We are scaling!
The IMAGO Insider, Vol 2 Issue 3

At IMAGO, we strive to contribute to changing thinking and practices in international development. This issue of the IMAGO Insider celebrates the launching of our first regional hub, the Southern Cone (SC) office located in Paraguay, and we explore what it means for us to scale up the way we work to reach more organizations. We start by welcoming Jimena Vallejos to the team as SC director. We then give voice to Luis Fernando Sanabria from Fundación Paraguaya and Carlos Chango from iChasky, IMAGO’s clients and friends who have been extensive work in the region transforming the lives of thousands of people. Finally, we share exciting happenings and upcoming plans for 2020 as we continue to grow our presence and establish new partnerships in the Southern Cone

For the past few years, we have worked with clients all around the world to help them scale their impact. In 2019, we worked with 8 organizations in 5 countries. We have also diversified our products and service offer to be able to work with more grassroots organizations through in-person courses, conference workshops, and online webinars. 

Lea el boletín en español

IMAGO's Southern Cone Office

Since IMAGO started, we have partnered and closely worked with many organizations from Latin America in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, and Venezuela, and we have collaborated at events in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. In the region, IMAGO has worked primarily with non-profit organizations and social enterprises that work with families in seeking to eliminate poverty through microfinance, early childhood education and development, and the arts. We have been inspired by our clients’ incredible drive to improve the lives of the people they work with and have seen the enormous potential of innovative solutions to scale both locally and internationally. 

This work has motivated us to amplify our reach and create capacity to partner with a larger number of organizations that are developing grassroots solutions to global problems. For this reason, this year we started our first regional office in Paraguay. IMAGO firmly believes that our partner organizations are keynodes for systems change and are leading the transformation of how we think about development. Having a presence in the region will allow us to better identify keynode clients and help them scale, to hire and develop local talent while tapping into IMAGO’s senior resources and fellows community, and to contribute to research and knowledge production to inform the needed shifts in development thinking.

Leading this effort is Jimena Vallejos from Paraguay, an IMAGO fellow who in 2018 spent time in India working with one of our clients, Transform Rural India (TRI) to help them evaluate their theory of change and strengthen their scaling up strategy. Jimena has recently completed a Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) at Columbia University. Prior to joining IMAGO, she worked as the manager of the Poverty Stoplight (PS) at Fundación Paraguaya (FP), a client of IMAGO since 2016.

Having led the development of the scaling up strategy within FP, Jimena brings the experience of collaborating with IMAGO as a client and facing the critical questions that organizations often go through in the process of scaling up: “What are the unmet needs that the organization is going to meet?” “Who are the clients/beneficiaries?” “What is the right business model?” “What are our strengths and witnesses?” “Is it the right time to scale?”

We have started the Southern Cone office to work alongside organizations to answer these and many more questions. This year, we already met 8 outstanding organizations from Paraguay through our Scaling Up for Social Impact course (see article below) and we held conference workshops in Colombia and Paraguay. Stay tuned for upcoming courses and opportunities to learn and collaborate with us and our regional office!

First Scaling Up for Social Impact course in Spanish 

At IMAGO, we work with organizations eliminating poverty to build capacity and scale impact in a way that respects their unique context and strengths. This year, we have continued to search for creative ways to share our experience and methodologies with organizations working on the ground to transform their communities. The course Scaling Up for Social Impact is our newest proposal for organizations that want to take the time to think about building and strengthening the foundations that organizations need to take their project, business or organization to reach more people, better. We held three of these gatherings this year. 

To launch the Southern Cone office in Paraguay, we held our first scaling up course in Spanish and on August 30, 2019 gathered 9 organizations from Paraguay, NGOs, social enterprises and the public sector. From social enterprises aiming to revolutionize access to prosthetics throughout the country to intrapraneurs seeking to transform a public agency to preserve Paraguayan handicrafts by promoting the creation and marketing of quality products to positively impact of life of artisans in Paraguay, this was a day full of learning and growth.

This course also showed us that there is immense potential in Paraguay to help organizations scale both nationally and internationally. We were astonished by the innovations that were shared with us during this day. The 9 organizations that participated are:

Insights and Stories from Our Clients

iChasky: Scaling up dreams
By Carlos Chango

The Latin American Inca Empire based all its communication on a network of long-distance runners known as “Chaskys”. A Chasky was the personal emissary of King Inka. Running through a relay modality with other Chaskys, it efficiently delivered information, messages or objects in all latitudes of Tawantinsuyu.

For IMAGO, a great Chasky is our friend, Carlos Chango, from Ecuador. Carlos co-founded iChasky, a social enterprise that bases its work on this communication experience. He shares his insights from working with indigenous communities and the desire to scale a dream based on his values and culture.

Read full article

From Paraguay to the world, flying IMAGO
By Luis Fernando Sanabria

The largest program of Fundación Paraguaya, based in Paraguay (Parawhere?), is a microfinance program. However, it is not microfinance to promote financial inclusion, but rather microfinance to overcome poverty. Our ultimate goal is that our clients overcome multidimensional poverty ... We are closing the year with more than 300 companies private and social organizations that use the Poverty Stoplight in 26 countries, with more than 120,000 participating families. Luis Fernando shares his experience working with IMAGO to create their scaling up plan and reflects on what this relationship has meant for Fundacion Paraguaya.

Read full article

PO is democratizing access to prosthetics significantly reducing costs by using 3D printing

Learn from PO Paraguay's experience at IMAGO's scaling up for social impact course from Mateo, its general manager.

The Paraguayan Institute of Crafts (IPA) is transforming the organization to improve the lives of local artisans

Soraya shares her experience and new opportunities that has come from the Scaling Up course. Listen to her inspiring testimony! 

From our whole team at IMAGO, we wish you a happy and fulfilling new year!