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Dissemination

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In connection with its congressional mandate to disseminate the lessons learned from funding grassroots development, the IAF undertook an ambitious program in fiscal 2002. IAF’s dissemination staff coordinated production of a range of publications, launched its quarterly online newsletter IAF Connections, further developed the IAF Web site, circulated a dozen news releases, and supported several conferences. Additionally, the executive and program staff, recognized worldwide as an excellent source of information on innovative initiatives, boosted the agency’s outreach through activities that included participation in numerous public events. 

Publications

The IAF’s journal, Grassroots Development, and its annual report continue to be its flagship publications. FY-2002 marked the reappearance of the journal after a three-year hiatus. The latest issue features articles, an interview, reviews of recent works, the journal’s first photo essay and more. English and Spanish versions of the journal and the annual report, 2001 in Review, were circulated to a growing readership and posted, with a Portuguese layout, on the Web. Four other publications were produced in print and electronic format:

  • Approaches to Increasing the Productive Value of Remittances;

  • Building Democracy from the Grassroots;

  • Togetherness: How Governments, Corporations and NGOs Partner to Support Sustainable Development in Latin America;

  • Economic Development in Latin American Communities of African Descent. 

Additionally, several previously published articles by IAF staff were disseminated by other organizations:

  • “Social Capital, Sustainability and Working Democracy: New Yardsticks for Grassroots Development,” first published in the 1994 Grassroots Development by Marion Richey Vance, former IAF representative, was reprinted in The Earthscan Reader in NGO Management, an anthology edited by Alan Fowler and Michael Edwards.

  • “Remittances: Fueling Consumerism or Aiding Development?” by Patrick Breslin, vice president, IAF Office of External Affairs, and Carlo Dade, Foundation representative, was excerpted from Approaches to Increasing the Productive Value of Remittances and placed in the online database of the University of Sussex’ Program in International Development in the 21st Century;

  • “From Policy Advocate to Policy Maker: NGOs in Recife,” by Kathryn Smith Pyle, Foundation representative, was reproduced from the 1997 Grassroots Development by the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University for distribution as a case study in a course on poverty and poverty alleviation in developing countries.

  • Economic Development in Latin American Communities of African Descent was uploaded to The World Bank’s Web site and reprinted by the Inter-American Development Bank.

  • “Wake Up and Smell the Prize-Winning Coffee,” an IAF press release on Nicaraguan grantee PAGJINO, reprinted in Connections, was displayed on Global Envision’s Web site.

www.iaf.gov

IAF’s redesigned Web site, unveiled in 2002, now includes updated application procedures, information on past and current awards, an online newsletter, news releases, an inventory of IAF publications, and the full range of IAF products. The site’s first photo essay, by Patrick Breslin, was highlighted in the September issue of Shutterbug, a monthly magazine for professional photographers. All content is accessible in graphic and text format. Material posted was extensively conformed for availability in English, Spanish and Portuguese. E-mail and the Web are now IAF’s primary means of distribution to and communication with a broad constituency. Currently, www.iaf.gov features more than 60 links with grantee and other sites.

Conferences and Panels

As part of its dissemination function, the IAF undertook several international conferences. Hundreds of individuals from around the world planned to attend “Decentralization, Local Economic Development and Citizen Participation,” cosponsored with the municipality of Arequipa, Marco Región Sur and IAF grantee Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Regional (CEDER), originally scheduled for June in Arequipa, Peru. However, massive protests against the Peruvian government’s privatization initiatives resulted in a complete paralysis of all transportation to the area, and the conference has been rescheduled for June 2003.

“The Haitian Diaspora: An Indispensable Partner in Haiti’s Economic Development,” the IAF’s second conference on remittances, held in Port au Prince in June, was cosponsored with the Center for Free Enterprise and Democracy, an NGO founded by 20 Haitian businessmen; USAID; and UNITRANSFER, a division of UNIBANK, S.A.

IAF’s Amigo Network Roundtable, held in Miami in September, marked the establishment of the Corporate Foundation Network of the Americas by 27 founding members, all corporate foundations or foundation networks. Also in Miami in September, the IAF cosponsored, as the U.S, government’s official representative, the Americas Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility where IAF grantees and corporate partners, totaling nearly a quarter of the participants, discussed their work with corporate sponsors on micro-finance, education and environmental projects. 

IAF sponsored two panels in June at the Eighth Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities in Miami: one on development partnerships, featuring representatives from Nicaraguan grantees CEPRODEL, CODELSA, Fundación León 2000 and Fundación Jose Nieborowski; and the other with the participation of Mexican grantee ACCEDDE and the mayor of Cuquío, Jalisco.

On the panel “African Descendent Communities and Grassroots Development in Latin America and Caribbean” at the National Council of La Raza Annual Meeting in July in Miami, representatives from Honduran grantee Organización de Desarrollo Étnica Comunitaria (ODECO), Brazil’s Criola, the University of Texas and moderator Judith Morrison, IAF senior representative, analyzed successful development initiatives in a context of social exclusion. Morrison also moderated the IAF-sponsored panel “New Initiatives in Race” at the Inter-Agency Consultation on Race in Latin America in July. 

Executive Calendar

David Valenzuela summarized the Inter-American Foundation’s experience at a November conference on local development in the global context sponsored by the Community Foundation of Bajío, a Mexican grantee. In February, he participated in U.S.-Mexico bilateral talks at the White House Conference Center where proposals were generated for presentation to Presidents Bush and Fox at their March meeting.

Patrick Breslin and Foundation representative Christine Krueger arranged for staff members Thomas Costa and David Rapallo, of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Government Reform Committee, to visit Bolivian grantees in January. In March Breslin escorted U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis of California on site visits that included REDES’ “mobile markets” of kiosks in Mejicanos, San Salvador, El Salvador and AVODEC’s rural preventive health program in Jinotega, Nicaragua.

Valenzuela and Carolyn Karr, IAF general counsel, attended the Council on Foundations’ annual meeting in May. Valenzuela represented the U.S. government at the Second International Meeting of Ministers and Representatives of the Highest Authorities responsible for Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation held September in Cancún, Mexico. Later in the month, he gave a four-day course on local economic development at the World Expo Anniversary Celebration in Seville, Spain. 

Staff Initiatives

Walter Price, special assistant to IAF’s president, addressed Columbia University students at a session co-sponsored by Center for the Study of Human Rights and the Latin American Institute, and he participated in “Philanthropy and Social Change in Latin American: Strategies and Lessons,” a workshop sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University.

Judith Morrison participated in “Equally Represented? Political Inclusion of Africans in the Americas,” a panel in the Congressional Black Caucus’ September Braintrust event held in Washington, D.C. Carlo Dade shared IAF’s experiences in linking diaspora groups with their communities of origin at “Remittances as a Development Tool in the Caribbean,” a September roundtable hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank in Kingston, Jamaica. Earlier, Dade was interviewed on Miami’s Radio Carnival on the role of the diaspora in development. 

The growing interest in socially and environmentally sustainable business practices, along with the recognition that businesses can have a significant role in development, has led to a continual redefining of corporate social responsibility. While the dialogue on the issues is still evolving, IAF has formulated its own definition and put theory into practice in Latin America and the Caribbean. Audra Jones, IAF representative and corporate liaison, coordinated production of the IAF’s first CD-ROM, Investing in Social Change, IAF in Partnership with the Private Sector, a collection of 16 case studies of innovative IAF-private sector partnerships. The CD is accessible on IAF’s Web site (click on grants, corporate outreach and case studies). 

Kevin Healy’s Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate: Multicultural Grassroots Development in the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia, originally published in 2001 by Notre Dame Press (www.undpress.nd.edu), was scheduled for a second printing in fiscal 2002. The book details the author’s experiences as an IAF representative responsible for grants for grassroots development in Bolivia. Its success, as well as Healy’s scholarship on indigenous peoples, prompted invitations from the Society for International Development, George Washington University, the Smithsonian’s Office of Folklife and Cultural Studies, the Textile Museum, the Library of Congress, the Peace Corps and the Foreign Service Institute, among other venues. Additionally, Healy’s article “Building Networks of Social Capital for Grassroots Development Among Indigenous Communities in Bolivia and Mexico” appeared in Social Capital and Economic Development, Well-Being in Developing Countries, edited by Jonathan Isham, Thomas Kelly and Sunder Ramaswamy. 

IAF Publications in Fiscal 2002

The recent explosion in migration to the United States dramatically increased remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean at the same time official assistance was declining — a coincidence that has made remittances of critical interest to the development community. In March 2001, the IAF, the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America and the World Bank co-sponsored the first multilateral conference to probe the topic. Approaches to Increasing the Productive Value of Remittances: Case Studies in Financial Innovations and International Cooperative Community Ventures, a compilation of the conference papers coordinated by IAF representative Carlo Dade, is the most thorough exploration to date of the potential for channeling remittances into development projects. 

 

According to recent census information, people of African descent make up one-third of Latin America’s population, yet comprise 50 percent of its poor. Only in the last few years has the existence of their communities been documented and the available research tells us little about the residents’ economic engagement. At the 2001 International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, an IAF-sponsored panel focused on issues surrounding the self- help efforts of this minority often described as invisible. In Economic Development in Latin American Communities of African Descent, IAF representative Judith Morrison has compiled the panel’s presentations, including her own detailing IAF's supper for three Afro-Brazilian initiatives.

 

The transfer of public resources and functions from central bureaucracies to local government throughout Latin America and the Caribbean was the theme of the July 16, 2001, forum co-sponsored by the IAF and the Organization of American States. Building Democracy from the Grassroots compiles the panelists’ presentations on the role of decentralization in consolidating democracy, promoting citizen participation and reducing poverty. These include Ramón Daubón’s engaging analysis of the civic process that accompanies grassroots development based on his study of several IAF projects. 

Togetherness by Beryl Levinger and Jean, McLeod examines the experiences of 12 intersectoral partnerships — among NGOs, local government and, in some cases, businesses — working on grassroots development in five Latin American countries. The authors analyze the vocabulary, stages and types of partnerships entered into, as well as the benefits and burdens of such collaborations. Lessons learned from their field research do not always conform to the conventional wisdom but find ample support in data from the projects profiled.