Leaders who create and believe in Cali


Friday, 4 February 2022


Alvaralice Foundation

Alejandro Tobón B.

Principal – Freinet School

This is the right time to ask ourselves the fundamental questions of social development, those that seem to have obvious answers but Which upon deep reflection fall into the most common of discourses. We need change, but why? Or better yet, what is the change we need?

Democracy allows us to reformulate this compendium of questions every four years and generates a public debate on social needs and actions to be taken. But beyond these principles and ideals, timeless reflections are required, beyond trends and with the capacity to endure over time. This is the question about the past and the future of our city, the question about the leadership that transforms it.

Participating in the implementation of the Civic Award for a Better City has allowed us to understand the efforts of many citizens to help achieve those community transformations that go beyond any need for recognition. It has been possible to identify true leadership and make visible those who work with passion to improve people’s lives. These are people that do so out of the conviction that every act of solidarity, every action created to improve the living conditions of a community, is a true and profound transformation.

Hundreds of initiatives have been identified since the award’s inception that demonstrate the real work towards change, guiding community actions and transformations in the day to day and generating abilities in each beneficiary. All this leadership demonstrates that civic transformations are the sum of knowledge that is configured in a whole, a living and constant dynamic, a movement with a vision of the future, which has not required great speeches or platforms that support the momentum and desire to work for the benefit of others.

The processes of transformation and social impact are characterized by leadership skills not only in the orientation or mobilization of communities, but also by the clarity and knowledge that allow the transparent and precise projection of the processes to be intervened. These transformations are achieved based on the understanding and precise definition of the problems to be solved. This in order not to fall into discourse oversimplifications that are limited to the redundancy of replicated discourses.

Once the problems are known and have been clearly and concisely defined, it is necessary to understand the scope and limits of the initiative’s capacity for action, so as to define the type of transformation. In other words, it is necessary to understand how and to what extent a process is carried out. Understanding the type of interventions is key to achieving coherent, sustainable and replicable solutions. These last two aspects are a requirement for a lasting intervention, in which methods are defined so that the initiative can go beyond the base implementation and have an impact on other scenarios in the city.

Finally, there is a fundamental aspect in the success of initiatives that manage to generate city transformations, such as the ethics of social impact. The fundamental question in these situations has been precisely the one related to the need for change. Having the capacity to generate transformations requires a high level of responsibility from the leaders to understand the real needs of their environments, and being aware that any transformation impacts different people with different thoughts and diverse value codes. In this sense, the capacity for citizen transformation requires a deep and inclusive reflection oriented towards the equity and realities of populations, so that a transformation is designed to create a community based on the possibility of open participation and free speech.

Any reflection about change requires visions of leadership, and this is a transformational leadership, acting by example, sustainable and replicable, and with the full conviction of being based on ethics. These are the realities that are evident in the participants of the Civic Award, a group of people familiar with the needs of innovation, change and responsible transformation.

That is why from Colegio Freinet, as all the partners of the Civic Award, we are convinced of the benefits of this award. Because it recognizes the work of those who are creating the future and changing the world one smile at a time. Leadership is a quality that generates intentions and cultivates vision, and the set of these leadership qualities will harvest a Cali full of opportunities and generations of citizens with the desire to follow.

We wager on the Civic Award because we believe in leadership that transforms the city. And our city is transformed by the rhythm of a leadership that creates and believes in Cali.

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