An exercise in imagination: the work of strengthening information ecosystems 

Barbara Paes

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve shared an update from our project focused on information ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since the beginning of the project, back in October 2023, we’ve talked to many peers and partners about what it takes to build healthy information ecosystems: we hosted community calls with over 60 people from all over the regions and we’ve done in-depth interviews with almost 30 of you (thank you!). 

It’s been such a wonderful experience to hear about the creative, transformative ways civil society organisations, journalists, and activists are creating more balanced creation, exchange, flow, and uses of information. We’re currently in the process of finalising a report in which we’ll share learnings from these strategies, as well as recommendations for funders and donors who are interested in further supporting that type of work. 

As we put the finishing touches on our report, we thought we’d share some of what’s been on our minds. 

Working towards healthy information ecosystems is tough work – and a much needed exercise in imagination

One reflection that has been floating around as we move along this project is that restoring information ecosystems in LAC isn’t necessarily about helping these ecosystems “go back” to a prior healthy state. This is because the region hasn’t necessarily sustained healthy, balanced information ecosystems on a wide scale and in the long term in the past. So instead of restoring information ecosystems with the goal of “returning” to a previous ideal condition, we’ve been seeing how restoration is about imagining what stronger, healthier information ecosystems could look like and simultaneously building and cultivating the transformative initiatives and structures needed to get us there.

Collective visions for stronger information ecosystems are already being built

As we worked on this research, we engaged with many who have been crafting a vision of what it would be like to have information ecosystems that sustains social justice and working for years to move us closer to that vision. 

Over the months, we’ve heard about the power of local, community-driven initiatives, got to know inspiring work that addressed people’s key information needs, and marvelled at the impact that promoting a sense of belonging and connection can have on information ecosystems. We have also talked about the ways art and oral traditions are being used to address crucial information gaps and empower communities, admired the work of those who are creating conversations about climate and environmental justice with their communities, and saw how it is crucial to ensure information ecosystems are more inclusive and safe.

In hostile information ecosystems, improving civil society’s digital resilience is crucial 

All over the region, disinformation and misinformation have been used to incite hate speech against vulnerable groups, digital attacks against activists and journalists are frequent and becoming more sophisticated and pervasive. 

In this context, it isn’t surprising that one of the most pressing challenges mentioned by interviewees and community call participants was the need to improve their digital resilience. Despite the fundamental work done by civil society (including journalists and popular communicators), many described having limited access to resources that would support them in preparing against potential threats and mitigating digital security vulnerabilities in robust, holistic ways. 

Follow along for updates and get tech and data support from our team 

We’re planning to publish our report next month! Follow us on LinkedIn and sign up to our newsletter to get the report as soon as it comes out or keep an eye on our blog for updates. 

As a part of this project, we are also offering free tech and data support to individuals or groups who are working for social justice in Latin America and/or the Caribbean. If you’re interested, make sure to reach out

Lastly, contact barbara[at] if you want to know more about this work and/or share your thoughts about information ecosystems in LAC.