We can contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, justice and peace through the forging of North-South alliances that reflect our interdependence. But geographic distance, cultural and language differences, power disparities, and the time and effort required all pose significant challenges.
One of the ways ForAL seeks to address these challenges and to build relationships based on trust and respect is by fostering inter-American dialogue between civil society groups and funders. The exchange of experience can lead to better understanding, mutual empowerment, and enhanced collaboration in the pursuit of complementary goals.
To that end, and building on several earlier dialogues convened by ForAL, we decided to initiate a new process that, through an ongoing exchange between funders and civil society groups, would offer conceptual and methodological elements to strengthen our capacity to evaluate social change in social movement processes.
We hope that the report on that process, available in English and Spanish, will contribute to constructive attitudes and practices in the relationships between civil society groups, networks and funders in the North and the South.
Antecedents of this process include a dialogue convened by ForAL, along with Grantmakers Without Borders and several Latin American organizations in May 2005. Fifty representatives of funders and social movement networks from across the Americas gathered in Mexico City for two days to reflect together on “A New Relationship for More Congruent Collaboration”. The summary document in English and Spanish describes the vision and content of that meeting and the future projection of the process.
Other antecedents include a dialogue and a public seminar convened by ForAL on “The Challenges of Progressive Philanthropy in the Americas” at the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The summary document in English and Spanish describes these events.
As an additional support for this dialogue process, we offer a reflection piece by Miguel Alvarez Gándara, founding member of the Steering Committee of ForAL.
We invite all who are interested to become partners in this process so that these reflections can continue to contribute to the creation of a better future in the Americas. Please sign up for the ForAL listserv to add your voice and to be informed of future events and of periodic postings of key documents to the website.
In 2002, social movements gathered at the World Social Forum to discuss “Una Cooperación Alternativa para Otro Mundo Posible.” (“Alternative Philanthropy for Another Possible World”). The Spanish version of the document describes this dialogue.