The Esquel Group (EG) is a private non-profit organization founded in 1984 and dedicated to stalwart citizenship as the common element in sustainable democracy and sustainable economic development. It is a member of the Grupo Esquel network with associate entities in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras and Uruguay. Its focus is strongly—though not exclusively—Latin American. It receives its support from contracted work and from donations from private, public and multilateral sources.
Through seminars, presentations and training programs EG promotes national policies as well as grassroots initiatives dedicated to social inclusion and sustainable development. It fosters inquiry and action towards self governance and greater citizen engagement in public life, particularly at the local level. EG organizes a periodic policy seminar in Washington DC and conducts training on social entrepreneurship for community development, with particular focus on practices for strengthening the structure and functions of civil society networks, deliberative democracy and conflict management skills.
A Network of Networks
EG is a virtual network of development professionals, united in a belief that sustainable economic and social progress emerges from citizens’ capacity to govern themselves effectively in partnership with government, the private sector and the organizations of civil society. EG can assemble its network in multiple specialized configurations in related areas of governance, economic policy and local development projects to suit the task at hand.
EG undertakes consultancies in both developed and developing countries, with a focus on local communities as the breeding grounds for democratic political and economic cultures — drawing upon the powerful connection between civic strength and economic and social fitness. We collaborate directly with grassroots groups and/or with their supporters. We help build more effective connections within and between communities, foster public-private-civic partnerships, and promote more effective links between communities and public institutions. EG complements the building of grassroots democratic citizenship by also promoting philanthropic, corporate and public investments in this civic capacity.
A community’s prosperity and stability depends upon the empowerment of its citizenry, on its openness to self-directed change, on the unique characteristics of its networks of relationships, and on the trustworthy economic and social institutions that these networks can create and sustain.
Development derives in communities from effective local partnerships between the public, private and civil society sectors, all nurtured by a committed citizenry, and scales outward and upward. It thus ultimately rests on firmly held values of democratic civic engagement to oversee, foster and demand accountable governance, effective economics and competitive and transparent politics.