Mensaje del Presidente

What unites us in AVINA is a motivation to contribute to concrete change that is relevant to the challenges facing Latin America. For this reason, in 2009 we redesigned our operating model in order to incorporate the lessons learned from previous years and to optimize our work. In 2010, we tested our new way of operating throughout the organization and throughout Latin America. Although there is always room for improvement, the news is good: We are pleased with the flight plan we have chosen and our aircraft is approaching its cruising altitude.


Our performance in 2010 indicates that we are on the right track. First, we have been able to participate with our allies in the generation of more results than in the previous year in the countries where we operate. (See the institutional performance section). When AVINA contributes with its allies to a concrete change in Latin America, we record the achievement in our results management system. This simple tool allows us to see if we are being effective in fulfilling our mission. In 2010, we saw an increase of 63% in the number of results registered, as compared to 2009. What is even more interesting is that we greatly exceeded our targets for process milestones that tend to generate change within two or three years. This means that while we already see an increase in the number of results, there is also significant investment in processes that should bear fruit in the medium term.


We also noted an increase in the amount of financial resources that AVINA has helped to mobilize on behalf of its allies and the causes we share. Despite the financial turmoil the world has experienced in recent years, AVINA has not only sought to maintain its level of social investment in Latin America, but it has also worked actively with other organizations to channel more resources to the region. Thus, in 2010 we were able to participate actively in the mobilization of USD 24 million in funds for our allies. These resources are critical to the causes we support because they strengthen the commitment among various organizations, the coordination of actions, and the global visibility of our allies. Add to this amount what AVINA has invested directly, and it totals USD 37 million made available to our Latin American allies in 2010.


At the same time, AVINA has shown that its operation model allows for more efficiency, that is, it can do more with less. We managed to reduce our administrative and program management costs by over USD 2 million in absolute terms between 2009 and 2010, without reducing our geographic coverage in Latin America, or our high standards for quality and accountability. We have reduced our administration proportionally, as well. As a result, AVINA was able to devote more resources to areas of innovation and to unforeseen opportunities that arose during the year. This constant search for greater efficiency, led by our competent administrative team, will allow AVINA to deliver more social impact over the long term.


Despite important advances in the development of new structures and policies to accompany the changes made in recent years, we have yet to redesign many of the internal management systems on which our work depends. We also have had to review and adjust some of the concepts and structures that were introduced initially as part of the redesign.


Moreover, we need to prioritize training for our excellent team, which has been impeccable in its flexibility and commitment during the transition. In many cases their new roles and tasks require updated skills and knowledge, which in turn require an investment by the institutional and by team members in the acquisition of new skills. In addition, we have had to start thinking as an institution about opportunity costs: deciding to do one thing means not doing another. There are indeed limits, so we must choose our priorities according to a careful and increasingly refined analysis. The question of carrying capacity is now a constant factor in our strategic discussions.


Of course it is a luxury to have these types of problems because they are indicative of the progress we have made. Most important, perhaps, is what we have NOT changed. In the midst of many adjustments, we have sought to reinforce certain defining principles that continue to guide us. The commitment we have to our allies, with whom we work closer than ever, remains unchanged. The brokering of alliances and the involvement of diverse participants in the change processes that we support is still critical to success. We remain convinced that large scale impact is impossible without a shared effort in which everyone contributes with his or her strengths. Within networks and alliances that promote change, we recognize the importance of leadership, especially leadership that is focused on change rather than ego, that knows how to cultivate other leaders and how to follow when appropriate. We remain committed to building social capital and trust as vital ingredients for the creation of common agendas that have high potential for impact.


In AVINA we share the sense that it is a privilege and a responsibility of our generation to meet today’s challenges, and together we seek to forge, through dialogue and creativity, new and more sustainable models. The real progress we have seen in 2010, examples of which are described in this Annual Report, encourage us to be optimistic, with a healthy dose of realism and modesty regarding our role. To AVINA’s team, to our allies and to the stakeholders who support us, I wish to express my gratitude for making possible the successes and lessons of 2010, all of which leave us better prepared for the challenges ahead in 2011 and beyond.


Sean McKaughan