AVSI began to work in Argentina in the late 1980’s implementing multiyear programs in Resistencia and Buenos Aires focused on youth development and support of the unemployed through vocational training and small business set up (house hold appliance repairs and shoe production). These years allowed AVSI to form a relationship with the local organization ACDI, Asociacion Cultural para el Desarollo Integral based largely in Santa Fe. Since the late 1990s a structured cooperation began between the two organizations particularly in the agribusiness sector, with an aim to foster the technical, managerial and association capacitiy of medium and small sized enterprises.
In addition to its partnership with ACDI, in 2002 AVSI started to collaborate with La Obra del Padre Mario (OPM), a renown and time honored organization active in the educational and social sectors in González Catán (Province of Buenos Aires). AVSI was spurred by its intention to come to the aid of the people living in these neighborhoods and experiencing an unprecedented level of poverty and vulnerability due to the financial turmoil and economic recession that began to shake Argentina in 2002.
Through joint activities with both ACDI and OPM, AVSI’s overall goal has been to foster and support each organization’s development and potential to expand their programs and outreach. Among notable AVSI-ACDI achievements is the creation of a distance learning master’s degree program in agro-processing (MaGEA) at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. Another notable achievement is the creation of Traz.ar, a traceability program that supports cattle raisers using sophisticated technology and information services. The overall objective of Traz.ar is to strengthen stockbreeder’s competitiveness in the international market and to comply with the laws of product traceability required buy those markets. The project has received funding from the Inter-American Development Bank through the Multilateral Investment Fund, within the framework of the ICT4B (Information and Communication Technology for business) program. ACDI’s success with TRAZ.AR has been so great that ACDI has been requested by governmental and non governmental institutions in other provinces of Argentina and in other countries such as Brazil, Uruguay and Nicaragua to offer training, technology transfer and application, and information and practices exchange.
AVSI and ACDI, are also engaged in the environmental sector, and in collaboration with the Catholic University of Santa Fe’ they created the Centro de Investigacion, Observacion y Monitoreo Territorial y Ambiental (CIOMTA). Begun in 2002, CIOMTA has the primary objective of strengthening the capacity of local entities to adopt policies adequate for emissions control and sustainable development, according to the Climate Change Framework and the Kyoto Protocol. With a target area of the North and North Eastern regions of Argentina, CIOMTA utilizes sophisticated towers to measure carbon flows in the atmosphere and to monitor and analyze carbon emissions or climate change. Given that there is no systematic monitoring of carbon emissions or climate change at the national level in Argentina, CIOMTA’s initiatives are establishing precedence for future development. CIOMTA hopes to become a reference point for consultations in the future.
In the education and child/youth development sectors, in collaboration with La Obra del Padre Mario (OPM) AVSI developed the Plaza de Artes y Oficios and Colegio Universitario Pantaleo. The Plaza de Artes y Oficios is a physical place where young people from the region can develop positive relationships while also gaining work skills necessary to be successful upon entering the job market. The Plaza functions as a network, relying on and working to strengthen the social fabric and productive entities of the region, and has created a strong link between education, training and work, thus offering a comprehensive response to the situation of the youth and local economic development. In 2009, 240 youth participated in the program. The second initiative, Colegio Universitario Pantaleo, is a program that builds on links with the private sector to improve the level of human resources in González Catán and improve the possibilities that qualified young college graduates return to their original communities, contributing to local development. Through this program, courses of studies in business administration and physical education are offered in collaboration with the Universidad Catolica de la Plata. In 2009, 2,500 youth participated in organized sports and recreational activities organized through the physical education course of study. As of 2009 Colegio Universitario Pantaleon began a partnership with Universidad ISALUD promoting exchange of information, graduate and postgraduate studies, technical assistance, research and promotion of social and community activities.
The AVSI Distance Support Program in Argentina supports over 870 children in the provinces of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe.
Today AVSI Network Partners ACDI and Obra de Padre Mario execute the majority of their projects independently from AVSI and AVSI funding. The following projects are funded by AVSI or other international donors and implemented through ACDI or OPM.
Distance Support Project
Location: Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe
Description: Long-term support to over 870 vulnerable children, improving the conditions for psychosocial and academic progress, while strengthening the capacity of the children’s families, caretakers and local organizations to respond to their needs. Fulfillment of school requirements (uniforms, books, fees etc), organization of after school recreation and educational activities, and creating of programs designed to improve the economic status of the child’s family through training and support to parents.
Donor Partners: Private donors
Sustainable Rural Development in el Gran Chaco
Location: Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Chaco
Description: An agricular and environmental approach to sustainable rural development in el Gran Chaco, the semi arid lowlands of northern Argentina.
Donor Partners: MAE, Local governments
Implementing Partners: ACDI
ACDI Website: www.acdi.org.ar
Watch Movies of ACDI's Work: http://vimeo.com/acdi
La Obra de Padre Mario Website: www.padremario.org
June 7, 2006 Presentation at Inter-American Development Bank