October News 2017

Currently @ LATINNO

As the fall season arrives in Berlin, we continue to update and add new cases to our ever-growing dataset of democratic innovations, and share this information around the globe! 

Some of the initial results of our project have been presented this month at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University by LATINNO's founder and coordinator, Thamy Pogrebinschi. Thamy is currently a Democracy Visiting Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Another output from our project this month was the publication of an article by two of LATINNO's research assistants on truth, memory, and democracy in Latin America at OpenDemocracy/Democracia Abierta.

This month's newsletter will be dedicated to the right to water, and the democratic innovations across Latin America that are working towards having sufficient, safe, physically accessible and affordable water.

LATINNO at the DRCLAS at Harvard University

New Publication

LATINNO Project's research assistants, Melisa Ross and Azucena Morán, have been featured in open Democracy/Democracia Abierta.

In this article, published in Spanish and English, they weigh upon how new collaborative spaces have assumed the role of dwelling upon not only the unresolved ghosts of the region’s past but also today's staggering numbers of deaths, disappearances, and State violence; reclaiming memory, truth, and justice through political experimentation.

Featured Cases

In 2004, Uruguay became the first country in the world to enshrine the Right to Water in its Constitution through a plebiscite. The Popular Initiative for a Constitutional Standard on the Law and Use of Water Resources was held to consecrate water as a human right in the Constitution and make its management exclusively public, participatory and sustainable. This is one of the most successful popular initiative cases since the rule was supported by 64.7% of citizens eligible to vote.

The Community-Driven Projects in Nicaragua are initiatives and programs for infrastructure, water, and sanitation that are carried out in the rural areas of the country.

In these projects, the communities, in coordination with the local municipal authorities, are in charge of the ideation, the contracting and the administration of the funds for the purchase of materials, besides the supervision of the project. This participatory methodology began to be used in 2000 and with the aim of empowering communities it was institutionalized in 2007 by the leading national entity in the rural water and sanitation sector.


The Strengthening Capacities with the Mam People for Economic Governance in Water and Sanitation program was a joint effort of international organizations, Guatemala's local and national governments, and the civil society.

The objective of the Joint Program was to include the indigenous Mam population in the dialogue between the Government and Civil Society in order to guarantee basic water and sanitation services in the region. The program defined and implemented these public water policies created a sustainable model for the management of water services and drafted a report that presents the analysis of the project, which could be useful for replicating this participatory and decentralized water policy initiative.

Newest Innovations

The Latin American Alliance for Civic Technology (ALTEC) has selected eleven projects of e-participation that will create collaborative spaces between citizens and governments across Latin America. 

The projects will provide accountability mechanisms for citizens, increase governmental transparency at the local level, monitor urbanization processes, involve the youth in Colombia's peace agreements, strengthen the educational sector, use technology to monitor the access to water of communities, among other actions aimed at strengthening the different qualities of democracy through citizen participation and digital tools.