Soirée con Impacto Social: Envisioning our Journey Ahead after 11 Years of Impact in Colombia - Instiglio

Soirée con Impacto Social: Envisioning our Journey Ahead after 11 Years of Impact in Colombia

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This past November, we held our first Soiree con Impacto Social in Bogotá with the objective of celebrating our 11-year journey of impact, recognizing the results-based financing (RBF) Colombian ecosystem’s milestones, and presenting our vision of growth and scale impact for the next five years. Attended by more than 50 people, the event included government champions, Instiglio’s board members, and various impact organization leaders who have partnered with us in pushing the results agenda.

Our board member Daniel Gonzales, Senior Program Manager at Open Society Foundations, opened the event and, together with board member Maria Margarita (Paca) Zuleta, Director of the Government School at the University of Los Andes, shared their motivations for joining Instiglio and reflected on the organization’s journey of creating a greater impact. Their interventions shed light on how Instiglio has evolved and achieved transformative outcomes over time. 

As a social investor, there have been very few instances where, following an initial meeting with entrepreneurs, I’ve thought to myself, “This is an idea that’s going to hit it out of the stadium” (a phrase commonly used in Colombia to convey the idea that it will excel), and I’ve felt compelled to do everything within my means to support them. This has occurred only two or three times in my 20 years of experience. Instiglio was one such case, and it certainly lived up to expectations.” – said Daniel

“Avnish and his team accomplished a shift in the track, demonstrating that there are additional options and proving that it makes a difference. Changes don’t occur as rapidly as one might desire, but they also begin to evolve in an unpredictable manner, making it challenging to discern the trajectory and mechanisms at play. There are times when growth is substantial, while at other times, things stabilize. Paca expressed, “I believe that something very distinctive has unfolded in Colombia because now there’s been an explosion of growth,” referring to the expansion of the results-based financing ecosystem in the country.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presence of Paula Restrepo, Manager at Negsos and former board member of Instiglio, who shared stories about the early stages of the organization. Paula recounted meeting the three founders, Avnish Gungadurdoss, Michael Eddy, and Michael Belinsky, in Me

dellín 11 years ago. She narrated their journey from receiving prize money from Harvard Kennedy School to implementing their revolutionary idea, implementing Results-Based Financing mechanisms in low- and middle-income countries to improve government effectiveness, which laid the foundation for Instiglio.

When I first met Avnish in Medellín, he was a young man with a brilliant mind and vision. After our first meeting, I was committed to supporting Instiglio in achieving its mission. Eleven years later, we are here, looking at their impact journey and a vision to increase it even more,” – shared Paula. 

In addition to the board members’ speeches,Daniel Uribe, Executive Director of Fundación Corona, highlighted

“On behalf of the Corona Foundation and SIBs.CO, we take pride in our collaboration with Instiglio. Together, we’ve embarked on a journey of mutual learning characterized by a continuous exchange of feedback over the years. Most importantly, witnessing the progress of the results-based payment ecosystem in Latin America, where Colombia stands out globally, is a testament to Instiglio’s contributions.” – shared Daniel.

His insights provided a glimpse into the transformative work accomplished in Colombia and the region in various sectors. For example, Instiglio has worked with local government champions in Cali, Barranquilla, and Medellin to create RBF pilot programs for workforce development, maternal health, and migration and has tested the advantages these types of mechanisms provide for target communities. Moreover, Instiglio worked with the Economic Development Secretary of Bogotá to launch a larger-scale RBF program for workforce development.

Another key highlight of the event included a panel discussion moderated by Sebastian Chaskel, Associate Partner at Instiglio,  and speakers  Daniel Gómez, Technical Vice President at the Consejo Privado de Competitividad, Alfredo Bateman, Secretary of Economic Development of Bogotá, Isabela Echeverry, Senior Discovery Officer, BID Lab, and Azucena de Benedetti, Executive Director, Fundación Colombia Incluyente, who all shared their experiences in piloting, scaling, and mainstreaming the use of Results-based Financing (RBF) Mechanisms in Colombia.

“The pressing need to deliver results, coupled with a highly specific situation (unemployment resulting from COVID-19) and a fortuitous alignment of the ecosystem, brought together key players such as IDB LAB, Fundación Corona, and Instiglio. Fortunately, they were the only ones capable of designing and implementing this project on a large scale within the timeframe of 6-9 months, leading to the realization of the project with the secretariat.” – said Alfredo

Sebastian Osorio, Associate Partner at Bogota, presented an overview of the broad impact Instiglio has made in the region. He spoke about the key countries where Instiglio has worked or is working, using RBF and other results-based approaches to help improve social outcomes in various sectors.

Siegrid Holler, Partner at Instiglio, shared Instiglio’s future plans to expand its operations to other regions in Asia and increase our work in Africa, leveraging the success of its work in Colombia as evidence that transformations are possible. Siegrid also unveiled Instiglio’s new three-pillar strategy aimed at growing government transformations through the Government Effectiveness Network (GEN) and collaborating with scale partners, such as multilateral development banks, aid agencies, and philanthropic organizations, to amplify the impact on citizens’ lives.


Finally, Avnish Gungadurdoss, Managing Partner of Instiglio, expressed his appreciation for the key factors of the Colombian people that enabled the RBF ecosystem creation in Colombia and the region to thrive.

“I’d like to underscore two remarkable traits within the members of this community. Firstly, their occasional, yet remarkable, inclination to opt for hope in the face of skepticism. When we initially presented our ideas to Sergio Fajardo, he rejected us for many reasons. Even his son, who connected us, harbored doubts about our potential success. Despite this, there was a commitment to hope.

The second characteristic is resilience. Engaging in an RBF project places you in the realm of unpredictable transformation, where the outcome is uncertain. Again, there are numerous reasons that may dissuade one from undertaking such ventures. Despite the uncertainties, every project we initiate sees its completion. While we may encounter setbacks, we don’t let them hinder our progress; we persist and continue forward.” – added Avnish.

He expressed gratitude for the years spent in Colombia and shared his excitement about reconnecting with his culture in Mauritius while strengthening Instiglio’s presence in Kenya and Morocco. “In the next stage of Instiglio’s growth, we are excited about expanding the organization’s impact to new countries and exploring new endeavors,”  said Avnish. He concluded his speech by passing the baton to Instiglio’s leadership team in the Bogotá Office, consisting of three Associate Partners, Sebastian Chaskel, Sebastian Osorio, and Benjamin Stephens, alongside the Chief of Staff, Julia Loraque, and the Finance Director, Marcel Camilo Hernandez.

As the evening drew to a close, the attendees had the opportunity to mingle and forge new connections, fostering collaboration and shared vision. The celebration event hosted by Instiglio in Bogotá was a moment to reflect on the RBF Ecosystem’s achievements, transformative impact, and collective dedication to creating positive change. It catalyzed renewed inspiration and collaboration, further reinforcing Instiglio’s commitment to improving lives and transforming societies worldwide. We thank all the attendees for their presence and contributions.