Constanza Fernández: "In order to make lasting and sustainable changes, communities must be the protagonists."

22 •  dic •  2022

The director of the Community Development area reviews the initiatives carried out during 2022 in the Calle Larga commune and talks about the upcoming challenges, such as the launch of the second version of the Colabora fund and the work of co-creation with the communities.

Contributing to development from the generation of trust and the articulation between communities, the private sector and the public sector is the objective of the Community Development area of the Luksic Foundation, which was born from the certainty of the value of communities and their power of transformation.

The area is led by Constanza Fernández, who took on the challenge of promoting the development of projects built with the communities in a participatory manner, and, at the same time, supporting the strengthening of social organizations.

Fernández is a social worker from the Pontificia Universidad Católica and holds a master’s degree in social organization administration from Columbia University. “I deeply believe that in order to carry out sustainable and relevant interventions in different communities, it is the neighbors themselves, those who live in those territories, who must be the protagonists of their processes,” she says.

Work in Calle Larga

During 2022, the Foundation has been consolidating the work in the commune of Calle Larga, in the province of Los Andes. “The Luksic Educational Foundation has been supporting the Pascual Baburizza Agricultural Institute for more than 30 years, so the Luksic family has a history of closeness to this territory,” says Constanza.

“Calle Larga is a commune that presents both urban and rural realities. As part of the Juntos Por Calle Larga project, in 2022 we carried out a first diagnosis where we applied a survey to more than 1,000 households that revealed gaps in strengths and weaknesses,” explains Fernández. Participatory workshops were then held with different age groups, children, adults and senior citizens, and representatives of the productive sector. The results of the diagnosis were presented to these people. “Together with them we were able to reflect on innovative and attractive methodologies to find out which are the priority issues to work on,” says the director of the area.

Together for Calle Larga defined five lines of work related to safety, transportation, health, environment and productive vocation, which are being worked on together with the Municipality and social organizations. “In parallel to this process, we wanted the community to feel that they could carry out concrete initiatives, so we launched the Colabora competition fund, which provided between $1 and $2 million to develop projects for the benefit of the community”, explains Constanza about the program, which awarded 10 initiatives,

On the other hand, the Foundation, in alliance with the Municipality and the Mi Parque Foundation, is working on a plan to improve public spaces, in which three squares in the commune were selected and will enter the co-design and construction process in January 2023.

Upcoming challenges

The director of Community Development says that the year 2023 will be marked by the consolidation of the three major programs in the commune. In the first place, ‘Together for Calle Larga’ will be focused on forming working groups to address the issues prioritized by the community, always maintaining transparency and participation. The roundtables will be responsible for co-designing a portfolio of short, medium and long-term projects.

On the other hand, the second version of the Colabora program will be launched in the first half of 2023 and, in addition, workshops with neighbors and work sessions will be held during the year to improve three squares in the commune. “It will be a year in which collaborative work will undoubtedly continue to be fundamental; we hope to continue expanding the network of actors with whom we relate, finding new opportunities to make Calle Larga a better community thanks to the joint work between public and private actors”, concluded the director.