MODEL OF SOCIAL INNOVATION FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN AZUAY PROVINCE
Gobierno Provincial del Azuay

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Malnutrition is strong in the province of Azuay and therefore it has been necessary to include this particularity in public policies. Otherwise, the possibilities of eradicating poverty and malnutrition are almost null; Ecuador has a 26% chronic malnutrition and Azuay reaches 57% of chronic malnutrition and in general to what we call sub-nutrition. EQUIDAR, which is the denomination of the program covered by the present project, derives from two words, Equity and Giving (in Spanish). It aims to merge efforts of the public and private sectors into a sustainable structure that contributes to the general objective of improving the conditions of nutrition and growth of children and the integral development of families in the vulnerable sectors of the province of Azuay, in order to eradicate malnutrition and generate development. Thus, this model of social innovation is born from the need to generate better conditions for the development of the population, encouraging the territory from its local economies and the agricultural sector, promoting indigenous production with food sovereignty in the participants and strengthening small producers. In order to generate a strengthening of social capital, two mixed economy companies were created: AgroAzuay, which has been promoting the short channels of solidarity marketing as a fundamental part of the agricultural production, agroecology and fair trade process and, on the other hand, Lactjubones, with its social model of production, which consists in promoting the productive chain of the dairy chain, eliminating intermediaries to generate a shared value between the small producer, the consumer and the participants of the social program EQUIDAR. These two companies aim to encourage and boost local economies and contribute to the social program by generating healthy and nutritious food that contribute to the daily diet of low-income families, under the principle that this process raises self-esteem, as a child well nourished, do better in school, their parents are calm and emotionally more predisposed to work and progress more. The starting point of the EQUIDAR program was in 2012, it was then called CRECER (Growth in English), and with which 7,600 families were assisted in conditions of poverty. Since 2014, however, coverage has increased to 9,600 families, since among the priorities of the 2014-2019 Pluriannual Plan of the Provincial Government of Azuay is the extension of the territorial coverage and care to 21,000 families until the year 2,019, based on this, families are being selected in different sectors of the Province, taking into account the criteria of families belonging to the poorest quintiles (a determined indicator for the Azuay).

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Model of Social Innovation for Food Sovereignty and Local Economic Development in the Province of Azuay proposes to name the Food and Nutrition Sovereignty Program according to its new philosophy and components, which establish attention not only from food supplementation but also from values such as organization, social participation and education. In addition, a clear focus is an essential element in implementing government’s social programs; it is associated with the adequate allocation of resources destined to the target population. Our project includes the following criteria: overcoming poverty; reduction of vulnerability; and the reduction of inequalities in opportunities.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The model of social innovation for food sovereignty and local economic development in the province of Azuay through the articulation of the various sectors, in order to make common objectives and goals around social programs, has made viable processes of vision and management around public policies. For this reason, we consider it important to have comprehensive programs with a common targeting process so that all services can reach the most needy families in an efficient way. The principles governing the project are: - CO-RESPONSIBILITY: Generating solidarity in the communities and the participants carrying out the program, as well as collaboration and empowerment of the program. - PARTICIPATION: Generating sustainability processes in the territories by strengthening the social fabric. - INTEGRALITY: Articulating programs and projects in order to generate the highest welfare of the community. In terms of approaches, these are: - TERRITORY: A priority for the participants of the program, when there is a sense of belonging to the program, adverse conditions can be overcome, so it is necessary to define different interventions when the territory is Urban or Rural. - FAMILY: Family as the central axis, since it is conceived as a fundamental element in social cohesion, in the generation of development and well – being. It is also conceived not only as a unit of intervention in programs but also as a generator of economic and social development. - GENDER: We contribute to equality between women and men, reducing the risks of social exclusion, favoring the economic autonomy of women, promoting education and the generation of incomes. - ORGANIZATION AND SOCIAL PARTICIPATION: These approaches are a mechanism to generate autonomous sustainable, co-responsible communities, of their territory. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen them so that people can exercise their social, economic, cultural and political rights. In addition, as they grow stronger, they foster community participation in the area of food and nutrition security, with the firm belief that healthy living and sustainable social development are possible through inclusive and community actions. This strengthens the following aspects: • The formation of facilitators in community participation supported by theoretical and practical processes. • Strategies and methodological orientations for facilitators of participation processes, providing different tools and techniques for working with communities around Food and Nutrition Security. • The experience of participation from a democratic and decentralized perspective aiming to guarantee autonomous communities that are at the same time managers of their own development. Likewise, the model of social innovation links productive projects with the purpose of contributing to greater access and availability of food in the daily family diet, through the generation of productive systems of self-consumption articulated to the region's own productive chains. Thus, we say that AGROZUAY, LACTJUBONES, EQUIDAR and the FOOD BANK potentiate a large network of food producers for self-consumption, generating availability of these in families that are food insecure. This ensures the sustainability of the processes by generating autonomy in them through the generation of economic resources. Finally, Family Dynamics and Healthy Living have also been key components that are part of the Model of Social Innovation by promoting social inclusion through the provision of services in healthy living habits and well-being to families of the program. This component seeks to bring social offer and especially health services through a network of volunteers, academic work generated by the universities to families that, because of their vulnerability to risk, are affected. We serve the families of the model through the provision of free services in dentistry, medicine, nutrition, bio-pharmacy and psychology.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
A clear focus is a strong point of the Model of Social Innovation, the same one that is carried out with the greatest rigor given that the participants must comply with income criteria. Having a good targeting system has allowed us to design innovative strategies that are cost effective, to the benefit of the most vulnerable population, not to duplicate the objectives and goals, and thus contribute to saving public investment and so, as Provincial Government we can allocate resources efficiently towards the poorest. The articulation of the various sectors has also been an arduous task but it has been rewarding to make common the objectives and goals around social programs. In this way we make viable the processes of vision and management around public policies. Finally, we have innovated the productive axe with techniques of agroecological production, through theoretical-practical workshops and support manuals, which in turn have generated scientific researches and, thus, we promote proven agroecological practices for a sustainable management of agricultural production, both, of plants and animals.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Provincial Government of the Azuay as autonomous and decentralized government; in compliance with the National Constitution, the norms guaranteeing rights of all, and with a clear focus of prioritizing attention to the most vulnerable sectors of the Azuay population; has incorporated in its strategic planning different plans, programs and projects that aim to overcome inequities, strengthen social organizations and ensure the full validity of rights, with gender and generational equity. Thus, from the Management Model called Radical Democracy that is reflected in the MULTI-ANNUAL PLAN 2014 - 2019 under the strategic component of “Soberanía Alimentaria”, we seek to guarantee the food sovereignty and develop agroproductive capacities in articulation with multilateral organizations. • 17.800 families of the Province of Azuay, distributed as following: 11.600 families attended at lower levels of stratification and in food insecurity in rural and / or marginal urban areas receive food supplementation. 5.100 families of small agro-producers, dairy producers and consumers 1.100 families own their points of distribution and marketing of the product.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
- INTEGRALITY: From the small producer, to the care and family support. -CO RESPONSIBILITY: Participating families, not recipients. Producers who boost their family economy. - CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Participation of the private sector not with charity, but with participation to the sustainability of the project Therefore, a PROGRAM that is the best expression of a "Model of Social Innovation for Food Security and Local Economic Development", which has generated PUBLIC ADDED VALUE. In addition, a clear focus was an essential element in order to implement this program. It has been associated with the adequate allocation of resources for the target population aiming at overcoming poverty, reducing vulnerability and inequalities in opportunities. Likewise, as has already been said, it has been necessary to articulate the various sectors, in order to make common the objectives and goals related to social programs. Hence, we consider it important to have comprehensive programs with common targeting processes so that all services can reach the neediest families efficiently. In the case of articulation with AgroAzuay and Lactjubones, some subprojects have been born: - Orchard Project for self consumption: To promote -into families- orchards of self-consumption according to their eating habits, promoting the availability of food in the home. - Productive projects of food diversity: Agricultural, Fisheries, animal husbandry. This project seeks the community organization between 3 and 6 families that are articulated and can have an economically viable project for the self-consumption and the commercialization of food, guaranteeing the food security of the participating families. In both cases, women play a key role in the development of these productive systems, given their responsibility for household food, family farming, domestic work, childcare, family health, among many other essential tasks for the promotion of food and nutritional security. In another instance and as part of the articulation, the Food Bank has been a community space based on the public-private alliance, where food, goods and services are collected and that later can be subsequently delivered to properly targeted families. It establishes a bridge between food producing companies, trading companies and the community. The Food Bank promotes resource efficiency, turning non-commercial food into food if consumable for solidarity purposes. In addition, it has sought to have the network of volunteers cataloged by talents and that these can be put at the service of the community in general at no cost, such as: specialized services in psychological care, shelters, dental care, among others. In terms of resources invested and efforts made: - 1 It of daily dairy drink has been delivered to 9,600 families - There are 40 thousand beneficiaries and 20 thousand children participating. - There are 175 distribution points: in the cantons of Cuenca, Gualaceo, Paute and Girón. - The investment since 2012 has been of $ 8,605,678.58 only in EQUIDAR, with the budgets of AgroAzuay, Lactjubones and Banco de Alimentos it easily exceeds 10 million dollars. - 285 workshops of nutrition and social organization have been executed to more than 4,000 participants among participants of the project Equidar, distributors, leaders, promoters and community. - We have made 25 deliveries of donated food reaching 500 families of scarce resources. - Two "NAVIDAR" food collections were carried out in schools, universities, companies and the Provincial Government itself (Christmas season). - In the earthquake emergency, more than 200 tons of food, water, food and supplies were sent to the affected areas. - 61% of the beneficiaries qualify the project as excellent and 38% as good, only 1% as regular. - Medical records of 7,000 families. - Medical examinations for 10,000 children and 5,000 mothers. - 2000 blood counts were performed. - It has been detected that in 40% of households there is intra-family violence. - Integral dental treatments have been carried out with more than 6,500 consultations. We intervene in 9 rural parishes of Cuenca (Baños, San Joaquin, Sayausi, Sinincay, Chiquintad, Sidcay, Ricaurte, Paccha and El Valle) plus El Vecino neighborhood.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
EQUIDAR - Provincial Government of Azuay: Proposal that aims to contribute to the improvement of the nutritional and growth conditions of children and the integral development of vulnerable families. It is articulated with complementary projects such as the Food Bank, and is complemented with medical, psychological and dental care as well as the accomplishment of blood counts as part of the accompaniment and monitoring of family health conditions, with prevention and training campaigns. AgroAzuay: Promoting short channels of solidary marketing as a fundamental part of the agricultural, agroecological and fair trade production processes. Lactjubones: Community company that seeks the active participation of its partners and suppliers. It carries out the collection, production and commercialization of dairy products. Mikhuna – Food Bank: Based on volunteering and the contribution of people committed to fight against hunger and malnutrition. They have more than 300 volunteers. Conagopare Azuay: Involved in the construction of the Public Policy and the Food Safety Ordinance under construction. Universidad Católica de Cuenca: 7,000 medical records have been lifted, medical check-ups have been carried out for 10,000 children and 5,000 mothers, 3,000 children suffering from malnutrition have been treated, 2,000 blood counts have been executed, and work on rights issues to prevent intrafamily violence has been carried out as well. It has the support of the students of the Catholic University of Cuenca, where more than 500 young people (students), are involved in each one of the activities. Pastoral Social de Turi: Social care; Human promotion and socio-political impact. Cámara de Industrias: Strategic partner of the Mikhuna Food Bank Telerama: Communication diffusion of the Project Associations of small producers through Agroazuay and Lactjubones Commercial Bureau of Taiwan: It has provided professional experts for training in food processing and agricultural practices.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
In terms of nutrition, more than 8 million liters of dairy drinks have been delivered since 2012 to families in the vulnerable sectors and also more than 11,600 families have been benefited with food and preventive health programs that include medical records of 7,000 families, medical examinations to 10,000 children and 5,000 mothers, 2000 blood counts and more than 6,500 free dental consultations. In terms of agroproductivity, there are 109 associations of agricultural producers benefiting from training, participation in fairs, direct sale of products, animal genetic improvement and fruit orchards recovery. All of them have also been oriented to increase agricultural productivity, through technical assistance, supply of subsidized inputs, technology transfer and assistance in the achievement of marketing channels within a fair trade framework, aimed mainly at small and medium agricultural producers of the Azuay province, thus improving their quality of life, promoting the development of the agricultural sector and the conservation of the environment. In addition, more than 4500 families have become consumers of fresh, clean and healthy agricultural products, also trained in agricultural production and livestock. In this context, some 2,800 temporary jobs have also been generated due to the increase in agricultural production in the province. In terms of dairy production, there are 700 small producers incorporated into the dairy chain, selling its products without intermediaries and 1.100 integrated shopkeepers to the marketing chain of quality dairy products made with raw material purchased from small producers. This community company that seeks the active participation of its partners and suppliers carries out the collection, production and commercialization of dairy products. It promotes small and medium-sized dairy producers and industrializes the raw material, allowing microproducers to reach local and national markets.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
A limited budget but that has been solved through external financing, public, private and self-management. Availability of human resources that we have also been able to cope with through cooperation agreements and public-private partnerships. Political conjuncture faced through political will and putting the needs and interests of the population violated above these obstacles. Existing intermediation with the agricultural producers, the same that we have also known to face through linkage and direct relation with agroproductores, work in situ. Finally, the commercialization of products has also suffered difficulties that through the implementation of agroproductive fairs, product positioning, collection centers, direct and indirect distribution channels has been known to be endured.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
In terms of basic services, the project has generated great changes and through a comparison we will explain this: BEFORE THE MODEL OF SOCIAL INNOVATION: 0 families attended with food vulnerability. In the year 2012, 2000 liters per day were delivered. 0 trained families. 30 volunteer distribution points. 0 children evaluated (weight, height). 0 children tested with biochemical tests. 0 channels of direct marketing of agro-producers 0 people trained in agricultural and livestock production 140 temporary jobs in the countryside. 10% of mechanized production 3% of production is given added value (industrialization). 5% of producers trained and with technical assistance. 50 small producers incorporated into the dairy production chain. 2000 liters raised to small producers per day 200 shopkeepers integrated into the marketing chain of dairy products. NOW: 3500 trained families 175 voluntary distribution points. 10000 boys and girls evaluated (weight, height). 2000 children evaluated with biochemical tests. In 2016 we had 175 voluntary distribution points. In 2016 we had 109 associations benefited with training and technical assistance. 1 fair with 220 agro-producers selling their products directly to the consumer on a weekly basis. 4500 trained people in agricultural and livestock production 2800 temporary jobs due to the increase in agricultural production in the province 60% of mechanized production 20% of production is given added value (industrialization). 70% of producers are trained and have technical assistance. 700 small producers are incorporated into the dairy production chain. 12,000 liters come from small producers per day. 1100 shopkeepers integrated into the marketing chain of dairy products.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
One of the objectives of the program is to maintain a permanent monitoring and evaluation system, that allows continuous improvement and socialization of results between different strategic allies and the community, through workshops and meetings, complemented by an institutional communication department which informs the population permanently. Likewise, the Prefect, as the main provincial authority performs annually and in a public event, the accountability of all the institutional year management, within which presents the achievements and advances of this model of social innovation, as well as the budget invested in it.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
95% of beneficiaries are women. The program contributes to equality between women and men, reducing the risks of social exclusion, promoting women's economic autonomy, promoting education and generating incomes. In addition, a psychological diagnosis is made through a family file, allowing to identify where there are problems of intrafamily violence that are affecting the proper development of the families themselves, particularly women. In this context, it was detected that in 40% of households there is intra-family violence, which is why training and workshops on these issues are essential. In this aspect we have reached an advisory and prevention level, together with the universities, to whom we work with regarding these issues of rights and self-esteem of women who participate in EQUIDAR.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gobierno Provincial del Azuay
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Paul Carrasco
Title:   Engineer  
Telephone/ Fax:   +59372842588
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   vpulgarin@azuay.gob.ec  
Address:   Tomas Ordoñez 8-69
Postal Code:   010110
City:   Cuenca
State/Province:   Azuay
Country:  

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