In the Third Sector world, when we talk about critical factors for the success of a development project, the first things that come to our mind are traditional axes of a project management, such as schedule, budget, if the scope is clear, who will be the team executing the project, how will monitoring and evaluation take place – the list is long and can be complemented by methodologies such as the PMI. To Aventura de Construir those questions have always been taken very seriously, just remind yourself about the dozens of quarterly reports developed deep diving into those themes and many others.
What lacks information regarding the success factors of a project is related to the beneficiaries’ participation in the execution further than its scope creation. It was in the light of this finding that we started to have a closer look at the experiences we have partnership with, and it was through the Associação dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra de São Paulo (ATST-SP – São Paulo’s Landless Workers Association) that we found the most recently trodden path to strengthen our project’s effectiveness: we started to accept the microentrepreneurs’ inclusion request as Aventura de Construir’s Collaborating Associates.
The ATST-SP is an association that unites people interested in collectively buying big portions of land in the São Paulo city’s suburbs, subdivides the land and helps each person to build their own house with a small civil project. The entire process can take years and during this time the people interested in acquiring the land attend meetings about the progress of the purchase process, what also brings a judgement about that personal fight that each one is individually and collectively developing. It is being all the time together with the beneficiaries in almost-daily meetings that the ATST-SP can not only understand better its target public, but also make them own the ATST-SP. Those actions are a two-way path, in which the beneficiaries participate in the project execution and in which the organization can have a better and better consciousness about the project’s true challenges.
Aventura de Construir understood that it was necessary to deep dive, as besides formally bringing the Collaborating Associate to the Association it was needed to create new contact mechanisms, apart from the already existent ones. Thus, the Collaborating Associate has access to exclusive meetings with the Aventura de Construir’s leaders and with our active network of partners in which he will be able to deepen their knowledge about business topics, human development and exchange real experiences. Due to the recognized value in our job, he also becomes a project promoter for his neighborhood and network. It is all part of an educational process whose objective is to develop the entrepreneur, being him the protagonist of his own future, including the social projects he benefits from.
Obviously, there are always basic requirements to an association creation, such as a serious and constant team working, a good team and leadership, as well as a financier that trusts the developed work because he sees the concrete results in its target public work-life improvement, as in the case of Aventura de Construir. Also, there are no lack of challenges, like the bureaucratic difficulties that emerge in the middle of the way and a maturation process necessary to everyone involved that takes time to be achieved.