Member Blog: Our road-map with SROI in Colombia

Posted 10th September 2013

Our road-map with SROI in Colombia

Guillermo Pérez Flórez – Civis Group Director 10th September 2013

‘When you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there’. This well-known saying is old, but none the less valid.
The situation is as follows. At this time, in Colombia, there are a large number of social projects being carried out by governments, businesses and NGOs. These projects are responding to the needs of the most unprotected and vulnerable in the population. This is very positive, as it is important to alleviate the effects of poverty and environmental degradation. I think we should all be very happy that there are so many initiatives and social projects.

However, it is striking that hardly any measurement is being made of the actual social return of these projects. One might say it is like trying to navigate with no compass. Without a proper yardstick, it is difficult to know whether things are going well or badly. While it is true that the communities themselves have requested many of these projects, what the communities ask for is not always they most need. Hence, the importance of introducing measurement tools, such as the Social Return On Investment, SROI.

In Grupo Civis we have concentrated, in this initial phase, on translating to Spanish the guide and the supplements of SROI. We feel this is a necessary step, because it increases the availability of this information to a wider number of people and organizations.

Soon, we will take two further important steps. The first is to convene an introductory seminar on the scope of the SROI methodology, allowing local governments, businesses and NGOs to become familiar with and to gain more knowledge of this measurement tool. This should occur in the first quarter of 2014. For this, we are looking for partnerships with universities and for support from government and corporate organizations. We hope to have members of the SROI network from the UK attending this seminar.

The second step, which we aim to deliver in 2014, will be to establish the SROI Colombia network. This will permit the exchange of experiences and thus help promote the best possible practices in this field.As one can see, we are taking the first steps to deliver a systematic and professional process, in keeping with the standards we have set within Grupo Civis. We believe that to the extent to which SROI becomes popular and established in practice, the greater will be the benefit to communities, as they will then have an effective tool to measure whether they are right in the design, choice and execution of social projects. In other words, they will know where to go.

Grupo Civis believe that the SROI methodology is a very powerful and useful tool, which is why we are backing it. We welcome your interest and participation, and are happy to hear about your experiences.