Cuidades Sustentables

A bid for continental transformation based on a local presence

Fundación AVINA is physically present in 13 countries of Latin America. AVINA’s presence on the ground in the countries of the region is essential to our strategy for change of continental relevance. In each country we have a country liaison and a team that develop and implement a national strategy for impact. Our deep local roots are what allow us to maintain a community of thousands of trusted allies and to identify high-potential pilot initiatives, innovations and experiments. In this laboratory of creativity, we seek to test, validate and develop new opportunities that can be replicated and scaled up to national or even regional importance.


While not everything important at the continental scale begins locally, almost always the macro must prove itself at the local level, indeed all of the continental opportunities that we work with interact with and seek concrete impact for our local allies in the countries of Latin America. For that reason, our strategies for continental impact may have a common Latin American framework, but they must also be adapted to the local context of each country where we operate in order to be effective. The national strategy of an opportunity we are developing across the region must be sketched out in close collaboration with our local allies and our country team. The effectiveness of that strategy depends on the platform of institutional legitimacy, cultural insight and social capital that our national team has built in the country. Thus the coordination between the local and the international perspective is a continuous process.


Third-year students of the Fundación Paraguaya agricultural school receive practical horticultural courses in the seed nursery. The school's educational model has been applied since 2003, and, to date, more than 400 young people have graduated, all finding employment within months of leaving the school.


Chaquihual land in the Ancud commune, Chiloé, Chile. This group of foresters, an AVINA ally, implements a forest extension program between the IX and XI regions, focusing on small and medium-sized firewood producers, as part of a strategy to manage and conserve Chile's native forests.



Inclusive model for agricultural training in Paraguay
replicated in 50 countries

The Escuela Agrícola San Francisco, administered for the last six years by the Fundación Paraguaya with the active support of AVINA, has become a worldwide example of sustainable education. The school offers a model of secondary education focused on self-sufficient organic agriculture, and aimed at youth from low-income households. It is currently being replicated in 50 countries, in many cases through AVINA allies. This school refuses state subsidies and converts all its graduates into rural entrepreneurs. The experience received a UNESCO prize for Best Practices in Youth Policies and Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as recognition at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Martín Burt, Executive Director of the Fundación Paraguaya, has been promoting this model around the world for the last four years, having received the Skoll Foundation's award for Social Entrepreneurship, following nomination by AVINA.


AVINA brings national energy policy to Chilean presidential candidates
More than 500 people attended the seminar "Energy Grid 2010-2030: an Energy Discussion for Chile", held in September 2009 in Santiago and organized by AVINA together with Empresas Eléctricas A.G., Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, Fundación Chile and the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. Three Chilean presidential candidates, among them Sebastián Piñera, who won the election, presented their positions on the country's energy strategy. During the meeting, which was widely covered by the national media, the Platform for Energy Scenarios in Chile 2030 (Plataforma Escenarios Energéticos-Chile 2030) was launched. Developed with AVINA support, its aim is to build and promote open discussion of different scenarios for energy generation towards 2030. This process of sharing in the building of national solutions will provide input for decision-making by the new government, and will be presented to the new President as a contribution to the development of Chile's long-term energy policy.


Certified firewood replaces less sustainable options in Chile
Over half of firewood consumers in towns in southern Chile not only know of the national firewood certification system (SNCL), but actually prefer to use certified wood. These results demonstrate the success of AVINA ally René Reyes and the group of forest engineers for native forests that, in alliance with AVINA, promote firewood certification processes throughout the country. AVINA played a fundamental role in this change of attitude by co-financing and promoting the project, supporting dialogue with the public sector, and encouraging links with companies. Raising awareness about environmental benefits, providing training programs and building commitment on the part of the state, companies and the community, were all essential in implementing and consolidating the firewood certification system. Before, consumers were unaware of the type and origin of the firewood they were using, the majority of which came from the illegal logging of native forests.


Opening up so all voices can be heard
On October 10, 2009 Argentina's national congress settled a debt to democracy that had been outstanding for three decades by replacing the old broadcasting law of the last military dictatorship with the Law on Audiovisual Communication Services. Although the new law still includes some controversial aspects, it is a step forward in that it favors diversity and plurality in public communication. AVINA contributed to this change by supporting the Argentinean Forum on Community Radios (FARCO), a founding member of the civil coalition for democratic broadcasting. AVINA ally Néstor Busso, played a key and decisive role in managing the public lobby in favor of the law, and was elected president of the Federal Council of Audiovisual Communication, the main communications body established by the law, made up of representatives from the 24 provinces and different sectors related to civil society and private sector communication.


Argentinean coalition achieves implementation of the National Forest Law
Pressure from over 70 social and environmental organizations led to the implementation of the law related to the environmental protection of Argentine forests (Ley de Presupuestos Mínimos de Protección Ambiental de los Bosques). This regulation establishes a Native Forest Conservation Fund including 0.3% from the national budget and 2% from agricultural, livestock and forest exports. Seventy percent of the fund is to be spent on forests with conservation plans while the remaining 30% goes to provincial authorities to promote and oversee development plans among small farmers and indigenous communities. AVINA contributed by supporting a national communications strategy, promoting links between different actors and civil society organizations, and backing specific actions at the provincial level.