Dear friends and colleagues, we hope you are all well!

We would like to invite you all to participate in the official launch of our documentary By Reason or By Force and its accompanying round table discussion which will be held on 24 July at 6pm UCT -3 (see the trailer and link to participate at the end of this entry).

The documentary was part of the participatory evaluation of the Working Groups and was organised together with TECHO, one of EvalParticipativa’s strategic partners. The evaluation methodology was replicated in different countries of the region.

Here, we let you see behind the scenes of this documentary and the evaluative experience; topics that we will touch on in addition to the film in the round table discussion.

One documentary, many stories 

By Reason or By Force is a film that reflects on experiences of community organisation and participation from the Santa Teresa settlement in Chile but which also communicates more broadly to the viewer the reality lived by millions of people in popular settlements. The unique way that TECHO tells the story is a highly valuable pedagogical resource, both when working with leaders and when working with volunteers and technical teams.

The neighbour working to develop their area in Mexico, Ecuador or El Salvador will recognise that their own story of struggle is not so different to that of this group of leaders who share their anecdotes and they will also see their lives reflected in this report.

For volunteer groups, this material will be useful as an information sharing tool which can be used in sessions for potential volunteers or induction sessions so that volunteers can hear firsthand what the settlements are like, who the protagonists are as well as the successes and challenges that they face on a daily basis.

Technical teams will deepen their knowledge on the personal experience of leadership in the settlements.

Contrary to idealised perceptions on motivating factors for organisation and participation, this material allows us to recognise that behind every person’s decision to represent their area and stand up for their rights, there is a personal, social and family cost which at times overlaps into their private life.

We will certainly question what we learned in the classroom and we will recognise that the fieldwork challenges are complex and should go hand in hand with commitment, professionalism and sensitivity.

Finally, as an organisation, we have the responsibility to make visible the multiple ways that certain groups are affected by inequality. Poverty is one variable which affects women to a disproportionate degree. One questionnaire organised by TECHO to more than two hundred community leaders from 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, found that 75.8% of the leaders were women and that most of them had three full time jobs: looking after others, bringing in income and having a role in managing the settlement. It is therefore not surprising that the protagonists in this report are women

Participatory evaluation from and with the people

From more than 20 years of experience working with communities, TECHO has developed various projects working together with communities regarding housing, community infrastructure, education, work and community development. In some instances, they were evaluated using different qualitative and quantitative methodologies, measuring satisfaction and levels of efficiency. However, these evaluations focused on the projects and not on how they were organised.

In this instance, it was of vital importance to analyse how this intervention space worked, what participation looked like and how they worked together to create solutions. A participatory focus on evaluation was the most appropriate for this.

In this context, they developed the Participatory Evaluation of the Santa Teresa settlement Working Group in Chile. It was an experience that succeeded in bringing to our screens the reality of life in popular settlements in a simple everyday manner.

TECHO has been linked to EvalParticipativa from day one, becoming partners in order to link up and create synergy, contributing our experience and vocation to learn more every day. With the support of Focelac and PETAS, TECHO carried out five participatory evaluations in 2018 and 2019 in Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Paraguay and Ecuador. The aim of these evaluations was to learn how the Working Group intervention strategy worked and analyse its strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of community stakeholders. The participatory evaluation experience has allowed us to value the relevance, significance and usefulness of this methodology in our strategies.

Documentary launch: round table discussion

The round table discussion will feature leaders from at least 18 Latin American countries as well as volunteers and TECHO teams in the region. As well as the people who featured in the film, there will also be technical team members from DEval, PETAS and other organisations interested in the topic. The event will be open to all those who desire to know more about the evaluation process and experience as well as the challenges faced by informal settlement dwellers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Here you can see the film trailer:

Here you can see the full film:


What do I need to participate?

The only thing you need to participate is a stable internet connection. Except from the organisers and speakers who will connect in a different way, the general public interested in the event should connect through the following link (YouTube channel), and can ask questions and make comments in the ‘chat’:

This event is planned for Friday 24 July, at 6pm, UCT -3 (See the time for your region here). The event will last for approximately an hour.

See you there!

Fernanda Arriaza López | Community Management Director | TECHO International


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