CASE STUDY: Planting Hope In Schools
The mission of Fundación Logros (Achievements Foundation) is to contribute to a sustainable social development taking the individual development as a starting point, through formal and non formal educational processes. The Organic Orchard Program is a tool which encourages children's individual and collective development as well as their school and community environment. It also enhances the value of the school as a means for social progress.
Citizen Base Strategy
Their goal is to identify, gather, commit, encourage and articulate diverse participants, according to the program needs, and build an alliance with the state, companies and other citizen sector organizations. Fundación Logros extends nation-wide in spite of its minimal structure. This has been possible thanks to their firm conviction about the need to work together with others to achieve big results. Thus, it builds alliances and networks involving three sectors: state, companies, citizen sector organizations. Considering the potentiality of networks, Fundación Logros decided to start an organic orchard program at schools, promoting the development of 25,000 Uruguayan children and their families. “Sembrando Redes” (Sowing Networks) is an articulated system focused on the participation of diverse areas (the school community, agrarian technicians, national and municipal agencies, business companies and the media). All participants play a basic role in the program development; should any of them be absent, the program would fail because each member contributes different information and skills. These networks have been built step by step in time making it possible to get all participants deeply involved. The new element is its heterogeneous nature and the complementary work which fosters mutual benefiting and permanent learning.
The Alliances are built with different participants and are based on the same values: value and respect for the knowledge and skills contributed by each participant; transparency, which provides a firm foundation and mutual trust; and awareness about the mutual benefits offered by the alliance. Their networks include 200 schools involving human resources –teachers, parents, children- and input for the orchards. 1,300 teachers participate and are the program local references that transmit knowledge, encourage values and motivate children. The starting point is the demand and motivation of the school, with the aim of leading the community to incorporate the necessary knowledge to develop itself independently from the school and to replicate the experience in other community areas, making the best use of local resources. The orchard thus turns into a "green classroom" for children where they learn as they work, which never occurred before. Moreover, the orchards have turned the school into a promotion and participation center since local leaders are being identified within each school community (teachers and/or parents), who identify with the program’s mission and get other people involved in order to achieve their goals.
Fundación Logros also has a network of 20 volunteer agrarian engineers that work with a team of engineers from the foundation, offer training programs at the schools, follow up processes, provide advice, and encourage and evaluate program development. Local technicians articulate the schools in each department and ensure that every school program characteristic and requirement is met. Their network of national organizations and agencies including the Public Education Council, National Colonization Institute and department townships support and spread the schools’ activities and provide logistic support and human resources. Logros intends to build a community of allied companies and foster a long-lasting relationship. Apart from providing financial support, the business companies contribute a different line of thought and action, in terms of target planning, impact evaluation, management models and institutional organization. They also offer their own time and that of their staff encouraging corporate volunteering and offering direct support to communities in their development. Logros also leverages the media for website design and updating, monthly advice, TV spot production, and advertising opportunities to spread the program and find new allies.
How It’s Working
- Logros benefits over 250 public schools in Uruguay, 26 in Brazil and 15 in Argentina and reaches over 30,000 children.
- Fundación Logros helps children of 5 to 12 years of age to receive nourishment of better quality thanks to the orchard the school has.
- It promotes the protection of the environment, developing careful production and consumption practices and encouraging its adequate and sustainable natural management (organic production).
- The resources provided by the alliances are used to support the School Orchard Program general development, which helps to extend the number of schools involved and to create new projects (focusing on nutrition, organic seed production, etc.)
- Build the alliance in line with the organization mission and goals, under formal agreements or contracts.
- Clearly set the roles, responsibilities and scope of each participant in order to keep the alliance stable, raising awareness on the mutual benefits offered.
- Encourage each participant’s deep commitment on a permanent basis, showing results and raising their consciousness on the relevance of their support: should any of them be absent, the program would fail.
Mora Podestà was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1988.