Project Background:

Latin American Leadership Academy (LALA) seeks to promote sustainable economic development and strengthen democratic governance in Latin America by developing a new generation of leaders. LALA creates international and socioeconomically diverse cohorts of the most promising graduating high school students who have demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to social change. LALA is launching leadership boot camps throughout Latin America to create local hubs of social impact and find values-aligned youth. In the near future, LALA hopes to open an eighteen-month program, which blends entrepreneurial leadership, a liberal arts education, and social and emotional learning. The program connects participants to mentors, resources, and opportunities, and LALA envisions a diverse continental ecosystem that collaborates across differences to bring shared prosperity to Latin America.

Definition of Opportunity:

Silos are the bane of systemic change. A shared fear among policymakers, community organizers, and entrepreneurs alike is that all their hard work adds up to nothing due to missed opportunities for networks and alliances. As LALA’s visibility grows in Latin America, so too does our responsibility to support, respond to, and collaborate with changemakers across the region who are addressing its most seemingly intractable issues -- “wicked problems.” After two successful years of boot camps and a gap year academy on the horizon, LALA receives proposals for partnerships with organizations across the continent every day. Our vision is to become the region’s flagship leadership organization by making strategic alliances with institutions that are doing similar work. However, we need a framework that would help us systematically find these organizations and negotiate partnerships that are both mutually beneficial and valuable to the region.

Initial Steps:

We need a systematic strategy to identify specific issues and to identify and classify programs and organizations in Latin America that intersect with our issue areas in the countries that we serve and identify the young people who care about them. For example, we have identified five priority areas, and a team might focus on one or multiple issues, depending on their backgrounds and interests:

Central American communities suffering drug trade violence. Eg. Tijuana, Acapulco, San Salvador, Guatemala City, Distrito Central.

Unprecedented Latin American migration crisis , including 3.4 million Venezuelans and . Mostly from Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and settling in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, and Peru.

25% of region's urban population live in slums. Eg. Alagados, Paraisópolis, Rocinha, Comuna 13, Moravia, Nezo-Chalco-Itza, Villa El Salvador, and others.

Although 40% Indigenous and Afro-descendants remain a disproportionate share of poorest . Eg. Quechua, Aztec, Aymara, Muisca, Tairona, Mayan, Shuar, Yanomami, Kogui, Guarani, Afro-Colombians, Afro-Brazilians.

Rural poverty in Latin America has increased for the first time in a decade.. Eg. Pará, Piauí, Ceará, Bahia, Chocó, Huancavelica, San Pedro, Chiapas.

What does success look like:

Latin American Leadership Academy wants to enhance its understanding of possibilities for strong networks to combat social inequality in the region. We want to develop a network of partnerships with people and institutions that have the strongest commitments to supporting education and social change. And we are committed to bringing young people (14-18 years old) who are connected to these issue areas into our existing LALA network of 450+ alumni. These issue areas are supported by many organizations from across the globe and we want to map the outreach and partnerships that will allow young people to access our leadership development opportunities more readily. From this exploration of best practices, we would like to launch strategies to nurture, thicken, and enhance the connections in our Latin American ecosystem. Broadly speaking, this team hopes to map successful examples of network building in support of social impact initiatives that might serve as models to help improve LALA’s decision-making and better inform our network building aspirations.