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Posted 24 July, 2019 by Paola Mosso

Zooming in on learning with our Latin American partners

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In Latin America–as we see elsewhere–the individuals, groups and organisations that make up civil society are faced with limited time and resources to carry out their work and reflect on their learning. Many operate in challenging and ever-changing contexts that often move away from transparency, accountability and democracy due to pressures from intrusive surveillance mechanisms and limitations on freedom of expression, among other constraints.

It is in this context that civil society remains motivated to strengthen their approaches to creating positive change. We’ve seen these dynamics at play through many different interactions with organisations across the region in our work both broadly as an organisation and more specifically in a 2017 meeting we convened together with sixty anti-corruption leaders in the region.

The strategic application of data and technology–including deliberate reflection and evaluation–creates opportunities to imagine new approaches to complex and evolving problems. Ensuring that the application of data and technology is a positive force requires civil society to ask themselves why they are applying certain approaches, investigate how to design and implement them, and identify which tools can be strategically applied.

To support Latin American organisations through their reflection and learning processes and advancing work that is in harmony with their desired results, we have developed a new project that enables organisations to test their assumptions, iterate approaches and measure impact. Our support will come in the form of community calls and targeted support to three organisations.

This project will be a collaboration between organisations and individuals that have already participated in our previous meetings. Though we will not have an open call, we will gather lessons and new ideas that arise from the project and share them through blog posts, social media and our newsletter.

Conversing and collaborating

During two virtual calls, our closed group of participants will share challenges and frustrations about the use of data and technology in their projects, how they have learned from the process they followed, and how they incorporated learnings into new projects. In these conversations, we will also collaboratively explore practices that measure project impact. After the virtual calls, we will publicly share the practices and lessons we’ve uncovered together.

In addition to community calls, we will work with three organisations in the region to reflect on what is working and what should change in their projects that incorporate technology and data. Through what we call the “Learning Lenses”, we will facilitate a reflection process to support organisations with strategic, targeted advice on their specific challenges, culminating in the creation of a lightweight learning framework for assessing the impact of individual projects.

What’s next?

During the next several months, we will be learning with the organizations, and we will be sharing learnings and experiences through our blog and social media, in the hopes that they will be useful for other civil society organisations.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about our process, you can reach Paola Mosso at: paola@theengineroom.org.

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