De-construct to re-construct

At Umbela we consider that the hierarchical structure of today's hegemonic system does not comprehensively address the critical problems of the world and does not recognize biological and social diversity (classes, gender, cultures, ethnicities), or the value of resistance and regeneration movements seeking to protect such diversity. In addition, we recognize that the processes of colonization, extractivism, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination and oppression have generated very deep historical inequity. The consequences of this inequity marginalize and disadvantage voices of groups that have been denied the same power as dominant groups (e.g., those associated with visions of the West, Anglo-Saxons, the Global North, and/or sexists). Throughout history, many narratives and ideas have been extracted from their local contexts to depoliticize and make them marketable, while marginalized voices have been silenced in the construction of widsom and knowledge, both in scientific fields and in governance systems.

Therefore, at Umbela we recognize the need to shape deeper processes of change towards fairer and more sustainable societies. These types of changes are called transformations, and seek to generate root changes in paradigms, values, behaviors, practices, or norms. Transformations towards sustainability require transgressing the dominant structures and narratives that maintain poverty, inequality, and socio-ecological degradation, and thus it is necessary to explicitly make visible and challenge what is normalized (such as colonial practices, extractivism, over-consumption, or socio-environmental injustice). For Umbela it is essential to create spaces of dialogue between the South and the Global North, spaces in which it is explicitly recognized that the production and exchange of knowledge and practices are necessary from all possible corners and trenches, always respecting and recognizing their origins, their particular contexts, their authors, and their struggle.

Theoretical-methodological approaches

Based on our notions and values, Umbela follows four main approaches in our work:
  • Inclusive innovation
  • Transgressive learning
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Decoloniality
Click on each approach on the image to see its description and references -->

The work of Umbela

Umbela develops and collaborates in projects that contribute to exploring trajectories towards sustainable transformations, using one or more of our theoretical-methodological approaches. Throughout our professional work, we have collaborated with areas of the public and private sectors, civil society organizations and academia, prioritizing participatory action research schemes on topics such as: collective agency; collaborative governance; capacity building; rural, peri-urban and urban development and territorial planning; and strategies related to climate change.



Type of products

How can we work with you or your organization?

If you have any idea or proposal in which you think we can collaborate together, please write to our contact to discuss possible ways of interacting. Umbela is a non-profit civil organization, so we prioritize horizontal collaboration schemes in the form of consortiums and/or strategic alliances with other civil society organizations, academic institutions, private sector, etc.