From design to action

From design to action

On November 21, itdUPM organized an (un)likely dialogue on the technical design of phase II of Alianza Shire, in order to share the lessons learned and the perspectives of the different members of the partnership: “From design to action”.

Participants in the dialogue included Carlos Mataix from itdUPM; Macarena Romero of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID); Edelmira Campos of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Manuel Pastor, from the Alianza Shire technical team; Julio Eisman of Foundation; Rosario Sánchez of Iberdrola; and Mar Gandolfo of Signify.

Full video of the session:


Following an introduction to the context of the refugee population in Ethiopia, along with a brief history of Alianza Shire, representatives from the collaborating partner entities shared an update on the progress of their work and the challenges they are addressing from their respective areas of expertise. These challenges can be summed up as follows:

  • Complex contexts require complex solutions that promote inclusion, innovation and durable solutions. The approach by Alianza Shire is a clear example of a comprehensive response to a complex problem.
  • With this type of partnership, it is important to carry out an initial test, such as a pilot project or prototype. An approach based on scalability requires learning from different models and methodologies, and deciding which are most suitable for that particular context.

    • The solutions to major challenges, such as access to energy, must feature adaptability and flexibility in the design. The next step is to evaluate how the lessons learned can be scaled up.
    • In order to guarantee long-term sustainability of the initiative, actions such as the training of trainers can be carried out as a way of guaranteeing continuity, consensus between the refugee population and local communities, and ownership of the initiative by the local population.
    • It is essential to systematize these experiences and ideas for their potential replication in other locations and contexts.
    • Local actors (communities, organizations, public administration, etc.) should be involved from the start in the design phase of the project or initiative.