Fe y Alegría: One or Many?



Rosa Amelia Gonzalez


IESA Business School Venezuela

Published in


Fe y Alegría (FyA) has been defined as an “International Movement for Overall Popular Education and Social Promotion” that combines laity engagement and several religious congregations sharing the responsibility of The Company of Jesus, the order that founded this organization. By late 2004, FyA served over a million students with its formal education (pre-school, elementary and diversified) programs and provided other educational services (job training, adult education, radio-based education, among others), operating in 15 Latin American countries as a stand-alone, public service nonprofit. Internationally, FyA is a federation that gathers the national organizations. In Spain, the Inter Cultural Foundation – Fe y Alegría was created to serve as a support platform to raise awareness for international cooperation projects linking Europe and Latin America.

For FyA, exclusion and low quality in education cause social isolation and injustice. Its original motto reflects this belief: “Fe y Alegría starts where paved roads end.” Accordingly, its work started with the creation of elementary schools at poor areas in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city.

This case describes the challenges faced by a social organization that has managed to build a very successful organizational format to expand its operations across Latin America, suitably addressing local specificities but direly limited to grow internationally. The case unfolds in September 2005, when FyA’s first Global Institutional Development and Strengthening Plan is about to come to an end, and the organization needs to determine what it hopes to accomplish by 2009 in terms of international positioning and how it will do so.