Costa Rica and Paraguay Innovation Labs have ended!

As part of the Innovation Labs cycle offered throughout the year by the Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, we supported the development of a lab in Paraguay and another one in Costa Rica.

The theme of the Costa Rican lab was “Managing Public-Private Partnerships in Costa Rica for the Management of Natural Resources, in the face of the COVID-19 Crisis”, and was in charge of Asociación Regional Centroamericana para el Agua y el Ambiente – ARCA.

In Paraguay’s edition, the theme was “Promotion and Defense of Civic Space in Paraguay“, coordinated by Asociación de ONGs del Paraguay – POJOAJU.

Both laboratories were held virtually and were attended by 25 people each. During the sessions, the teams learned to apply the Design Thinking methodology for the development of innovative prototypes to solve the problems addressed.

The design of prototypes implied that no project had to be already in implementation at the time of the Lab, but it had to have the capacity to visually express what it sought to solve. They had to be able to empathize with the problem at hand and guarantee its effective implementation.

At the end of each laboratory, a jury of experts selected a winning team that received a seed fund of US$1,500 to be used in the implementation of one of the phases of the prototype. In the case of Paraguay, two winning teams were selected.

We will continue working from the team to create spaces that encourage CSO’s in their innovation and creativity in the design of solutions.


Join Visible Diversity: an exercise of collective reflection on how we are as social organizations

There is still time to join the collective voice! We invite you to collectively reflect on how social organizations in the region are like in terms of diversity. 

All those who are part of a social organization, whether paid or voluntary, formal or informal organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, can participate in the survey that we are carrying out from RACI with the support of the Innovation for Change Regional Center in Latin America. The survey is available for 34 countries and in 4 languages: Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.

Considering that culture is facing a paradigm shift, the purpose of this study is to arise fruitful debates that reinforce and collaborate with our commitment to Human Rights, and that these be diverse, accessible and plural spaces.

From RACI we understand that it is vital that we as social organizations analyze our practices and dynamics, and analyze the extent to which we are challenging the prevailing standards of exclusion and privilege. For this reason, we seek to gather the concerns, opinions and reflections of different voices in order to gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics of the diversity in our sector. 

Join the collective voice and answer the survey!


RACI, OECD, and World Bank Webinar: The new post-Covid-19 scenarios and their challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean

On December 9, we organized a webinar together with OECD and the World Bank to reflect on the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. Possible tools to achieve a more socially and economically inclusive post-pandemic situation were discussed. 

From the OECD, Dr. Rubén Maximiano highlighted the importance of competition policies as part of the solution to the crisis. These would be useful both to balance current needs, and in turn, would contribute to more efficient markets as a whole, benefiting both large and small companies. It would also ensure a level playing field at the national and global level. 

The OECD and the World Bank argued that competition policy is a central element for governments to build resilient, inclusive and sustained economies. 

According to Maximiano, there are three key points where competition is essential to recover Latin America from the current crisis: governments must implement efficiency-based competition policies; these must be part of the government’s response to the crisis, leading to structural reforms; and, governments must empower and resource competition authorities to maintain enforcement and contribute to economic reforms. 

Further into the discussion, Juliana Catania, representing RACI, focused on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Civil Society. The crisis brought to the surface the previously existing structural inequalities and the limitations in rights suffered by the people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The enabling environment of Civil Society, where democracy and its freedoms are developed, was affected by government decisions during the pandemic through a severe restriction in civic space both globally and regionally. 

Thanks to the Perspectiva Cívica study conducted by our team, the clear need to position civil society as a relevant actor within public policies was recognized. This is due to data collected from the survey such as: a 57% increase in demands on CSOs, a 9% increase in CSO resources, and that 71% of CSOs recognize the need for greater funding and support from the State. 

On the other hand, William Maloney, representing the World Bank, acknowledged that one of the major long-term concerns is the consequence of the loss of human capital after access to education has been limited for almost 2 years: in the future, social mobility and economic growth will be a conflict for both governments and society as a whole.

In terms of growth, practically the entire region has not yet managed to recover its pre-pandemic numbers, and the most worrying thing is that the growth rate for the coming years is 3%, which is not enough to reduce inequalities. 

Latin America must be more dynamic in exports and reduce resistance to internal competition. In addition, the importance of allowing the entry of large companies into the region to boost the economies was expressed. 

On the other hand, the entire innovation system should be considered a priority to increase business productivity and foster a strong link between universities and the private sector to transfer and adapt new ideas for industry.

Both OECD and the World Bank expressed their views on the performance of today’s companies. While Maloney commented on the need to improve human capital management skills and to give rise to competition policies, they both stressed the importance of avoiding the artificial preservation of declining sectors. 

Finally, the issue of strengthening post-pandemic governance was raised. RACI stressed the importance of recognizing that the crisis is both economic and human rights related. Governance must be strengthened by respecting the rights of people in all countries of the world, but also by seeing society as the creator of public policies. 

The World Bank considered that there is a great lack of legitimacy in the governments of the region. The strategy may vary, but all the panelists agreed that governments must take on the task of promoting efficiency and competition.


In February, we meet again! New Coworking space for CSOs

Once again, we are joining efforts to create solutions. Together with Fundación Navarro Viola, we would like to invite social organizations to a new coworking space, specially designed to promote teamwork and strengthen the impact of Argentine Civil Society.

This initiative will put into operation a space for mutual enrichment from and for Civil Society, promoting teamwork. We know how important it is to have a space where we can function, organize our work and carry out our activities. Today we are happy to offer a space for meeting, empowerment and connection with other social initiatives.

If you belong to a Civil Society Organization and need a workspace, register here and tell us more about your team’s needs in order to improve our proposal.


The training cycle “Fortalecimiento de capacidades para Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil de América Latina y el Caribe” comes to an end

RACI continued its efforts to accompany the region’s Civil Society in the defense of civic space, its strengthening and resilience.

During the months of September and December 2021, the Regional Center of Innovation for Change in Latin America and the Caribbean carried out the training cycle “Fortalecimiento de capacidades para Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil de América Latina y el Caribe”.

The activity was aimed at the development and institutional strengthening of organizations in the areas of: Access to Resources, Networking, Strategic Planning, Transparency and Accountability, Data and Analysis and Institutional Communication. 

One hundred regional organizations were selected to participate in the cycle, which lasted twelve weeks. RACI participated in the organization of the activities in partnership with other expert organizations in the region, such as Grupo FARO (Ecuador), Jóvenes Contra la Violencia (Guatemala) and Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana (Peru). 

These trainings were highly valued by the organizations from 20 participating countries, which helped strengthen their tools and diversify their practices to face the ever-changing challenges of the region.

RACI will continue working to create new spaces and training opportunities for Civil Society Organizations.