Tomás Despouy: "Civil society is the counterweight between the country we want versus the country we are designing"

November 19, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

The co-founder of Panal, an organization that works to empower students around their own challenges, explains the emergence of this foundation from the classroom and the role of foundations like Colunga in its birth and strengthening.

What is Honeycomb about?

Diaper is a foundation that was born in 2014 from the experience of a group of professors from Show Chile who realize the need and importance of having different agents of change within the classroom. We want to influence students so that they can go further each day. We are currently in 40 schools in five cities: Puerto Montt, Talca, Concepción, Temuco and Santiago.

They are generating leadership within the classroom and that generates a climate of horizontality ...

Good point, because the projects they develop at school level have to talk to a management team. And everything is with permission. It is not to arrive and say "we are going to do a play in the middle of the recess, because we believe that it will generate an ecological environmental conscience" but they talk about what day they will do it, what are the resources, what rooms will participate ... then they are on par. And there the adults, the directors, have been surprised that in previous years the doors were touching for complaints and now they are knocking on the door to offer them projects and initiatives.

How has Panal linked with the Colunga Foundation?

Since 2016, when we awarded the Colunga Strengthening Fund, we seek to strengthen the organization and process evaluation in order to continue scaling as a project.

Workshops Honeycomb

What is the role of civil society in the problems we have today in education issues?

Civil society, since 2006, has been a protagonist in education issues. They are those who have been pushing the agenda to move much more agile and dynamic. The penguins of 2006, and the march of the university students has allowed no one to question that education is a social right, and for all. They are the ones who have helped put the issues on the table.

It has also been transformed. I think that at one time it was a lot of pushing, but it has also mutated to different organizations and initiatives and has allowed a different dialogue with the Ministry of Education and the Government. Civil society is the counterweight between the country we want versus the country we are designing.

Is there a civil society network around education?

There are networks. They are not as strong as we would like, but for example, we got together with the other Enseña Chile ventures. Here also in Colunga with those of education we have had interactions, and it agrees that those who work with Colunga also work with Mustakis, then there have also been mixed interactions.

It can be more, it can always be more. I believe that today is no longer a competitive advantage, it is not something very extraordinary to sit next to other organizations. It is the minimum. It is also a topic of how today we know that collaborating is the only way we can go far.

How do you see the role of Colunga in civil society and where should it go in the next five years?

I really like what Colunga does because they support projects that have certain types of results. I am very interested in Colunga making a commitment to innovations and being ahead of what is happening, or solving current problems that no one is doing.

The focus of what they are doing is very interesting. In 5 more years I see a very large portfolio of projects that have gone through Colunga. There the challenge that comes now and hopefully start as soon as possible, is to work on the connectivity of these organizations.

Workshops Honeycomb

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