In the 2014 issue of the Grassroots Development journal, we reflect on lessons learned on grassroots leadership since the IAF’s 1977 book They Know How, which summarizes insights from the first five years of IAF funding.
“Leadership at the Grassroots: Lawrence Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”
Where do leaders come from, and what qualities make them successful? This article takes a closer look at grassroots leadership and identifies characteristics shared by six individuals who have emerged to prove themselves in the struggle against Latin America’s widespread poverty.
“Disabilities and Inclusion in Paraguay”
This article highlights the disability movement that has flourished under the leadership of IAF grantee Fundación Saraki to address inadequate services and dilapidated facilities for people with disabilities in Paraguay.
“A Diplomat for Disability Rights”
This interview highlights the disability-inclusive development work of Judith Heumann, a top-level advisor at the U.S. Department of State who began her professional career as the first person to teach from a wheelchair in the New York public school system, which had twice declared her a fire hazard.
“Audits: Beyond the Bottom Line”
In addition to ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars are used for the intended purpose, the IAF auditing process is crucial in helping a grassroots group gets off to a good start. This article illuminates how interactions with the IAF-contracted auditors in Latin America often yield returns beyond accountability.
“Grassroots Accountability in Colca”
An “audit culture” exists across a range of grassroots initiatives in isolated communities in Peru’s Colca Valley, where IAF grantee partner Desco was among the first grassroots groups in the region to organize more than 30 years ago.
“How the Law Constrains Freedom of Association in the Americas”
Across the Americas, statutes on the freedom of association to address problems in civil society may be hard to locate, ambiguously written and enforced through arbitrary or discriminatory practices. This article highlights the work of International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, a leading authority on international law and practice regulating non-profits that combat legislation that negatively impact all classes of civil society organizations.
“Volunteer Tourism and Mayan Weavers: Friendship, Friction and Fair Trade”
As voluntourists become increasingly essential to Guatemalan grassroots organizations such as IAF grantee partner TelaMaya, interactions with their hosts can cause discomfort that highlights the complexities of humanitarian entrepreneurship. This article highlights differences in approaches to business and cultural patrimony between members of weaving cooperatives and voluntourists.
“Seasons and Uncertainty: Temporeras in Chile’s Fruit Industry”
An IAF Fellow examines how temporary workers in the Aconcagua Valley of central Chile negotiate a precarious labor regime. She argues that the most vulnerable employees are subsidizing the fruit industry by working long hours, neglecting family and sacrificing well-being as they incur gaps in government-sponsored benefits.
“To Lake Titicaca and Back Again: Reflections on a Calling”
After a 36-year career in Latin American development, Kevin Kealy, the IAF’s longest-serving employee, reflects on how his experience came full circle when he awarded his final grant before retirement to a professional group near Lake Titicaca, the same region in which he participated in an undergraduate service project that began his development work.
“Bottom-Up Development in the Classroom”
Here a professor of international development studies makes the case for a grassroots approach to development in higher education, a concept that remains an underdeveloped element in international affairs or economics graduate programs.
Poem: “The Development Set”
“Putting Poverty in a Museum”
This article engages with Muhammad Yunus’ call to eliminate poverty and put it in a museum through the distribution of small loans to poor people that could lead to a wave of entrepreneurial potential. The IAF has shown that critically reflecting on the role of the funder, as well as listening to communities in need, can yield proposals that suit the context and produce consistently better outcomes.
“Chronic Violence and the Challenge to Grassroots Organizations”
What happens to communities when high levels of violence become normal? This article offers a lens through which to examine the challenge of chronic violence by focusing on the integral experience of violence from the perspectives of those who live it. The IAF has a continued commitment to identify and engage grantee partners and build support for vulnerable communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Book Review: “Goodbye Brazil: Emigres from the Land of Soccer and Samba”