In 2011, I had the opportunity to make several visits to the field and participate in a series of activities promoted by Avina and its allies.
The experience was for me both inspiring and a learning opportunity.

 

O ne of the things I most appreciated was the quality of the leaders and institutions that Avina is collaborating with, from the Patagonia to Mexico, from Cusco to Salvador de Bahía. My exchanges confirm that we have consolidated the way we contribute to social transformation in Latin America and that we are working with the right allies to influence the course of change in areas that are extremely relevant for the continent. Avina has joined forces with different coalitions of civil society, government and private sector organizations, crossing sectors, cultures and borders to coordinate joint-action agendas that can generate large-scale changes.

Importantly, we have objective indicators of this process. Avina is an institution that tries to measure its performance so that it can continuously improve, and the 2011 results have taught us several lessons. In our results management system, which tabulates concrete changes to which we have contributed, we have maintained the same high level of results as we did in the previous year, although there were decreases in some categories. We believe that this is instructive, as it indicates where we need to adapt to maximize our contribution. We exceeded our goals in terms of the process related results we saw (see more). It was also gratifying to confirm that Avina made a significant contribution to six of the nine most important results that we recorded in 2011, which have benefited millions of Latin Americans.

Aside from its own contributions to the efforts that we give priority, Avina seeks to mobilize, whenever possible, the resources of other organizations to support our allies in the region. With this cooperation, in 2011 we were able to help direct USD 24 million towards Latin America, and if we add all of Avina’s program contributions, the amount exceeds USD 45 million. At the same time, we were again able to reduce our costs of administration, in real terms.

It was also a year for sharing experiences. In 2011, during the Eighth American Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank in Asuncion, Paraguay, Avina launched the results of its reflections on more than ten years of leadership and support to the Corporate Social Responsibility movement (CSR) in Latin America (see more). This publication compiles the observations and perspectives of dozens of organizations, businesses and associations that have led this important movement. It is interesting to stop and think that only 15 years ago the idea of companies recognizing their responsibility beyond increasing returns to shareholders was something unusual among business leaders. Our study confirms critical advances in concepts and practices that occurred in this period; at the same time it highlights how much still needs to be done so that companies can prosper and compete in an atmosphere that is environmentally responsible and committed to the common good.

This look at Avina’s contribution to CSR is one of ten studies that Avina is putting together to analyze our role, together with those of other key protagonists, in the social transformation of Latin America over the last 16 years. We want to focus on our contributions to large-scale change in the region, to celebrate and to share it, but we also use them as key inputs for our strategic planning that began in 2011 and will conclude in 2012. Where have we had the most success? How can we make a significant contribution in facing the current and future challenges of Latin America? How do we need to adapt in order to do that? We have asked ourselves and many of our allies these questions to ensure that our plan for the coming years is aligned with the priorities of the region and with our strengths.

There are two areas of expansion which we announced in 2011 that, without a doubt, will be among our priorities for the future. With the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation we formed an alliance to respond to the challenge of migration and the well-being of the migrant community in Latin America. With our regional and international allies, we have identified a real opportunity to frame migration as a phenomenon that by definition goes beyond borders and sectors and that requires the collaboration of a complex network of organizations. There is an increasing awareness among these actors of the need to coordinate policies and align efforts within the countries most affected as well as among the countries themselves. Migration is a flow that characterizes the region, and we need to understand it and interact with it in an intelligent way in our societies.

Avina has identified that it can best contribute by mobilizing its network of contacts and allies in Latin America in order to define a common regional agenda for action. In this spirit, Avina announced in May 2011, during an event at the Tlateloclo Center in Mexico City its commitment to Mexico as an integral part of its vision for Latin America. It put its regional platform at the disposal of participants to link the Mexican groups and leaders with their counterparts in the rest of Latin America in the causes we have prioritized (see more). Mexico is clearly a key country for our migration strategy, but it is also important for sustainable cities and inclusive markets and other impact opportunities that Avina is targeting. We are very happy to be able to collaborate more closely with our Mexican allies, and we are already learning much from them.

In order to complete Avina’s operational consolidation and direct the strategic planning process in 2012, we have made a change in the structure of our international executive team. A Chief Operating Officer (COO) position has been created to strengthen an integrated vision of Avina’s operations in 16 countries and to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of our actions. Gabriel Baracatt, a Bolivian who has acted as our Director for Social Innovation since 2009, takes on this challenge as of January 2012.

The year 2011 was one of challenges and many advances, all made possible thanks to the alliances that link us to the best efforts of hundreds of people and institutions. On that list, I would like to mention our allies at the forefront of some of the most difficult and important challenges in Latin American. I would also like to mention the institutions with which we co-finance these causes, and whose collaboration significantly multiplies our mutual capacity to contribute to change in a more concrete way. Finally, I would like to congratulate the wonderful team of professionals at Avina that works with incredible dedication to make a difference in Latin America. I hope that this Annual Report will offer all those who accompany us a small glimpse of the vast number of actions carried out in 2011 that contribute to a more just and sustainable Latin America, and I invite you to join us in the causes herein described.

Sean McKaughan
Chief Executive Officer

 

Sean McKaughan

 

In 2011, we were able to help direct USD 24 million towards Latin America, and the amount exceeds USD 45 million when we add all of Avina’s program contributions.