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Published by: Social Enterprise Knowledge Network
Originally published in: 2004
Version: 28 September 2005
Length: 22 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

In order to improve income in rural communities, towards the end of 2001, Proyecto Paria Foundation (FPP) completed a plan to reactivate the cocoa economy. At the center of the plan was CARIOCA, a civil association set up to process and market cocoa, whose partners were five grower associations (50%), FPP (30%), and EMER, a commercial firm (20%). The design was successful from the start: during its first year, CARIOCA exported 100 tons of cocoa. Yet towards the end of 2003 circumstances emerged that not only threatened the operation of CARIOCA, but the very existence of the foundation: leaders of the five grower associations, instigated by local politicians, sought to take over control of CARIOCA. Opens just after these leaders had asked the FPP to leave both the board of directors and the administration of the cocoa processing plant. At that moment, the two protagonists (both leaders of the FPP) faced a dilemma: decide whether to leave CARIOCA or try to recover control of the organization. Additionally, they had to develop a long-term strategy to assure the foundation''s operation in the Paria region. The teaching purpose is to: (1) identify the ethical dilemmas of social intervention aimed at change in traditional societies; (2) anticipate the possible reactions of local actors in situations where NGOs launch social interventions intended to modify the status quo; (3) understand political, cultural, and social processes that generate conflicting situations between an organization that promotes change and that environment''s local actors; and (4) design strategies to strengthen an organization''s position in an adverse local environment.

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Abstract

In order to improve income in rural communities, towards the end of 2001, Proyecto Paria Foundation (FPP) completed a plan to reactivate the cocoa economy. At the center of the plan was CARIOCA, a civil association set up to process and market cocoa, whose partners were five grower associations (50%), FPP (30%), and EMER, a commercial firm (20%). The design was successful from the start: during its first year, CARIOCA exported 100 tons of cocoa. Yet towards the end of 2003 circumstances emerged that not only threatened the operation of CARIOCA, but the very existence of the foundation: leaders of the five grower associations, instigated by local politicians, sought to take over control of CARIOCA. Opens just after these leaders had asked the FPP to leave both the board of directors and the administration of the cocoa processing plant. At that moment, the two protagonists (both leaders of the FPP) faced a dilemma: decide whether to leave CARIOCA or try to recover control of the organization. Additionally, they had to develop a long-term strategy to assure the foundation''s operation in the Paria region. The teaching purpose is to: (1) identify the ethical dilemmas of social intervention aimed at change in traditional societies; (2) anticipate the possible reactions of local actors in situations where NGOs launch social interventions intended to modify the status quo; (3) understand political, cultural, and social processes that generate conflicting situations between an organization that promotes change and that environment''s local actors; and (4) design strategies to strengthen an organization''s position in an adverse local environment.

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