Social Services Practices

Health and safety

Cost-Effective and Appropriate Sanitation Systems: Sulabh International Social Service Organization, India

India has a population of 952 million where the urban centres account for 27% of the population and covers an area of 3.3 million sq. km. 85% of the population i.e., over 750 million people practised an open-air defecation and use of bucket latrines resulting in health and environmental hazards Sulabh International (NGO) initiated a cost-effective sanitation system in 1970. It converts dry/bucket privies to sanitary toilets, supplies toilets to houses where no latrines existed before, provides well designed and maintained community facilities, trains and rehabilitates scavengers to find other jobs and generates bio-gas from public toilets for energy generation. Sulabh International has also forged close co-ordination and partnership with the government, local authorities and the communities involved.

Results to date include 1 million toilets and 4000 "pay & use" community toilets serving more than 11 million people daily, liberating 40,000 "scavengers". 240 towns have been made scavenger free. Due to this success, state and local governments have started to implement the sanitation program all over the country. Finding that affordable and sustainable technology is available and that institutional capacity has been built to train "scavengers", the Government of India has passed legislation to ban "scavenging" in the country. The program is being replicated in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania and Kenya. The project?s impact on health, sanitation as well as on a socially excluded group; high level of replicability of the technologies and the partnership between various sectors has been recognized by various environmental agencies.

Contact person: Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak
Telephone: 91- 11-5032631,5032654,5032617
Fax: 91- 11-5036122,5034041

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Integral Health Team, Betim, Brazil

Betim has a population of 270,000 inhabitants and is situated in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte in the Southeast Brazil. Its economy is predominantly industrial, although some traces of its agricultural and livestock history still remain. The annual budget is estimated to be US$ 86,000,000. The city administration spends 20% of the budget on the Health Sector.

The network of Public Health Services is managed almost completely by the city administrator and consists of the following units:

- Basic Health Units;
- Special Care Units;
- Emergency Care Units;
- Maternity Ward;
- City Hospital.

This network has been undergoing change since 1993 aimed at revolutionalising public health services to meet consumer needs. It has been implementing the principles of the Unified Health System i.e. universality, comprehensiveness, equity and simplifying procedures.

The changes establishment of reference and surveillance teams. The former aim at linking a certain number of users to one of the Basic Health Units, establishing a bond between the professional and the user which is essential to a good clinical practice. The surveillance teams aim at increasing the follow-up, control and implementation of actions capable of preventing health risks.

The reference teams are formed by Medical Doctors (General Practitioner, Pediatrician, Gynecologist-Obstetrician), Nurses and Assistant Nurses with the support of Social Workers. The population chooses, among the Basic Health Units close to their homes, the team they want to be linked with. Each team has between 1,200 and 2,000 users under its responsibility and organize the work according to the following targets:

- To get to know the epidemiological profile of its users;
- To organize its agenda according to its users' needs;
- To promote regular meetings to discuss cases;
- To activate other resources (intra and inter-institutionally) according to the users' needs;
- To implement home care whenever the users' autonomy is impaired;
- To search for absent patients whose health may have worsened or under any risk condition;
- To promote general actions of collective and preventive nature involving the whole Unit.

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Makati Health Programme (Yellow Card), Philippines

The Makati Health Program (MHP) was designed to provide residents of the city of Makati earning monthly incomes less than US$156 access to quality health care. The cost of health care in Philippine urban centres is so prohibitive that it is beyond the reach of citizens belonging to this income bracket. Also included as programme beneficiaries are the elderly and city government employees including public school teachers, policemen and firemen. However, most of the patients that received medical attention through the scheme did not fall within the minimum income bracket. Following the 1986 revolution, the municipal authorities carried out a review of the programme to ensure that it benefits the intended target group. The local government of Makati partnered with the private sector partner, Makati Medical Center and two non-governmental organizations (NGO): the Ospital ng Makati Foundation and Bagong Ina ng Bayan.

The programme has afforded beneficiaries access to services such as major surgeries in one of the best private hospitals in the Philippines. In 2000, over 50,000 cardholders were treated at the Makati Medical Center, with bills totaling US$ 3.3 million. Under the terms of the expenses sharing scheme, the city government of Makati shouldered US$1.9 million while Makati Medical Center contributed US$1.4 million.

Together with the local government's initiatives in preventive health care, the Makati Health Program has contributed to declines in the mortality rate and improvements in morbidity rates across all ages. Makati is one of the few cities in the Philippines that provide subsidized quality health care to its constituents.

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Polyclinic of Hope (POH), Kigali, Rwanda

Rwanda has a population of 8.4 million and a per capita income of US$200. At the end of the 1994 genocide, the country was left with a large numbers of widows and orphans; who had suffered the worst kind inhumanity, rape, torture and mutilation. The violence in 1994 had damaging effects on the women and children including psychosocial trauma, HIV/AIDS infection and dispossession. Polyclinic of Hope (POH) is a center for women victims of rape and other violent crimes perpetrated during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in the refugee camps, and during insurgencies. The center was established in mid 1995 by Church World Service and Witness (CWS)-USA, the parent organization of Rwanda Women Network.

The Polyclinic of Hope works in two locations in Kigali Urban, Gitega Sector and Village of Hope, Kagugu Sector. Beneficiaries include survivors of the genocide, victims of rape/ other violent crimes, widows, child-headed households and people living with HIV/AIDS. Polyclinic deals with trauma in a post-conflict situation while providing realistic and concrete solutions for these women to regain self-confidence. The center has a holistic approach that endeavors to provide integrated services in response to the multiple problems and needs of these women. It offers free medical services including referral and links to hospitals and medical clinics, psychosocial support and trauma-counseling, referral services to other relevant public and community sector services, credit facilities for income generation and self-sustainability, and rehabilitation and construction of housing. There is a strong component on advocacy and awareness raising on the human rights of women, including the right to own housing and land.

POH has so far provided medical support and counseling services to 500 women and members of their families totaling about 2,500 people, constructed houses for 130 families and women survivors in Kigali, replicated the same services to reach more people at the at POH branch in Kagugu, where 20 families and 600 women live. The women who have registered at the Center have benefited from different training programmes. There are also 187 youths involved in different activities at the Centers.

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Prevention's strategies of fight against malaria, Senegal.

Senegal has a population that is estimated to be 10.1 million (UN, 2003), with a GNI per capita of $470. According to the WHO, Malaria death rate per 100.000 children ages 0-4 is 377. For the rest of the population it falls to 72.

The Network of Community Support (Réseau d’Appui Community (R.A.C.) was created in 1996, its main objective being to reduce the high rate of mortality attributed to malaria in the municipality of Bignona in Senegal. The network’s goal was to undertake the fight and prevention of malaria and other common diseases through awareness campaigns and by educating residents.

The network is composed of all local stakeholders: city council members, grass root organizations, women, sport and cultural associations, health and hygienic committees and representative of neighborhoods. The technical service of the municipality is used as support structure.

The main focus of the network has been to ensure that the people had ownership of the program, this is meant to encourage more people to participate in the campaigns. An initial evaluation carried out on the project found that all RAC neighborhood focal points were functional, visits to clinics for consultations had increased from 30 to 60%; mortality rates attributed to malaria had drop by 70%.

Statistics show that the sale of chloroquine has increased significantly and the number of hospitalisations for Malaria dropped from 304 in 1998 to 251 in 1999. Mosquito net usage increased from 450 nets sold in 1997 to 4150 and 4500 in 1998 and 1999. Between 1997 and 2000, the network member visited more than 90% of the resident families.

These results were possible because due to the multicultural approach undertaken by project participates and the involvement of all stakeholders in the village including: religious leaders, traditional healers, traditional communicators, schoolteachers, students, civil servants etc, in the dissemination of information and education. Four out of five families are now aware of the disease and how to prevent it; know how access to medicine and are encouraged to use mosquito nets.

The sustainability of this initiative has been made possible with the introduction of malaria and health issues in the school curriculum and in vocational training institutions. Decentralising RAC’s activities has given grassroots communities the opportunity to consult each other on the programme strategy and to be fully involved in implementation.

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Integrated Model of Care for HIV/AIDS people at County level, Romania

Romania’s Population is estimated at 22.3 million (UN, 2003), with a GNI per capita of US $1,870 (World Bank, 2002). In early 1990s, Romania was confronted with an unprecedented situation: a large number of HIV positive children, and overcrowded, poorly equipped and severely under-staffed residential hospitals. Nearly 5,000 children born between 1987 and 1990 were infected with the HIV virus, primarily through transfusions or infection while under medical treatment.

Many children died in hospitals and others were simply abandoned by their families. Full hospitalisation was the only option as there were no day clinics. Children would thus be unnecessarily exposed to opportunistic infections and the stress of being away from home. This situation prompted the Romania Angel Appeal (RAA) in 1991 to bring about some changes through revolutionizing the assistance system for the seropositive child and the creation of a multidisciplinary approach that combines medical services with the social, psychological and educational ones: the "Sunflower Smile" day clinic.

One of the main successes of this project is the gradual integration of the psychological and social services within the hospitals where they function. Unfortunately, most of the Romanian hospitals offer only medical services, and the take over of the social and psychological services of the day clinics represent a real progress in improving the patient services.

The day clinic model has adopted two major priorities in the caring of HIV infected children, medical (diagnosis, investigation, treatment, recommendations and useful information on the standards of care for HIV/AIDS children) and psychosocial and educational assistance (pre and post-testing counseling, home visits, legal counseling, educational programmes etc.), responding to their identified needs.

The "Sunflower Smile" integrated model of care was introduced in Romania in 1991 by RAA with the opening of the first day clinic in Constanta. Currently, there are eight day-clinics over the country, which are organized in a network of information and, experience sharing and mutual help. The clinics provide medical, social, psychological and educational services for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Hand-over to the hospitals and local authorities is progressing well.

Results include, 1,656 children registered for social services (year 2003), 134 specialists providing multidisciplinary services, 5,176 social assistance interventions, 2,967 psychological assistance interventions and 9,000 information bulletins distributed to families affected by the disease.

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Enlarged Community Rehabilitation Project. Turkey

Turkey has a population of 71.3 million (UN, 2003) people with a GNI of US $2,490 (World Bank, 2002). In Istanbul, the city with the largest population in Turkey with a population of 9.6million(2003 estimates), a large proportion of the population is deprived of basic services, health nutrition and the power to demand health services. This situation is exacerbated with the growth of the population by 4.4% every year, mainly from immigrants of poor rural communities.

The Enlarged Community Rehabilitation programme (ECR) is a Health Affairs Department initiative that provides Home based health care to patients who are not covered by any health insurance system or who are in great need of help. It enters them in a register and provides them with the needed health care, if necessary, at their homes. The process starts with a visit in the townships to assess the health situation of the people in need: sick, disabled, pregnant, elderly or deprived people. This step is followed by the visit of a physician and a nurse to the houses to examine the patients and make treatment plans. According to the patient’s state of health, further investigations and examinations by specialist physicians are carried out. Surgical operations are also performed if required. For severely socially deprived families, fuel (for heating) and food aid is provided.

So far the project has covered 29 townships in Istanbul and 1,303,801 houses have been visited: 361,849 households had pregnant or disabled patients. 116,415 households were accepted for home care; 81,524 households received a visit of a doctor; 104,308 households received home based care; 13.455 patients were prescribed and were maintained by the project; 1,456 patients were taken to specialists; 985 patients received surgical operations through the project arrangement. The project also collected first hand statistic data on demographic, social and economic situation of Istanbul:

The patients with chronic illnesses learned how to look after themselves. The families of the patients learned what to do and where to go to seek solutions. A lot of patients learned to use their drugs in the correct manner and to control their health problems. 25 patients who had medicine resistant tuberculosis were inspected in a special treatment programme (DOTS) and underwent controlled treatment.

ECR Project has achieved many social and economic benefits for the city. The project has helped many people, not only patients requiring home based care, but people with chronic illnesses, pregnant, handicapped people, elderly people living alone, were provided with treatment and received assistance in dealing with social problems. With the help of the Aid Fund of the greater Istanbul Municipality, a system was developed through which patients with chronic illnesses without any social security can be assisted. 

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Safer Cities: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar-es-Salaam, the largest city and major port of Tanzania, East Africa has a population of approximately 780,000 people. Before 1997, the city accounted for over 25% of all crime incidents reported to the police throughout the country raising fear of victimisation among the residents. Safer Cities Dar-es-Salaam was initiated in March 1997, by UNHABITAT (Habitat) with technical support from the International Centre for Prevention of Crime (ICPC) in Canada and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The initiative was officially launched on 19 August 1998 aims at co-ordinating and strengthening local institutional crime prevention capacity, changing attitudes and promoting a culture of adherence to the laws and reducing youth unemployment through skills training and cultural activities.

The project works on a bottom-up approach to mobilise the community and local resources in establishing crime prevention initiatives. Community policing and justice is based on the traditional practice of "Sungu Sungu". This has decentralised the task of dealing with petty crime to the neighbourhood level instead of relying on the conventional justice system, anchoring social justice with community rather than penal values. The project has been successful in sensitising community leaders and citizens on the need for crime prevention initiatives. Many activities have been initiated in the city, establishing awareness as well as successfully promoting and utilising the skills and resources of different partners in crime prevention initiatives. Other cities in Tanzania (Arusha, Mbeya and Morogoro) have approached Safer Cities Dar-es-Salaam for assistance to create and support the development of a Safer Cities Initiative in their towns and cities.

Contact Person: Mrs. Anna Mtani
Telephone: 255 - 51 - 130 959
Fax: 255 - 51 - 130 961

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Take Back the Park, New York, USA

"Take Back The Park" represents a creative departure from previous youth programming in that it is the first project of its kind in New York City that gives young people--all high-risk youth--a lead role in motivating peers and adults in reclaiming community recreational space from drug dealers. Every summer, "Take Back The Park" mobilises one or more New York City neighbourhoods to reclaim a local park that has been taken away from the community by drug dealing, vandalism, and/or substance abuse. The program mobilises and trains community coalitions, including representatives from youth, police, parks department personnel, community-based agencies, tenants associations and community boards in collaborative community planning. Skilled and experienced youth work with neighbourhood young people to design and co-ordinate "Take Back The Park" activities, conduct neighbourhood needs assessment surveys, and develop a network between community youth and community police officers. Participating youth are provided with 25 hours of youth leadership and community organising skills training, including topics such as program planning, outreach, community problem-solving and strategies for addressing drug trafficking and substance abuse. All 15 of each "Take Back the Park" efforts remain in action today.

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Democratization in Tukums Region, Latvia

When Latvia broke away from the Soviet Union the population and even politicians were used to an autocratic, state-run system. This breakaway state lacked problem resolution mechanisms at local and national level. Due to the lack of money and resources, the municipalities had no social workers, and there was no training or mutual co-ordination in social programs. The initiative was conceived to create a democratic system of social assistance, with trained workers, incorporating the inhabitants' needs and mobilizes them to actively participate in suppoting themselves. The achievements of this initiative include a higher level of social assistance- in 1992 there were only 9 social workers in Tukums region, but in 2000 there were 52 social workers, which means there is 1 social worker for every 1,143 persons vis à vis Latvia, whose ratio is 1 social worker for every 6,000 people. There is also a greater number of regional NGOs. In 1992, there were 7 and in 2000 the number rose to 42.

The most obvious achievement is increased participation and co-operation among community-based organisations resulting in definite projects which improved their social status (e.g. Dzivesprieks group home, sport activities for the mentally and physically disabled, self-care education program and rehabilitation for diabetics). The municipality officials are now more knowledgeable on laws and policies regarding social assistance, to positively influence them in their implementation of social services and their support of the community's activities.

Contact person: Sarma Upesleja

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Project for Integration of Refugee Families, Germany

The International Garden is a Project committed to supporting the Integration of refugee families. It creates opportunities for Refugee Families to actively participate in the day to day life of the host society. The Concept of the " International Garden" Project was drawn up and put into practice over the last five Years by the refugee families in co-operation with German families who are interested in establishing a practical basis for developing trust and mutual respect between new comers and the host society. The main Actors in the Project are Refugee families. They are involved in the whole work process; i.e. drawing up the policy, developing the learning styles that are adapted to the participant families, practical work in the Garden, organizing multicultural festivals, etc. Women play a key role in decision making. The Project combines learning with practical gardening. It is earth based and creates the opportunity for the low educated socially excluded refugee women to take part in activities within and around the project.

Majority of the members (who initially never understood a word in German) speak the German, women have learnt to read and write and many families are stabilized in the process of participation with most having regular paying jobs.

Contact person: Tassew Shimeles
Fax: 0551/47655

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Street Children in Bitola, Macedonia

The "street children" phenomenon is in contradiction with the convention of children's rights of the United Nations Organisation, especially with its leading principal that the children and their interest must be put first in good and bad times, in poverty and prosperity, in war and peace (Bellamy, 1998). In the period of democratisation and transition of Republic of Macedonia, the Republic was faced with the "Street children" phenomena that had a tendency to pass into an acute and priority problem. The constrained resources and administrative problems pushed the children onto the streets even more.

The organisation/initiative "Day center", became a place for taking care of twenty children of Rome nationality. Through the general education, medical education, consultations, workshops, detailed social network and psychological analysis, the children were given the opportunity to keep their contacts with the family and community and to develop like any other children. Foundations were established for increasing the public awareness, for involving the governmental institutions, the local government and other Non-governmental organisations (NGO's), in order to meet the various needs of the children and to bring co-ordinated solutions which will cover a greater number of children. The programme received resources from World Bank; Bitola's Local Authority and other local partners.

Contact person: Dijana Gjorgievska
Fax: 389 97 226522

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Social service for Sector 6, Bucharest, Romania

Older persons represents 6% of the total population of Sector 6 in Bucharest (more than 350,000 inhabitants), bringing in the same time the social category the most affected by the economical situation. With the high rate of inflation, the small amount of pensions, very expensive food and drugs, the near absence of social assistance services, low-quality medical services (lack of equipment and basic drugs) and lack of qualified staff in the social and medical field there was need to take care of the elderly persons.

In 1996, the Association Equilibre in partnership with the Municipality of Sector 6 with financial support of EU through PHARE - SESAM programme initiated the creation of this type of social service for the Municipality of Sector 6 in Bucharest. Through social inquiries for 800 elderly persons, 300 elderly persons were initially selected to receive social assistance. The aim of the project is to ensure that the elderly persons stay with their families or in their homes to avoid their institutionalization and their solitude separation through adequate social and medical assistance.

Obtained results:

- Social Assistance provided for 500 persons
- Medical assistance provided at home
- Lunch provided for 60 persons
- Preparing food to be sent home for 40 persons
- Creation of an legal information office
- Club activities
- Training staff
- Social reintegration for unemployed persons
- Organization of seminars in order to make sensitive the local authorities, to let them know the issues that the elderly persons are faced with, exchange of experience.
- More than 100 meals are provided daily.

In a four year span this initiative has been transferred to other municipalities and has set a precedence of social care and assistance for elderly community members.

Contact person: Rodica Caciula
Fax: 40.1.781.77.37

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Night Asylum - Social Center, Romania

After the collapse of the communist regime, the local authorities had to admit and assume the serious social problems that the population was facing. One of these problems was that of homeless people. The new political economical and social context created after the collapse of the communist regime, and the conditions of total transformations imposed by the transition to market economy have changed a lot in Romania's people's life; a new social structure with a living standard diametrically opposite has appeared. The Night Asylum - Social Center project was started to offer a temporary shelter, over night, to people who had no homes to go to. Experience has shown that this initiative has improved the lives of homeless people. The funds for this project were provided from the local budget and the local authority provided the human resources. The Social Center offers health care services in addition providing a social setting for a comfortable night sleep. Currently there are two (each with an area of about 250 square m) such establishments operating in the Targoviste Municipality.

Contact person: Delia Stanescu
Fax: 0040-45-210450

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National Social Rehabilitation Centre, Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a total population of 8,612,757 and covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres. Disabled people in society were isolated in "social care homes", situated far away from the towns. The National Social Rehabilitation Centre (NSRC) was one of the first organisations in Bulgaria working for the welfare of disabled people, offering social services and aiming at assuring better working and living conditions and ensuring social integration. NSRC's aspiration is to create conditions for equal participation of people with disabilities in public life. In 1996 with a Decision of the Council of Ministers the organisation was acknowledged as a representative organisation on national level. The programme started with the financial support of EU PHARE LIEN Programme. Progressively a network of bureaus for social services was established to offer helpful technical advice, social consultation, professional training and at home services.

A regional bureau for social services was established in the city of Bourgas, with the support and co-operation of the Bourgas Municipality. After a year of work there, the municipal authorities in other cities were convinced that it was a good and successful model for serving disabled people. It resulted in the establishment of bureaus in the towns of Varna and Pomorie, and Stara Zagora. In these bureaus more than 7,000 people with disabilities yearly receive wheelchairs and other technical appliances, and connected to this training, information and service. More than 2,000 people yearly receive consultation and advice for solving their problems. NSRC started a specialised transport service for wheelchair users and day care centre for children with disabilities. The day centre "Saint Mina" in Sofia receives 26 children daily for rehabilitation or consultation. Reconstruction of public buildings in Bourgas and Sofia has started in order to make them easily accessible by the disabled. The success of the initiative is due to the multiplication of the good practice, co-operation with the State and local authorities and ensuring sustainability by training university students on how to care for the disabled. The practice has demonstrated the possibility of providing services that are flexible and fitting to the needs of all groups of people.

Contact Christina Christova
Telephone: +359.2.9803215
Fax: +359.2.9803492

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Caring for Orphans, United Arab Emirates

Prior to 1986 there was no NGO program for caring for orphans in the U.A.E and in response to this problem the Emirates Red Crescent Launched a national and international program for supporting orphans who lost parents in either to natural causes/disasters or man-made causes. The support involves educational programs, medical and social care, and monthly financial allowance for orphans in U.A.E. For orphans in other countries, such as Albania, Kazakhestan, Somalia, Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq and others, the Emirates Red Crescent provides monthly allowance for the orphans as well as establishments of orphan care centres for housing, clinic and schooling. In 1998, the beneficiaries of this program were over 4000 orphans in U.A.E and twelve other countries.

Contact person: Mr. Tarek Ali Ghaleb
Fax: (+971 2) 2212727

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Doctors of Happiness / Doctores da Alegria, BRAZIL

"Doctors of Happiness" is Brazil?s pre-eminent performing arts organization devoted to bringing joy to hospitalized children two days a week, 48 weeks per year. Based on clown theatre, professional artists perform parodies of medical rounds using the healing power of humor. The artists undergo six months of training in hospital protocol and artistic adaptation, followed by reviews to maintain high quality of work. The training enables them to visit special units such as intensive care, burn units, bone marrow transplant and AIDS patients. Working one-on-one with chronically ill children, their parents and health care professionals, these "doctors" help ease the stress of hospitalization by introducing laughter as part of the patient?s life. The secret to their success is that while doctors and nurses focus treating the illness, clown doctors focus on stimulating recovery.

Established in 1991, Doctors of Happiness has received recognition from major medical institutions, doctors, the media, sponsors and the general public. It received the prestigious "Children Award" by the Abrinq Foundation, Brazil?s leading foundation for children?s rights. Doctors of Happiness works in the six major hospitals in São Paulo and five in Rio de Janeiro and since 1998 expanded to South America?s only pediatric cancer hospital, bringing the total number of visits made to children, their doctors and parents to 165,000.

Since 1998, Doctores da Alegria established a Research and Study Center and runs specialized workshops such as "Doctors and Clowns: a Partnership for the Future" to share results with medical professionals and the general public. The workshops have become part of the official curriculum for all resident doctors of the Children?s Institute, South America?s largest pediatric university hospital. These workshops provide resident doctors with the opportunity to reflect on and discuss innovative ideas regarding the treatment of severely injured and chronically ill children. They also expose young doctors to how the clown approaches the hospital universe; with no fear of contact, interaction, listening or communicating with patients.

Wellington Nogueira Santos
Tel: (0055) (11) 3061-5523
Fax: (0055) (11) 3061-5523
Email: /

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The Humanitarian Association, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Besides material and food support provided by aid agencies during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was an overarching need for healing and recovery of traumatised women and children, their integration to community, education of women and consequently availing working opportunities for them. "Amica", the partner of Prijateljice, launched its programs for traumatised women and their children (refugees) during the wartime. A reference group consisting of 25 NGOs in the Tuzla canton (with a population of 121,717 persons) was established in November 1996 with the objective of improving the legal framework in which different NGOs involved in humanitarian activities and developing a network of NGOs as well as the private sector. Through this alliance, the women, the majority of whom lost their husbands and sons during the war, were given financial assistance to fend for their families after being given training on managing micro-enterprises. The project has provided intensive psycho-social therapy to 400 women who were either physically or mentally abused, many children and involved another 300 women in development activities. Up to 2,600 children received free education whose curriculum took into account the effect of the war. One of the programs is advocating for peaceful solving of conflicts and difficulties, strengthening health and hygienic culture and improvement of communication within a family. Another important thing the programme works at achieving is the women's integration into a completely new way of life and environment, their democratisation and broadening their horizons. With renewed self-confidence, the women now speak openly against domestic violence and hold campaigns to build awareness. The decision-making process is always based on the ideas of the women, on ideas of the project team together with the management team and the board. The organisation has a great impact on strengthening of women, in overcoming traumas caused by the war and additional post-war difficulties, and strengthening their consciousness on role they have in environment that they live and society in general.

Contact: Mrs. Monica Kleck
Fax: ++ 387 (0) 75/250 - 495
Phone: ++ 387 (0) 75/250-609

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New Pathways, Naestved, Denmark

The New Pathways initiative operates through "Open Data Centres" offering admission for distance learning courses designed to benefit socially excluded citizens. New pathways is a public-private partnership endeavour called the Open Data Centres in Denmark involving, inter alia, the Municipality of Naestved and IBM Denmark in assisting early retired people, youth and women to re-enter the job market through intensive training in information and communication technology. 23 ODC Guides manage the Open Data Centres. 19 of whom are early retired pensioners employed in easy-jobs, and 3 trainees. Students get special attention to gain ICT skills. 1,100 socially excluded citizens have to date completed training with half of getting employed.

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Emaus Bidadosa: Employment of the socially excluded, Spain

The Emaus Bidadosa project is located in the Bidasoa Area of the Basque Country of Spain with a population of 53,312. Prior to the inception of the project in October 1997, ADEBISA (Bidasoa Area Development Agency) had contacted, with no success, 150 enterprises of the area with the intention of getting employment for the people of the Horizon programmes in a subsidised manner, despite the fact that people had been trained to acquire relevant skills. Through collaborative and partnership structures involving social, economical and public actors, living conditions have improved through the employment of the most needy people who had no other means of livelihood (homeless, women with dependant relatives, unemployed older persons over forty five years of age, former drug addict). The programme has supported enterprises that are geared towards poverty alleviation. Through a participatory action plan domestic waste has been managed and in the process employed people to separate and recycle the waste. The initiative demonstrates the importance of long-term planning in order to effectively address the issues raised by all parties involved. The practice has been replicated within Bidasoa as "Corte Verde Patchwork Bidasoa" which recycles textiles to make patchwork clothing.

Contact Person: Javier Pradini Olazabal
Tel: 34943660041

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Tomaszow Enterprise 'Incubator' Foundation, Poland

Unemployment is an economic and social problem that transcends political and national boundaries although its extent manifests itself to varying degrees and proportions in different localities. The objective of the initiative was to improve local vocational training capacity and reduce unemployment, which was well above the national average. This was done through the creation of the Employment Forum that undertook co-ordination and reorganisation of local vocational training programs based on a needs assessment, and built a data base on local training needs, training capacity and training graduates. The Forum affiliated representatives of training organisations, public officials from 10 counties, employers and unemployed persons that worked together to improve local information flow, develop better training courses and bring together newly trained individuals with potential employers. The program is currently being expanded to include another four cities in the Piotrkow Province, and the cities of Opole and Zyrardow.

Achievements to date include: the creation of a coalition of vocational training organisations in Tomaszow providing co-ordinated vocational training programs and developing new training schemes for the unemployed; completion of a survey of 6,000 local employers assessing training needs and hiring plans; developing and setting up databases on employers, training institutions and unemployed graduates. 65 % of trainees found employment or are currently undertaking education training.

Agata Kaczmarkowska
Tel: (48)-(44)-7237608
Fax:( 48)-(44)-7236878

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Iperbole/Internet Metropolitan Civic Network, Italy

Bologna has a population of 900,000 and is the Italy's administrative capital and the most important node of communication in Italy. "Realising digital democracy, telematic participation and citizenship" and building an on line interactive community is the key idea of Iperbole, an Internet-based citizens free-of-charge metropolitan civic network that was set up in 1995 by the city of Bologna. The Municipality of Bologna has traditionally devoted strong efforts to improve relationships and communications in order to increase the quality of citizens' participation in Local Authority's activities. The Municipality offers e-mail service, news, direct access to the municipal web-site ( connected to other local, national and European servers), free full-Internet connections and to its free resources to all citizens requesting it free of charge. The Internet is a useful tool for job seekers who receive advice from professionals through an interactive session. The project, due to the large number of persons connected (about 10 % of the whole population with a growing rate of 20 new users every day) is becoming a very efficient way for the families, enterprises, public and private bodies, to retrieve information and services, at home or the workplace.

The Iperbole/Internet service is based on the principles of the employment of telematics and new technologies for administrative innovation and partnership with the "organised civil society"; the right to information; and involving the virtual community as a partner of the urban administration in enabling decision-making processes between urban actors. Citizens can take part in the public life of the city via the web-site of the city administration and by participating in on-line discussions with 35 local newsgroups. The new technology helps to establish reciprocal communications between the administration and the society. In April 1998 Iperbole counted 13500 citizens using the free Internet access, 600 organisations, 70 schools and hundreds of administrative offices were on line.

Contact Person: Leda Guidi
Tel: 39-51-203210
Fax: 39-51-223142

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Training Program in Public Security, Human Rights and Citizenship, Brazil

In Brazil there is much police arbitrariness, causing aggravation of exclusion and violence. In Amapá, a former Federal Territory, police behaviour was based on the Armed Forces motto of "defending the frontiers against invaders". This war-like ideology degenerated into treating the citizen as the enemy. Furthermore, the police force was badly coordinated and often worked at odds with security departments.

The programme was initiated in 1996. It?s objective is to humanize police action by training the police force to become aware of and uphold human rights and the exercise of citizenship. The training includes social psychology, group interaction and self-analyses focusing on changes in behavior and attitudes based on the respect of ethical principles of citizenship, defense and security for the people. It also aims to provide better integration of different departments involved in the public security system.

The programme led to the adoption and implementation of the following policies and initiatives: (i) interactive policing involving civil society in determining priorities for public security; (ii) establishment of an Environmental Battalion responsible for monitoring and preventing environmental degradation and promoting environmental education; (iii) an unified Public Security system integrating all security departments at all levels to coordinate their actions and interventions including coordination between the Chief Justice and the Secretary of the State for Security; (iv) de-commissioning of the Shock Battalion which was used in the past to suppress labor unions and popular manifestations.

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Improving the quality of life for socially excluded children, Kolkata, India

Kolkata (City of Joy a.k.a Calcutta), with a population of 13.2 million, is one is one of the largest cities in the world. It's the capital city of the Indian State of West Bengal. More than a 100,000 children living in streets, red light areas, slums were left unattended and stayed away from schools. These vulnerable children were involved in menial labour, exposed to sexual exploitation and never had access to formal education. The purpose of the Educational Initiative is to enrol all out-of-school children (in the age group (5-14 years) into local formal schools (Government Sponsored/Municipal Corporation Schools/ Private run Boarding Schools). Priorities include protecting children in vulnerable situations through support by providing them with shelter, protection, care and counselling with the involvement of Railway authorities, Police and the local public. Stakeholder participation comprised community representation in planning, Implementation and sustainability by forming apex committees with representation from Youth Club members, community volunteers, ward councillors and parent-teacher committees. The initiative has not only reached out to 15,000 deprived urban children but has been able to enrol 8,000 children into formal schools while reuniting them with their respective families.

The initiative also aims to sustain the effort of the social reintegration of children through local resource mobilization and community participation to create a sustainable environment for the children to be retained in schools. Community based preparatory centres, coaching centres and residential camps for children living in slums and squatter settlements, help ensure that children remain in schools, away from forced labour.

Over the years, Children In Need Institute (CINI ASHA), has created a model in the field of education by evolving its own Bridge Course method (accelerated method of teaching/learning) for out-of-school/ drop-outs/never been to school-children. The children are reintegrated according to age and appropriate levels in one year's time. CINI ASHA has designed a package of the Bridge Course curriculum and training module in collaboration with UNESCO for training approximately 400 community volunteers to date. CINI ASHA, has also been a pioneer in designing modules and conducting training for NGO representatives in counselling street children in collaboration with National Institute of Social Defence. The innovative strategies have been replicated by NGOs and the Government at the national level.

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Central Council of Disabled Persons, Sri Lanka

Recent figures show that 7.4% of the people in Sri Lanka are disabled and the growth rate is higher than the normal by 0.04%. The idea of setting up a Disabled Persons Organisation was a brainchild of 15 disabled people who met regularly in hospitals while undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. The aim was to create a forum that addresses the special needs of the disabled and is primarily run by the disabled. It would also address the vocational training and unemployment situation of the disabled as many face discrimination at the work place even when fully qualified.

The initiative was conceived when initial members mobilised their collective savings to start an income generation enterprise. Some of them had prior training in handicrafts and volunteered to train their colleagues. An offer was received to display and sell wares to tourists at an up-market hotel on recognition of the quality of work and the dedication of the group. This brought a measure of success and gave a degree of independence and thus the Foundation for the Independence of Disabled (FID) which was later renamed Central Council for Disabled Persons (CCODP).

To counter resistance from the local community caused by the traditional beliefs and myths that disability is a curse, the CCODP embarked on an aggressive awareness campaign on the causes, treatment and reality of disability. They sought and received support from local leaders who provided assistance in organising workshops at the village level. Many families in the villages approached the group with questions on how to assist disabled family members. School heads and religious leaders provided overwhelming support and sensitisation campaigns were undertaken in schools, using school leavers and religious services resulting in a change of attitude in the population. As the initiative received wider ownership and recognition, officers from the Ministry of Social Services offered the use of Government machinery and network to involve other local CBOs. This partnership culminated in a study carried out together with the National School of Social Work on the disability prevalence in the district. The results of this study were an important milestone as for the first time, tangible data on the magnitude of disability was available in the district.

CCODP attaches great importance to the disabled persons' ability to operate independently and to compete on a level playing field with the able-bodied. In this light, CCODP has initiated several programmes aimed at addressing various concerns which include Social Development Programme, Women's Programme, Research and Development Unit, Computer and Language Training, Enterprise Development Programme, Environmental Programme, Housing for Rural Disabled and Micro finance for Women. Through these programmes, CCODP has over the years, offered direct and indirect support to over 20,000 disabled and disadvantaged people from all over the island. CCODP prefers to compete for government tenders with other manufacturers as an equal rather than invoke the special treatment and quota reserved for the minority groups and currently generates more than 80% of its income from the enterprise development programmes. 40 acres of land have been set aside to implement a tree planting programme to replenish what is used up in the production of the various products whose raw materials is mainly timber.

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Coruna Solidarity Co-operation Network, Spain

The population of Coruna doubled between 1940 and 1980, resulting in unplanned and overcrowded buildings. Since 1985, Coruna has undergone comprehensive renewal with the opening of the City to the sea, construction of a promenade, removal of military installations, improvement of road networks and introduction of cultural, educational and tourism infrastructure. However a strategic development plan in Coruna addressing the issue of social welfare was lacking. The Municipality of Coruna created the Coruna Solidarity Cooperation Network as a model for citizen participation in the implementation of social welfare policies through the strengthening of the city's non-profit sector and co-ordination with other Municipalities. The fundamental point was to create a system for citizen participation for the development of the city's non-profit sector with the ultimate aim of improving citizen welfare in a sustainable way.

To date, the Network is made up of 140 institutions representing foundations, charities, philanthropist associations, trade unions, professional organizations, neighbourhood associations, federations of associations, municipal representatives and socially excluded people. The groups operate in the city in specialized fields such as health, care for the disabled, immigration, senior citizens, children and youth, drug addiction, women, social exclusion, the environment, co-operation in international development and aid. The network is currently operated by 1800 volunteers and has 28000 members who provide financial support, and generate employment for 950 people.

Various specialised service networks have been established including the Municipal Women's Service that has benefited over 800 women, the Municipal Children and Family Service that has served more than 6,500 families and the Municipal Drug Addiction Service that has more than 3,700 users. The Municipal Social Inclusion Service develops programmes for improving housing standards, intervention and social inclusion that have benefited more than 2,200 people. A Municipal Plan for Gender Equality has been introduced to encourage the active participation of women in the programme and provide specialised services that meet the needs of women. These include the creation of a Women's Centre where gender policies are developed, women's shelters and a mobile phone response service for women facing harassment. The Coruna Solidarity Cooperation Network is incorporated in the Municipal Welfare Plan.

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Humanitarian News Agency (a Red Solidaria project), Argentina

The Humanitarian News Agency, created in 1995, provides mass media with information about disturbing situations of marginalisation, and about solidarity initiatives taken by ordinary citizens to revert such situations. The goal of the initiative is to communicate and generate interest, initiatives and opportunities for solidarity. The credibility of the Agency with the media is based on the work, transparency and trustworthiness of Red Solidaria, a network organisation of volunteers who guide and create bridges between those in need and those willing to help, using the telephone. It is funded by contributions from companies and foundations.

The Agency systematically maintains daily contact with journalists, producers and media executives, social leaders and other individuals. Initial success was registered 1997 and again in 1998 when the largest national newspapers started "solidarity ads" (ads about particular needs and the services offered) and regular weekly "solidarity supplements". A popular national TV program included a 10-minute slot on social entrepreneurship and others followed suit, with campaigns to generate participation. The guiding principles are:

To approach the media with cases that are newsworthy;
Ascertain that media exposure will not add to people's suffering;
To rely on a solid organizational background;
To develop a clear identity as a news agency, nationally and internationally credible and independent;
To avoid the "solidarity ghetto", focusing on mass media, rather than specialist media.

Since the establishment of Red Solidaria

275,000 phone calls and e-mails have been received, half reporting needs, and half seeking to collaborate;
An active relationship is maintained with 350 NGO's around the country;
17,000 cancer and HIV-Aids patients have received medicines and treatment;
180 food centres, 70 foster children and single mothers, 250 rural schools have received support;
505 missing children have been found;
A four-month Post-Graduate Program on Solidarity Culture was created in 1998 (320 professionals have completed it);
80 Community Orientation Volunteers have been trained;
Establishment of 23 national and three international Red Solidaria coordination centres (Paris, Sao Paulo, New York).

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Cooperation in Literacy Programme, Brazil

Illiteracy is a major social problem in Brazil with 1997 statistics showing an illiteracy rate of 55% in the 15-year and older age group in 38 municipalities. The Cooperation in Literacy Programme was created in 1997 by the Solidarity Community Council, a national forum for the development of social programmes based on partnerships between central government, private organisations and civil society. The programme is managed by a non-governmental organisation, the Association for Support of Cooperation in Literacy Programme. The programme's objective is to provide education to the illiterate at national level targeting regions with the highest illiteracy rates and adopting a model to meet the specific characteristics of each region.

The Programme's model is based on modules of semester literacy training that take place through a simple alliance between the government, civil society and the academic community. Each semester runs for 6 months whereby one month is dedicated to building the capacity of literacy trainers who are selected from within the targeted community. The trainers then embark on education programs during the remaining five months. The programme targets the youths and adults, giving priority to the youth to ensure continuity where majority of the students are from rural districts. Financial resources leveraged from the National Fund for the Development of Education and the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Members of the public, the private sector and individuals also contribute towards the programme.

By the end of 2001, 70% of the municipalities involved had increased the number of student enrolment by 114%. The programme qualified over 100,000 literacy trainers. The programme aroused interest in the academic cycles resulting in the emergence of holistic solutions that address illiteracy in the country. Specific curricular subjects and specialisation courses have since been developed and include theoretical and practical guidelines. Before inception of the programme less than 10 higher learning institutions focused on education for youth and adults but the number has since risen to 204. The programme began in 38 municipalities is currently being implemented in 2,010 municipalities, which corresponds to 45% of the municipalities of the country. The programme is also being replicated in East Timor, Sao Tome and Principe, and Mozambique.

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Downtown Urban Renewal Intervention - Third Millennium Project, Bogota, Colombia

Third Millennium project is located in downtown Bogota and has a population of 230,000 of whom 2,500 were homeless. This sector presented the highest indicators of crimes and murders, the lowest life expectancy, and was identified as a haven for drug pushers and addicts. Initiated in 1998 by City Mayor Enrique Peñalosa Londoño the project, promoted by the public sector, is aimed at complete urban and social recovery of the most deteriorated area of the city located at Santa Ines neighborhood. The objectives of the project are to rehabilitate downtown Bogota and promote social inclusion of citizens, offering a better quality of life to its inhabitants. The strategies employed included rehabilitation of drug addicts, housing projects, health, education and social welfare programmes that were made accessible to all. The project was divided into phases that outlined different priorities depending on the needs of the specific community.

This project is the first ever-integrated urban renewal intervention in Bogota, undertaken by the Government. After consultations with the community in Santa Ines neighbourhood, the Urban Development Institute working closely with the Municipal Authorities acquired land from homeowners and businesses operating in the area who were temporarily relocated to other neighbourhoods. The structures standing on the earmarked land were demolished, a section of which was dedicated to the creation of a Metropolitan Park. The San Victorino sector was earmarked for redevelopment of a commercial and economic sector, the "shopping mall with open sky". The Urban Renewal Program is working with the community (residents, formal and informal merchants, private organizations), drafting agreements and establishing laws to guarantee the sustainability of the public space that is being recovered with joint investments and encouraging new real-estate developments. The San Bernardo neighbourhood has as its main purpose the rehabilitation of residential areas. The Urban Renewal Program promotes housing programs with private investors.

As a result of the initiative, 585 properties have been acquired, 65% demolished and 1.5 Ha opened as a Park to the public. 4.4 Ha is currently under construction and was opened in April 2002. The relocated businesses have appropriate infrastructure in an improved environment. The monetary compensations that were given to residents has become a policy for the Urban Development Institute when relocating low income residents during the process of construction. Security improved markedly with 1,948 drug addicts being treated and rehabilitated. Education was made available to 1,025 high-risk and socially excluded individuals such as drug addicts, children, the elderly, and female headed households among others. 260 people have made a transition from the informal sector to the formal while 160 families received title deeds to their rehabilitated houses. Over 5,000 jobs were created during the various phases of construction and health assistance provided to over 4,000.

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Functional Community - Resourceful Citizenry, Poznan, Poland

At the beginning of the transformation process in Poland, relations between the newly established state, its agencies and NGOs were dogged by lack of trust and co-operation. The country was faced with a worsening economy, rising unemployment, and reduced social activity. Following the decentralisation of power in 1999, Poznan took advantage and started the establishment of a comprehensive local public policy, which was previously hindered by the lack of a national public policy programme. The trend had been specific policy oriented programmes being implemented without taking into consideration city-wide priorities or ranking tasks. The city of Poznan embarked on a multi-sectoral co-operation in planning, implementing and evaluating the city's public policy that identified subsidisation, solidarity, justice, equal access, partnership, transparency, and mitigation as opposed to periodic intervention as priority areas.

As the national legal system was gradually adapted to the needs of the political system, local authorities in Poznan were able to develop diversified forms of social work and formulate individual elements of local public policy. These include making social diagnoses, drawing reports on health and capacities/ability, conducting research on residents' expectations, and developing methods of co-operation with NGOs (using the experiences of EU countries and the USA). The basic concept of a public policy strategy was developed and a 10-point schedule designed and adopted. Following consultation with various partners, designated task groups carried out development of related strategy. The Programme outcomes so far have allowed for drawing up of an amended budget for the years 2002-2005, which is consistent with the public policy strategy and goals. This discourages the misappropriation of resources, facilitates the provision of comprehensive solutions to community problems and allows for the effective use of available funds. The areas that have been given priority include promoting and creating equal opportunities for the youth, compensation for a lower standard of life resulting from physical or mental incapacity. Also on the priority list are protection against discrimination, marginalisation and social exclusion, and provision of relief and temporary support to the latter group.

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People Friendly City, Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has a long history being one of the most significant countries along the historical "Silk Route." The capital of this ancient country, Baku City, is divided into 11 municipalities and is considered one of the most ancient oriental cities. Azerbaijan was subjected to the long-term Armenian aggression with 20% of its territories being occupied. Alongside with great destruction and damage worth 22 billion USD, one million people became refugees as the result of the ethnic cleansing in the neighbouring Armenia. The situation is further aggravated by Internally Displaced Persons that have fled from their native lands, due to insecurity caused by the occupation of Armenians. The country experienced rapid urbanization due to the inflow of people, mainly from the occupied rural districts. The city population increased during the years of Armenian occupation from 2 million in 1998 to 30 million citizens presently. This has created great housing and environmental problems. Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons have been placed in official buildings, schools, kindergartens, recreation zones, some living in unserviced houses, in special refugee camps, and wagons on railways etc. This has put a great strain on the environment, human settlements, infrastructure, and sewerage system overwhelming the local authorities' capacity.

With change of administration, a survey was carried out to identify the priorities of the residents in the different districts. The main priorities that were identified were adequate housing, infrastructure, and improved urban environment. Active reconstruction and renovation works were organized in 2001 aimed at rehabilitation or construction of new houses, roads, recreational parks, orphanages and boarding houses for the elderly. Urban greening was carried out through tree planting campaigns. New markets areas have been developed to promote small-scale entrepreneurs engaged in agricultural and handicrafts creating income generating opportunities for poor people, refugees and Internally Displaced People.

Numerous cultural events have been organized, such as: The Flowers Day, National Festival, International holidays and people of different nationalities and ethnic groups living in Azerbaijan participate.

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SYSLAB - Systems Laboratory for Innovation and Employment, Norway

Prior to 1991, hundreds of highly qualified people living in Norway were unemployed due to lack of job openings in the market place and redundancy following restructuring processes. They were often without any public or private means of assistance. SYSLAB (Systems Laboratory of Innovation and Employment) prototyped at the Bergen High-Technology Center, Norway was initially developed as a "workplace" for unemployed academics. The Norwegian Ministry of Labour, the Labour Authority in Hordaland County and the Municipality of Bergen were consulted and contributed to the mobilization of resources for 30 candidates who started a small "model company". Formal training is provided in team building, communication, presentation techniques, project development and entrepreneurship enhancing the candidates' knowledge base and competence. The candidates are selected from a multi-disciplinary, multi-racial and gender balanced background - including emigrants and refugees. They are given tasks to be executed within the shortest time possible earning themselves work experience. Meetings are arranged with company managers within the region, initiating contact and forming relationships and in many cases, interviews being carried out.

Since its inception in 1992, 400 projects have been initiated and 91% of the candidates in Norway obtained permanent employment within 4 months. In 1996, SYSLAB was licensed to CESI in France, in 1998 to SIF, Sweden, and UNDP/MRES in Moscow Oblast. Currently, preparations are made for establishing SYSLAB in Lithuania. More than 1,500 people have participated in SYSLABs throughout Europe. Of these more than 80 % have obtained permanent jobs within a 6-month period at SYSLAB. SYSLAB candidates have to date started 100 new businesses.

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IGLOO (Global Integration through Housing and Jobs), Brussels, Belgium

A large proportion of the population residing in the European Union is faced with unemployment, inadequate housing and lack of access to urban services such as health care. This was the case in Brussels where social housing providers were faced with difficulties in providing sustainable housing with a large section the populace lacking financial resources, skills and employment opportunities. There was a need to find partners to work with them on issues such as debt mediation, training, job search and social support. The need for multidimensional and simultaneous responses to the problems: lack of adequate housing, employment, skills training, health and social support prompted the establishment of IGLOO (Global Integration through Housing and Jobs).

The objective of IGLOO is to encourage concerted action between the relevant bodies for the adoption of efficient institutional and legislative solutions at regional, national and European levels, which are both economically viable and socially productive. The main strategy was to integrate housing provision, social support services, training and employment. IGLOO projects dovetail with local employment initiatives in partnership with local authorities who want to use house renovation and building contracts as an opportunity to generate local jobs and curtail on social exclusion, homelessness and substandard housing conditions. This is done by including a 'social clause' in the contract conditions of companies being awarded public procurement contracts. The basic principle is that contractors are required to hire local labour to carry out the contract works. Social support and training are provided for the long-term unemployed.

The practice has been replicated in many cities around the world including Catalonia, the U.K., Madrid, and Sainte Marguerite-sur-Duclair creating jobs for many and providing shelter for those previously homeless. It is now a widely accepted fact that with a permanent residence/secure tenancy, most residents find it easier to seek employment with the assistance of the social support programmes.

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ufaFabrik : International Centre for Culture & Ecology Berlin, Germany

Germany has a population of 82.5 million (UN, 2003) with a GNI per capita: US $22,740 (World Bank, 2002). In 1978 a 6-week environmental festival organized by ufaFabrik founders inspired the Fabrik group to find a place to demonstrate their ideas. In 1979 the intergenerational community of people and projects moved into the abandoned studio grounds of the former Ufa-Film Company in West Berlin, to begin working with partners and the City on the conversion of this area.

ufaFabrik centre started immediately with sustainable community development where a broad range of initiatives are carried out, ranging from capacity building, training of co-operative, jobs creation, gender inclusion, youth and single young mothers, immigrants, unemployed, disadvantaged people, environmental concern etc. ufaFabrik has also became an international centre for arts & culture, entertainments which involving and inspiring many thousands of people each year.

Eco-project initiatives include: cogeneration & renewable energy production, substantial solar & wind energy systems, local re-use of rainwater, the greening and ecological renewal of buildings, and other environmental practices. Eco-technologies are explained to the public through an eco-exhibition, information panels, and regular tours, workshops, seminars and conferences.

Through the ufaFabrik, a greater understanding for self-help projects has evolved. Many ufaFabrik projects have served as pioneers and helped to open up new possibilities and creativities among people and communities, both locally and internationally. Job creation and training programs have been tested and shared with partners and the public. Many of the ufaFabrik´s environmental technologies have been mainstreamed since their experimental implementation at the ufaFabrik (co-generation, solar energy, rainwater use, roof-greening, etc).

UfaFabrik people and organisations have evolved as complements to local institutions, bringing creativity and sensitivity to social, cultural, and ecological problems and issues, and strengthening local capacities. The ufaFabrik has helped tens of thousands of people over the decades to see the possibilities for non-violence and personal action, for self-help projects, and for participatory culture and ecology.

The ufaFabrik practices gender and social equality, offering space and assistance to all social groups and classes. The ufaFabrik is known as a leading center for ecological projects, including everything from solar and wind energy to the re-use of rain and wastewater, to ecological renovation and the greening of buildings and roofs.

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