“Compromiso Joven” is a project led and created by students from the University of San Andrés located in the district of San Fernando, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The project was born as a result of the negative social impact that led to the economic and political crisis of 2001. In that year a million Argentines were restricted of the extraction of cash from deposits, accounts and savings triggering a situation of lack of a permanent president and a social upheaval. Every since that time, the main objective of the organization has been to contribute to the development of a responsible and committed to their reality society, creating spaces for reflection and interaction that involved actors of the university and the community in which it is inserted.
For more than a decade “Compromiso Joven” has been promoting a social responsibility commitment in UdeSA and in its area of influence, as well as a mutual learning between the parties involved. “Compromiso Joven” seeks to connect diverse realities that would otherwise remain isolated from each other, and seems to be succeeding in its work.
Which are the singularities that had helped this organization of students to achieve and maintain operational efficiency for over 10 years?
Throughout this period of work the project has faced barriers typical of moments of growth and continuity. Its main challenges were the constant turnover of volunteers, limited time availability, inadequate resources and, of course, uncertainty about the optimization of their activities. However, “Compromiso Joven” formalized through the establishment of procedures and channels of communication that led to a strengthening of its institutional structure.Balancing the institutionalization with the flexibility to adapt to the constant fluctuation of its members, the actors with which it operates and the different social realities has been another key factor for survival.
The organization has human resources with knowledge of management, willingness to help and a strong commitment to their tasks. Also, a system of coordinator´s succession existed in which the current coordinator and his/her successor for next year would work together for a semester. Thus each annual term lasts, in practical terms, two years (counting the two additional semesters of skill transfer). This is how training is internal and is dictated by who has the most significant experience in the positions to take. Today, “Compromiso Joven” is one of the few present social projects in the private universities in Argentina that has managed to remain in force without interruption for so such a long period.
So, which is the future of an organization that has reached maturity and stability in their field of direct action? While it is necessary to continue the process of formalization in certain areas, extending the networking of the organization and attract more and more volunteers, the next big thing “Compromiso Joven” wishes to achieve is to replicate the model of their operations in other similar projects in other Universities. Its work will help them to achieve their establishment, institutionalization and formalization. Once that a process is up and running with significant continuity, they can conduct joint activities, increasing its impact and sharing the organizational mission.
… But above all, the organization has to make sure that the connections come with the factor that solidifies success: continuity. Thus, identifying opportunities for improvement, achieving success and continuity of work in the multiplication of the working model are the great achievements through continuity. Even though there are issues to be improved, the identification of them is a great first step, so the future of “Compromiso Joven” is more than optimistic. It is expected to achieve a link with other organizations and NGOs, to extend their networks, solidify their impact in other communities and contribute to building links between communities that share the same area, but still remain unrelated.
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