Tuesday, March 24, 2009

de Institute for Liberty and Democracy

In Peru, my group also met with several representatives from the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. This NGO was quite good at PD. The ILD was founded by the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. His book, the Other Path, outlined the value of tapping into the informal economy as an alternative to “The Shining Path,” or Sendero Luminoso.

At ILD, I was impressed by a series of concrete grassroots PD efforts used in a campaign to formalize assets in the early 90's in Peru. To encourage individuals to get titles to their homes and property, de Soto’s team appointed regional leaders, placed ads in local papers, gathered stakeholders, and collected information on the success of its efforts. They were very successful.

Unlike many institutions engaging in PD, ILD had a clear message: tap into the wealth of the poor. ILD also had a clear spokesperson (de Soto) and significant support from the Fujimori government. Even the name "Institute for Liberty and Democracy" set the NGO up for success in seeking the funding and approval of the U.S. and European governments. ILD used similar tactics to reach populations in many countries, especially in Africa.

Now, de Soto says he’s found the key to solving the economic crisis. According to Neasa MacErlean's article in the Guardian,
The work [de Soto] plans to do in Africa will be similar to the work he thinks the US and UK must do now - pulling trade and assets out of the shadow economy, setting up registers and focusing on transparency. But de Soto never expected that he would be giving the same advice to London and Washington as he would be giving to Africa.
Any thoughts on his view? Which NGOs do you think are especially successful in their PD efforts?

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