“An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.”

― E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful.


IACD helps people working in community development to make connections with each other and learn from others’ experiences.

We do this by providing forums for focused learning and practice exchange, both on-line and face-to-face.

As part of our professional development programme offer for members, IACD organises study visits for members to interact with each other and learn from other communities’ experiences of organising, development and empowerment.

In 2017 we are running a Practice Exchange visit to the Andes in South America.


“Andean – Amazonian knowledge and ancestral practices in agricultural systems: potential and challenges”


                   San Pedro de Atacama, Chile 11-19 October, 2017




Following our highly successful 2016 Practice Exchange professional development programme to India and Nepal, IACD is delighted to be teaming up this year with REDAR Perú and CONDESAN and the Pueblo Likanantay de San Pedro de Atacama de Chile, to offer a Practice Exchange programme to South America in October, 2017.





Andean men and women possess an ancient wisdom based on the ancient knowledge for managing soils, water and productive systems, management of cultural diversity. However, adverse policies erode that knowledge, causing a misuse of the soil, concentration of land in a few hands, privatization and pollution of water and the change of the land use for indiscriminate urban growth and extractive activities such as mining. The consequence is the transfer of the poverty of the countryside to the city.


Who can participate?


The Practice Exchange is open to members of IACD who are working in the field of rural development, researchers, indigenous leaders and representatives of civil society as well as international development advocates, with a particular interest/expertise in such issues as sustainable development, environmental protection, water management and work with indigenous cultures. Joining the Exchange will also be people working in rural communities from Northern Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.


The cost of the 2017 Practice Exchange is just US$1,200.


This cost excludes international travel to get to Calama airport. The cost is based on a clean budget hostel with shared bedroom. It includes all food, airport transfer, transportation to local communities and translation.


The aim of the 2017 Practice Exchange is to:


  • Provide a space for Exchange, discussion and analysis about the Sumaq Kawsay or good living.
  • Analyse the problem of water depletion and management in the territory through the exchange of experiences as a critical element for the sustainable socio-economic development of countries.
  • Generate and promote synergies between the institutions that are committed to the research and development of the Andean region through shared activities.


What is this Practice Exchange About? 


This will be an event to share and exchange experiences between community developers from Andean countries and internationally.



·         Comparative analysis of the ‘Sumaq Kawsay’ and ‘Western’ models of development. ·         Find the differences, advantages and disadvantages of the two paradigms.
·       Crisis and water sovereignty. ·         Explain the importance of water in territorial development
·         Sumaq Kawsay and territoriality of water ·         Demonstrate the importance of water in the territorial development of the Andean communities



SUB-THEMES will be developed through the exchange of experiences by the representatives of different countries, who contribute with experiences related to the following sub-topics:


Effects of:• mining• tourist services, and other holdings

• climate change

• the current legal regulations in water management and the development of Andean/Amazonian communities


Participants will learn about the effects of the activities introduced in water management in their communities, productive activities and customs
Incidence of ownership of the land in the water management Analyze the positive and negative factors of the property upon the Earth in water  management of Andean communities


Outline Programme


October 11:   International participants arrive to Calama airport. We will have  transportation from the airport to the community of San Pedro de Atacama.


Dinner:         Together


October 12:

Morning          The day starts with a round table welcome, followed by 3 presentations of 30 minutes each about the development work in this area. These presentations will all be in Spanish; however they will all be translated into English.  There will also be a 20 minute presentation in Spanish (translated into English) about the work of IACD and its plans.

A Fair will be held in order to showcase the products of the small producers, farming and indigenous communities. 

Afternoon    Tour around San Pedro de Atacama with IACD South America director and local guide.

Dinner         Together


October 13 – 14:

Morning       Free time to see the area. There are various activities in the San Pedro de Atacama area: trekking, climbing, exploration tours in natural landscapes in the desert. These are not part of the formal programme.

A Fair will be held in order to showcase the products of the small producers, farming and indigenous communities. 


Afternoon:   Participants exchange of experiences in local development work. Non Spanish speaking participants will be allocated to groups with translators.


October 15 – 18:         Field visits to rural communities in the Andes with interpreter.

Evening      Dinner and round table review together.


October 19:    Departure.

Participants may wish stay in the area after the formal programme. There are various activities in the San Pedro de Atacama area: trekking, climbing, exploration tours in natural landscapes in the desert.


The 2017 Practice Exchange will be led by experts in the subject, with working groups to share experiences among participants that will allow them to recover their indigenous memory and to promote joint initiatives; together with plenaries to discuss the conclusions among the participants.

We will develop participatory activities with groups in order to facilitate the discussion towards these issues. We will complement such discussion with field work.

Three Master Classes: Researchers and experts on the issues will present cases/studies regarding the main themes.

About Sand Pedro, Chile


  • San Pedro lies in the heart of some of northernChile‘s most spectacular scenery. A short drive away lies the country’s largest salt flat, its edges crinkled by volcanoes (symmetrical Licancábur, at 5916m, looms closest to the village). Here too are fields of steaming geysers, a host of otherworldly rock formations and weird layer-cake landscapes.
  • The town lies at an average of 7,900 feet (2,400 m), and visitors often experience mildaltitude sickness such as dizziness, lethargy and headaches.[4] The local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25–30 degrees Celsius (77–86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer (December to February) and 18–25 °C (64–77 °F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and can reach as low as −10 °C (14 °F) in the winter.
  • Because of its altitude, we advise a brief period of acclimatization, so participants may wish to arrive a day or two earlier. You will be responsible for any additional costs such as hotel. Please let IACD know if you intend to arrive earlier. The journey from the airport will take approximately one hour by bus.



The organisers wish to thank the following organisations for sponsoring this Practice Exchange


  • National Ministry of agriculture
  • Local governments of San Pedro of Atacama
  • Regional Ministerial Secretariat of agriculture

To apply for the 2017 Practice Exchange, please contact the IACD office membership@iacdglobal.org. Payment can be made through the International Association for Community Development website. You can also contact the IACD office direct:

Colette McClure, Administrator, IACD, Baltic Chambers, Suite 305, 50 Wellington Street, Glasgow, G2 6HJ, Scotland, UK

+44 141 248 1924

You can find out more about the trip directly from the IACD South America Director, Ursula Harman, who will be the international participants’ group leader and Spanish/English interpreter. Contact Ursula on  +61 497840436


In 2016 we ran two Practice Exchange visits. One to India and one to Nepal.

The theme of these was around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Sustainable Communities: integrating social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of community-led development. The programme is a combination of field visits, seminars and facilitated reflection, where upwards of 20 community developers, practitioners and scholars from around the world vist projects and practitioners in situ.

These trips are tremendous value for money. We try to keep costs down, but also we try to offer good residential accomodation where the group can spend time together after the field trips to reflect.


For a taste of what an IACD Practice Exchange is like take a look at the Summer issue of Practice Insights magazine, where we have a centre page feature about the India and Nepal visits. The Special SDG issue published in December 2016 also includes an article about one of the visits we made.

Practice_insights5.pdf 1.84 MB
iacd_practice_insights_6_special_sdg_issue.pdf 4.25 MB