Lima on community based projects related to urban environment, public health, youth and income generation (see more at HYPERLINK www.kallpa.org.pe). They invited us to visit one youth center on income generation and one community at San Juan de Miraflores. This community, called Minas 2000, would also be visited by a theater group, supported by Canyon Ranch Institute (US) and Jose Viñoles. We also had conversations with Canyon Ranch Evaluation and Program Manager Maura Pereira, present on the exchange.
- Visit to Youth Center at San Juan de Miraflores. Presentation of mutual programs and brief discussion of possible synergies between SDI methodologies and the purpose of the center located within the municipal offices of San Juan de Miraflores, it is a partnership between NGO, local and central governments.
- Visit to community Minas 2000 at municipality San Juan de Miraflores. Discussion about community issues like lack of water, infrastructure, risk areas, it is a very poor community with shacks in a private property (owner uwilling to sell and exploring rent). The settlement has a total of 200 families. After the presentation by Brazilian and Bolivian community leaders, the local women immediately reacted positively on incorporating SDI methodologies and 2 savings schemes were set. (i) group with 7 members, treasurers Hermila, Monica and Milagros; (ii) group with 20 members, treasurers Ester, Elva and Rosa.
- Visit to community 24 de Diciembre at the Municipality of San Juan de Luricancho. Based on the success of previous day, KalLpa invited us for a meeting with another community, called 24 de Diciembre (estimated number of 200 families) located at the Municipality of San Juan de Luricancho. In the meeting we had the presence of about 8 women and 1 man, the “official community leader”. Besides the presence of the community leader we managed to set up a savings group with the 8 women present, 2 treasurers, Marta and Wilma.
- Conclusion meeting with KalLpa team. We agreed on a synergy between both programs, SDI and KalLpa and to stay together following up the savings groups located in their communities. For an initial follow up by KalLpa we will send material (savings books) and information, and Jose Vinoles and Stelita (from KalLpa team) will be our local anchors. A follow up exchange is planned by the beginning of December to set up broader institutional arrangements.
- Afternoon, meeting with Sarita Garcia and community women at Eliseo Collazos Verde (Lomas de Zapallal, Puente Piedra) to present SDI methodologies and discuss community issues. Also a very precarious settlement (90 families), with water, but no infrastructure, poor transport connections and shacks. They are located on public area and are already requesting land titling, what is very easy to get in Peru, even in precarious settlements. A savings group was set with 18 members, treasures: Sarita, Emilia y Mariluz.
- Consolidation of Peruvian savings schemes under supervision of Jose Viñoles/KalLpa NGO.
- Follow up visit coordinate by the Brazilian team on December/2011 to: (i) institutionalize local partnerships; (ii) follow up of savings groups; and (iii) planning exercise with the communities for a long term vision with professional support form Brazilian team (in Peru there is no integrated slum upgrading project, the idea of this exercise is to engage communities on a common dream/goal).
See more photos from the exchange to Peru on the Peru Flickr page.