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Civic Infrastructures History

Civic infrastructures in Latin America promoting democratic practices in the region

Between 2017 and 2019, Avina Foundation and Open Society Foundations (OSF) joined forces in order to accompany the strengthening and consolidation of civic infrastructures[1] and emerging social movements in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil; to encourage citizens to build more inclusive and representative political agreements; and to transform power relations by seeking to occupy decision-making spaces that would allow them to translate their demands into tangible changes in public policies.

This work involved two lines of action:

  1. Strengthening civic infrastructures capable of transforming public policies and democratic practices in the region
  2. Supporting networks of actors and leaderships proposing new ways of participating in politics

These civic architectures have contributed to the construction of alternative spaces for political participation as well as for transforming the status quo and promoting practices of transparency, horizontality, inclusive deliberation and agenda co-creation.

These contributions have unlocked new opportunities for political construction and action by citizens. Additionally, these movements have based their actions on technological platforms and digital tools, expanding the possibilities of participation and civic mobilization. In summary, they are citizens who have reformulated and restructured modern political and democratic life.

2017-2019 Projects


01. Map of civic infrastructures in Colombia in alliance with Seamos Digital Democracy
The mapping of five cities to identify practices that actors from organizations, movements and parties implemented in the 2018 political and social context. This exercise led to the creation of the In-visibles Network and the National Incidence Network Nosotras Ahora (Women Now).

02. In-visibles Network
An organizational and leadership system that serves as a space to identify the potential to form collective agendas as well as to build relationships that allow these agendas to reach decision-makers.

03. National Incidence Network “Nosotras Ahora” (Women Now)
A space for the promotion of female political leaders in Colombia. This network seeks to connect people and experiences in order to transfer knowledge and tools that allow more women to occupy decision-making positions.

04. Ocupar la Política – Concejo de Bogotá (Occupy Politics – Bogota Chapter)
A process that seeks to overcome obstacles to political renewal: the disconnection between initiatives, the lack of experience and capability in campaign development and the use of technology.

05. Ocupar la Política (Occupy Politics)
The work of numerous political and non-profit organizations, citizen movements, collectives and independent political parties dedicated to transforming ways of taking political action, approaching the city and occupying decision-making spaces.

06. Creation of spaces for designing collective agendas to transform political practices
Following the construction of the Synergy Network, which was driven by the efforts of youth organizations and movements as well as those of Por Mexico Hoy (Today, for Mexico), unified advocacy strategies were created and a transformative agenda that sought to reach national authorities was widely spread.

07. School of Democratic Education
A school, organized by the Update Institute and CHAMA Agency-network together with other organizations, that worked to train young people for the 2018 political campaigns.

[1] Civic architectures refer to those which have mobilizing imagery, an adequate and formalized structure and a marshalling ethical-political project, as well as a history and collective identity, and shared and continuous social relations in common spaces. These elements are especially important for collective action requiring a common purpose, solidarity and the skills to drive social change.