Introducing Civic Perspective 2020 Edition!

Last Wednesday march 10 took place the presentation of the study CIVIC PERSPECTIVE/PERSPECTIVA CÍVICA: Investigación para la incidencia en tiempos de Covid-19. 

The study Civic Perspective is an annual initiative that RACI has developed since 2018 to identify the working conditions and development of Civil Society Organizations (CSO).  For 2020 in particular, the goal of the study was to demonstrate how the pandemic and the measures of preventive and obligatory social isolation affected the Civil Society Organizations and the scope of their actions, missions and visions. In this way, through the answers provided by the leaders of the organizations and their work teams, it was possible to understand the role that the CSO had during the first months of the pandemic, when the isolation was almost total.

In the first place, in charge of Luana Esquenazi, motivations were presented, methods and the main findings of the investigation. Survey participants had to answer questions about the capacity of the responsiveness of their CSO, about their target population, about the role played by the donors, as well as identify strengths and concerns from the context, among other points of interests.The answer provided by the survey participants allowed us to make some conclusions about the scene of the Civil Society in the middle of the sanitary crisis. For example, a 57% increase has been reported in the demands that the organizations received, but for 73% the resources needed to be able to respond to them, haven’t increased. In the vast majority of cases, the adaptive capacity of CSOs can be explained thanks to the tireless efforts of the work teams, which demonstrated great resilience and adaptive capacity.

Once the presentation of the study was finished, a panel of experts from both Argentina and Latin America called Pandemic and vulnerability: impact on local and Latin American Civil Society took place.The panel was made up of Anabel Cruz (CDI, Rendir Accounts), Gabriel Berger (UdeSa), Orazio Belletini (Grupo Faro / Fuegos), Pilar Arcidiácono (UBA / CONICET), Tamar Hahn (CINU). The panelists agreed that 2020 was a very tough time for the entire sector and that it was necessary to analyze the ways in which CSOs managed and related to the communities they support. It is also given to rethink in the present scenario the relationship with the State and with International Organizations. Each panelist shared the projects they were involved in during 2020 where the important role that CSOs played and still play is evident. A phenomenon as multidimensional and complex as the pandemic can only be faced through cooperation between various actors and sectors. 

Soon, the study CIVIC PERSPECTIVE Latin America and the Caribbean will be launched, so this panel was a great step to initiate conversations that allow the Social Sector to think at the regional level. From RACI we want to thank everyone who participated and made this meeting possible.


We carried out the Reflection Seminar on Diversity and Inclusion for CSOs!

With the support of the embassy of Canada for Argentina and Paraguay, RACI carried out March 25 and 26 the Reflection Seminar on diversity and inclusion (D&I). The activity, that was directed to Civil Social Organizations (CSO) from Argentina and Paraguay, provided theoretical-practical tools and a space to share experiences among the participants, who represented more than 50 organizations. Convinced that it is necessary for  the CSOs to have spaces to discuss and promote good practices in I&D, the seminar was focused on self-reflection and joint construction of means to smooth the way towards greater organizational plurality.

In order to accomplish these goals, during the first day of the Seminar, RACI´s team gave to the more than 50 participants a framework to understand the Diversity and Inclusion and their dimensions from the prism of intersectionality. Since this involves a deep and continuous learning process, the participants had the chance to apply these concepts and categories through individual activities and in aleatory working groups.

During the second day of the Seminar, we counted with the presence of a luxury panel, made up of experts in various topics. In the first place, Arantxa Padrón (APAdeA), exposed in the first place a pan of the disability in general, for then deepening exposing a frame of rights to understand the neurodivergent today. Also inquired about the possibilities of the social inclusion today of the persons with neurodivergent. For her part, Doris Quispe (from the campaign Migrar no es delito), provided compelling evidence to counteract prejudice most commun regarding the role played by the migrants in our country: in addition to deepening how the campaign worked for the construction of the migrant as a political subject. Later, Manu Mireles ( Contratá Trans/Mocha Celis) enriched the debate with this exposition about trans activism and the diverse initiatives that are run to achieve greater access to rights for this collective historically abandoned. Then, Andrea Rivas (AFDA) presented her perspective about the non binary language and the regimen of rights of the LGBTIQA+ community in a scenery of widespread violence. Finally, Silvia Gascon (Universidad Isalud), gerontology, contributed with her vision about the situation of the rights in older adults and the necessity of thinking collective tools facing the emergency posed by the rapid aging of the population of our country.

From the panel, the participants embarked on a second process of group dialogue that highlighted the need to deconstruct the culture of CSOs, recognize their members and beneficiaries as diverse subjects, evaluate the status of each organization and face protocols, controls and appropriate behaviors for a successful transformation for the future. For that, the participants work in the study of hypotetical cases about situations of discrimination, exclusion, and arrasment among the CSO, a dinamic that open the possibility of identify how the diverses forms of opression and marginalization permeate the organizations, as well as allow them to find strategies to counteract inside each one of them.

The Seminar is part of an institutional process that recognizes that the CSO assists to a change of paradigm in their organizational cultures, which seeks to reflect in their daily work the values held by and for the communities they serve and defend. ​​

In this frame, RACI has achieved to conform a work team about Diversity and Inclusion among the members of the network. It is a co-created space, currently composed by 14 members with experience and interest in the topic, whose goal is generated sinergies, articulate efforts, share experiences and apply measures aimed to achieve a more inclusive and diverse Civil Society and reach the goals of Sustainable Development from Human Rights. This group has had its inaugural meeting in march and is looking forward to a second meeting the next april 7th.

In short, the Seminar has contributed to amplify the voices of all organizations from the institutional and personal aspects, a task with which RACI is very committed.

Thanks to the Embassy of Canada for Argentina and Paraguay for supporting us, and everyone for participating!


The 2020s and philanthropy as a last resort in the face of the climate crisis

According to Tom Brookes, member of the Executive Committee of the European Climate Foundation, the role of philanthropy in addressing the climate crisis is indispensable. By 2030, humanity will have two possible paths to choose from: one towards sustainability, repairing and protecting the ecosystem, and the other towards the sixth mass extinction. 

When talking about the climate crisis, it is important to understand that this is a phenomenon that impacts all spheres of life. The implications of the climate crisis expose the problems of every thematic community: from human rights and women’s rights to education and public health, from migration and inclusion to development and governance, racial justice and equity, all sectors of Civil Society will be affected. In the face of a collapsing ecosystem, differences in privilege, power and resources will be exacerbated. However, according to Brookes, the current chaotic juncture presents itself as a very valuable moment to reflect and become aware of our place in this world as individuals, communities and societies; as part of the ecosystem. 

From Civil Society there are attempts to partner, develop a joint strategy and combine forces. While there seems to be consensus on the ultimate goal, the path towards an organized and cross-cutting work among different communities is not easy. This is where the role of philanthropy comes into play as a driver of social change towards a healthy planet, articulating responses and resources to create a collaborative strategy. 

In general, civil society actors work on specific objectives according to their sphere of influence. While this allows for concrete results, it should not overshadow the idea that everything is connected. Brookes comments on the need to explore the possibilities of supporting each other and creating a wave of change that involves everyone. For this, it should be understood how “policies for a healthy planet can also become policies for a healthy society, and vice versa”. It is philanthropists who should take the lead in this process, further opening up forums for debate and discussion to new actors, weaving together diverse thematic communities. Unified action is indispensable.

Time is short and the balance of the climate system is being lost, as are the planet’s species and ecosystems. For Brookes, the ultimate goal is not to save the planet but to create a vision of society that has never existed before; to live in harmony with nature, accept differences, celebrate equality and promote peace. Thus, the 2020s are presented as a turning point to transform our reality. 

To conclude, Brookes chose to take up Margaret Mead’s words, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world”, but she assures that this time, if we want to achieve this change, a large group of people walking together towards the same goal is needed. 

For more information, visit


Meet the winning team of the Southern Cone Innovation Labs!

After a training and proposal design process, the winners of the Southern Cone edition of the Innovation Labs, “Strengthening transparency in the access and management of resources from different sectors in the face of the covid-19 crisis,” were announced on March 15. Among 10 participating teams from South America, a jury of four prestigious experts, composed by Clara Bosco (CIVICUS), Magdalena Saieg (Fundación Navarro Viola), Gerardo Torres (Meridian International) and Luciana Torchiaro (Transparency International), selected UNCULAB as the winner for its project “Desarrodar”, which seeks to contribute to food security in the province of Mendoza (Argentina). 

The Innovation Labs are spaces for training and creative learning for organizations carried out by the Innovation for Change’s Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (I4C). Based on the principles of Design Thinking and its adaptation to the local reality, they promote the interconnection between different social actors through the co-creation of strategies to promote solutions from Civil Society Organizations. In this Southern Cone edition, led by RACI with the support of other organizations in the region, the Labs were focused on providing creative solutions to ensure transparency in the management of resources to address the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With these objectives in mind, a call for proposals was made from February 9 to 25 of this year, after which 10 teams from Argentina and Paraguay were formed. From March 1 to 15, all team members participated in a Diploma in Design Thinking to introduce them to this methodology and define their problems, in two teamwork sessions with mentors and facilitators, and had ten days to define their prototype and prepare their presentation. On March 15th, each team presented their prototype to the jury, who evaluated their proposals based on their feasibility of implementation, impact, innovation and their response to the need of ensuring that the resources allocated to COVID-19 reach the populations that need them. 

Finally, the prototype “Desarrodar” was awarded as the winner of this edition of the Innovation Labs. Devised by the UNCULAB team, composed by Macarena Randis, Candela Grec, Bruno Zangheri, Marcos Mattar and Víctor Oliva, this proposal seeks to increase the transparency of the food donation chains to community dining rooms in the province of Mendoza. UNCULAB will receive a seed fund of US$3,000 to work over the next three months with local producers and local organizations to gather information and build a web platform to make donation campaigns visible and transparent. 



The American Rescue Plan Act

Presented in January and passed by Congress (without Republican support) early in March, President Biden signed on March 11th the American Rescue Plan Act enacting one of the largest economic relief programs in United States history.  The 1.9 trillion dollars stimulus package is set to bolster the economy with the stated goals of: (1) funding a comprehensive COVID response plan, (2) delivering relief to working families, (3) supporting communities that are struggling, and (4) protecting against future cyberattack.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act allocates funds through various programmatic areas, including: $1,400 stimulus checks per person for most individuals and families, State and Local Aid, Unemployment, Education, Individual and Corporate Tax Credits and $125 billion in funding for COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, and testing.

In addition, around $11 billion dollars of the massive 1.9 trillion rescue plan will be allocated to foreign aid. The move is just the beginning of the United States international response to the global coronavirus pandemic. In detail:

  • $3.5 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This supplements the Global Fund’s annual funding and will go through State Department global health funding.
  • $3.09 billion to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s coronavirus response focused on international disaster relief, health activities, and food security.
  • $930 million to address economic and stabilization needs resulting from the pandemic.
  • $905 million for USAID global health activities to respond to COVID-19, including vaccine development.
  • $800 million to support Food for Peace food aid.
  • $750 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat COVID-19 globally, including efforts related to global health security and global immunization.
  • $580 million in multilateral funding, including support for the United Nations COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan through voluntary contributions to international organizations or programs they manage.
  • $500 million for humanitarian response related to migration and refugee assistance.
  • $250 million for State Department global health programs — primarily the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — to fund COVID-19 response and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on HIV/AIDS programs.


What does this mean for Civil Society Organizations?

The American Rescue Plan Act will deliver much-needed relief in the light of COVID-19, not only in the United States of America but this stimulus package will also have a spillover effect in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, possible mobilizing other donors through the G20 and U.N. to do the same.

The nonprofit sector represents one of the largest industries not only in the United States, but also in many countries of the Latin America and the Caribbean region. The negative consequences of global coronavirus pandemic to millions of individuals and families have made the need for NGOs and philanthropy even more vital as they are closer to communities. It is now up to Civil Society Organizations to utilize provisions of this new law that are designed to help their organizations and the people they serve survive and recover. The inclusion of state and local funding as well as emergency grant funding in the American Rescue Plan Act means Civil Society Organizations will receive the support they need to be able to serve local communities at this time of immense need.

As for the region, on the contrary to the previous administration, Biden has already made public his commitment to mobilize private inversion to the region while addressing transparency and economic development by providing training programs, promoting the development of human capital, as well as technical assistance through international cooperation agencies.


Our Members: We did a virtual visit to CIDC!

Continuing the practice of visiting our members, on February 25 we were able to make a virtual visit to the Center for the Implementation of Constitutional Rights (CIDC).

ICDC and RACI members participated in the visit, along with volunteers, where they exchanged questions and concerns regarding the origin and creation of ICDC, its objectives and work dynamics. In turn, the ICDC team presented its vision and mission, and made a tour of the various projects underway and those they plan to undertake in the near future.

Members and volunteers had a space to exchange ideas and opinions about the functioning of Civil Society Organizations in times of pandemic. It also allowed the RACI team to hear first-hand about the challenges, difficulties and obstacles that small organizations face in achieving their goals. 

CIDC is an organization from the Province of Buenos Aires made up of lawyers whose areas of action are institutional quality, transparency, access to public information, education and gender issues. The team works with the aim of making law a tool for social change to improve realities.

If you want to know more about CICD’s activities, please visit:



The winners of the New Zeland Embassy Fund in Mexico have been selected!

In October 2020, the Embassy of New Zealand opened the fund for the period 2020-2021 to flexibly support projects that manifestly and directly contribute to the elimination of poverty and have a high impact on community socio-economic development.

RACI evaluated a total of 336 (three hundred and thirty-six) project proposals. The majority came from Mexico with 194 (one hundred and ninety-four) project proposals, followed by Guatemala with 43 (forty-three) and El Salvador with 33 (thirty-three) proposals received.

The majority of projects fell under the “Education” theme, followed by “Social and/or health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic”, “Communities Development” and “Food Security”. The other thematic areas of the fund included: “Climate Change and Resilience”, “Agro Sustainable Development” and “Disaster Relief”.

Once the project evaluations were completed, the organizations selected by the New Zealand Embassy were:

  • Chemol Txumb’al – Fundación Maya (Guatemala)
  • Asociación Comité de Rescate de las Cuencas de la Libertad – CORCULL (El Salvador)
  • Fundación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo y Vivienda Mínima – FUNDASAL (El Salvador)
  • Tierra Nueva S.C.(Mexico)
  • Red Indígena de Turismo de México A.C. (RITA)(Mexico)
  • Fondo para la Paz, I.A.P (Mexico)
  • Organización Emprendedora Una Zaa Cuaa Nda Dica, A.C.(Mexico)
  • Asociación de Mujeres Adelina Caal Maquin (Guatemala)

Each organization presented innovative projects aligned with the mission of contributing to sustainable development in their countries and with the purpose of reducing poverty and contributing to a safer, more equitable and prosperous world.

Chemol Txumb’al – Fundación Maya presented the project “Creating socioeconomic development opportunities for young indigenous people in the municipalities of Nebaj, Cotzal and Chajul in the department of Quiché, Guatemala” to promote a strategy that contributes to the development and well-being of the young people who make up the Chemol Txumb’al Youth Network, improving their quality of life and strengthening their territorial roots through the development of agricultural activities.

The Asociación Comité de Rescate de las Cuencas de La Libertad – CORCULL presented the project “Promoting environmental management and sustainable use of the natural assets of El Amatal Mangrove Swamp, in the department of La Libertad, El Salvador”, which seeks to improve the environmental conditions, habitat and quality of life of the families of El Cantón, San Diego through the restoration of the natural ecosystem of El Amatal Mangrove Swamp.

The Fundación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo y Vivienda Mínima – FUNDASAL presented the project “Building resilient communities through food sovereignty and the adequate use of water resources in San Pablo Tacachico” whose objective is to strengthen basic food production through the implementation of knowledge and agroecological techniques free of pesticides and industrial fertilizers and create rainwater harvesting systems, practising the importance of care and optimization of water resources in the cantons of the municipality, as well as in most of the rural areas of the country.

Tierra Nueva S. C. presented the project “Handling and management of water in marginalized communities of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (RBMM) in Michoacán, Mexico” to handle water in the season as a strategy for adaptation to climate change through the storage and collection of rainwater and spring water to ensure irrigation of orchards, and as a means of health prevention against the impact of COVID-19 in 2 marginalized communities of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.

The Red Indígena de Turismo de México A. C. (RITA) presented the project “Strengthening agroecological production processes, technology transfer and revitalization of traditional knowledge for the development of the Mayan indigenous community of Kantemó Quintana Roo” to strengthen community resilience in the context of economic, social and environmental crisis, through the implementation of sustainable biointensive agroecological techniques and the transformation and increase of value chains of agroecological products as a strategy to ensure food sufficiency and avoid falling prices and intermediaries.

Fondo para la Paz, I.A.P. presented the project “Beekeeping: A strategic and sustainable activity that strengthens livelihoods in the coastal region of Oaxaca”, dedicated to promoting beekeeping, from an agroforestry approach, as a strategic and sustainable economic activity to strengthen the livelihoods of 18 families in the municipality of San Juan Lachao, Costa region, Oaxaca.

The Organización Emprendedora Una Zaa Cuaa Nda Dica, A.C. presented the project “Food security for indigenous families through the production of backyard orchards with irrigation water storage system” whose objective is to produce food through orchards that contribute to improve food shortages and provide food security to indigenous families in the town of Ojo de Agua, Santa Cruz.

The Asociación de Mujeres Adelina Caal Maquin presented the project “Improving the quality of life of Q’eqchi’es women and their families in the Municipality of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, through training on harvesting, food processing and management of semi-industrial equipment” in response to the existing problem of food sovereignty, seeking to generate a real income for women and their families, thus improving their quality of life and that of their community.

We thank all the organizations that applied and congratulate all the beneficiaries of the fund!