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$3 million initiative launched to expand civic space in Latin America


This article was written and published by CANDID

Fundación Avina, Luminate, and the Open Society Foundations have announced the launch of a $3 million initiative to protect civic space and democratic governance in Latin America.

To be coordinated by Fundación Avina, the Pulsante initiative will fund rapid-response campaigns focused on achieving specific, time-sensitive victories that protect civic space and human rights; civic empowerment organizations supporting innovative democratic practices designed to increase citizen power, strengthen democracy, and guarantee greater social justice; and social movements that are driving reforms aimed at making democracies more transparent, participatory, and representative.

(Photo credit: Fundación Avina)

To that end, a Rapid Response Fund will award three- to six-month grants ranging between $10,000 and $15,000, as well as technical support, to help campaigns leverage their windows of opportunity, spark public conversations, and strengthen civic engagement. The initiative will also work at the ecosystem level to generate knowledge for the field, foster peer learning, and host events aimed at sparking collective thinking on the future of Latin American democracy.

“One of the main reasons for the instability in Latin American democracies continues to be the weakness of democratic institutions and the crisis of representation that they are facing,” said Fundación Avina program manager Lucía Abelenda. “The instability is mixed with the shocks caused by explosions of outrage in the form of protests, the eruption of populism, authoritarianism, and general unrest. Satisfaction with democracy fell from 61 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2018, according to Latinobarómetro data. In this context, Pulsante is an alternative to support new democratic innovations that helps us to rethink social participation.”

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