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Pamela Meléndez Madariaga

What are you leading?

Currently, I am leading the public policy area in Enseña Chile. My job is to train and bring together Enseña Chile participants and alumni to influence the public policy decisions that will transform the Chilean educational system. I coordinate two work areas: (i) designing and implementing initiatives that allow participants and alumni to acquire perspective on the educational problems from their experiences in the classrooms and their connection with education policy in Chile, (ii) generating different initiatives that allow alumni to reflect, inform themselves and to influence public policies in Chile from the experience in the classroom.

Our impact:
All members of the program (178) participate in network meetings, systemic discussions on the educational problem in Chile and opportunities for action.
84 alumni (25%) participate in public policy activities.
25 alumni and members participate in multiple public policy initiatives.
2 public policy groups of reflection and action have been created (Cities of Santiago and Puerto Montt)
Generation of different advocacy activities: writing of op-ed, memos to the Congress, document of proposals for the presidential candidates and presentation in the Congress on education bills discussions.

I currently participate in the Global Community of Practice in public policy, in which I work in an initiative of decentralizing and including more actors in the public policy debates. I also work in a regional initiative to create groups of policy alumni in each Latin American member of the TFALL network, and then prepare a publication that allows us to identify and work together in common educational challenges in  Latin America.

How did your experiences as a fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?

My experience in the classroom was tremendously transformative. In it I learned to connect with the terrain and learned the importance of working WITH students and families, rather than FOR students and families.

I learned to understand the difficult childhood and youth of thousands of children and young people in Chile; I learned to listen to them and to stress the importance of human relationships to commit ourselves to a great goal.

Listening to my students in depth, I mobilize today to make public policies take into account everything they live daily. This is essential information for the design and implementation of public policies that will reach all students in Chile and especially the children and young people living in difficult contexts.

My current working hypothesis is that we have identified the challenges to be solved and we have the technical knowledge to solve these challenges, but we still need to really listen to those who live the public policy. Does it really respond to what they live? Is it implemented in the best way? Building this bridge today mobilizes me, and the challenge is not only to bring reality to the decision makers, but also that these policies are really implemented in a way that allows communities to be empowered as key social actors in the construction of a fairer Chile.

Specifically, classroom experience and engaging so deeply with my students changed the focus on how I look at public policy, its challenges, and even led me to develop my master's thesis on a difficulty lived in my teaching years. After visiting juvenile correctional officers and engaging with students with fragmented educational histories, I realized that the right to education in thousands of young people has never been delivered.

Our children and young people today mobilize me, and not only from education but also from everything that allows them to develop and live in their communities.

What's next?

Currently the challenge for the area of public policy I lead is to generate in the members and alumni of the program a different way of thinking and doing public policy, in a more decentralized and inclusive way.

We need public policy strategies relevant to each context, involving and empowering the educational community and program members to influence public policy.

Alumni info

Partner

Alumni Cohort

2012

Current Home

Santiago, Chile

Subject(s) Taught

History

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Leadership Journey

2009 a 2011

Lawyer of the unit of studies of the qualifying court of elections of Chile. Incidence in electoral public policies and judicial cases in electoral matters and absences of mayors. Research on issues of citizen participation, the electoral process in Chile and the role of citizenship. Drafting of memos on bills of voluntary voting and voting of Chileans living abroad.

2011

Pamela is selected for Enseña Chile (eCh).

2012-2013

Classes of history and geography in one of the schools in Santiago more stigmatized by its condition of violence and trajectory of school desertion.

2013

Generation of different activities to improve relationships and decrease violence.

2014

Pamela graduated from eCh and began to study her master in public policy, writing her thesis on the correctional education for young people, inspired by her experience in the classrooms.

2015–2016

She leads the public policy area of Enseña Chile. Generating a group of reflection on public policies, advocacy in education bills and presenting in the Congress.

2017

Selected in the first global community of practice of public policy of TFALL, where she works with 25 alumni in the challenges of decentralization and inclusion in public policy. In addition, she is a lead member of the Latin American alumni initiative to generate groups of public policies in each of the Latin American countries.

Support

2011

Supported by eCh, training team.

2012-2013

Support of the training team by eCh, especially in the handling of situations of violence.

2013

Development of a plan with teacher coach (by eCh) and generation of networks with other alumni.

2014

Pamela graduated from eCh and began to study her master in public policy, writing her thesis on the correctional education for young people, inspired by her experience in the classrooms.

2015-2016

Support from TFALL on advocacy issues and invitation to the System Change conference in Poland.

2017

Support from TFALL by connecting her with other members of the network with common initiatives.