The Chilean organisation Fundación Educarse has joined Instituto Ambientes em Rede from Brazil and ACODAL from Colombia as the third South American member of the FEE network. The FEE Board of Directors approved Fundación Educarse's application for associate membership at their June meeting in Slovenia.
FEE, which was an exclusively European organisation before going global with the admission of its South African member in 2001, has been endevouring to expand its international presence in underrepresented regions for some time. Some notable efforts towards this goal include initiating and participating in meeting and conferences in targeted regions, working with regional leaders to develop an African network of FEE members, and seeking out new sources of funding to support members from less affluent regions.
CEO Daniel Schaffer's visit to Chile and other Central and South American countries in January is one example of how these strategies are beginning to pay off. His meetings with Fundación Educarse and other prominent Chilean stakeholders laid the groundwork that ultimately resulted in Chile joining the FEE network. Diego M. Ramírez Cárcamo is one of the founding members and the current director of Fundación Educarse, and he has been one of the biggest advocates for bringing the FEE programmes to Chile.
"Fundación Educarse recognizes that today education is the most important strategic axis in social responsibility global model," says Mr. Cárcamo. "We believe that social transformation starts with the participation and active collaboration of all actors of the communities, forming and promoting its own models of sustainability for the integral development of the territory."
Fundación Educarse plans to operate the Blue Flag and Eco-Schools programmes in Chile. According to Mr. Cárcamo, the organisation was attracted to these programmes because "Fundación Educarse has professionals linked to the sea and the coastline, as well as prestigious and experienced teachers, who understood from the outset that the Blue Flag and Eco-Schools programmes are necessary to implement in Chile given their reputation and results obtained in other countries. In the case of Blue Flag, we hope to deepen the awareness regarding the care of the beaches and the coastal border of Chile, as well as enhance the destination image of the communes where the flags are set."
The successful establishment a new member in Chile reinforces the truly global nature of the FEE network. The FEE programmes can be applied in all countries and regions, and the network is strengthened by its geographic and cultural diversity. If more regional organisations are inspired to follow Fundación Educarse's example, then our network can look forward to welcoming more South American members in the future.
All photos courtesy of Fundación Educarse and Diego M. Ramírez Cárcamo