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GENERAL PRESENTATION

OF

THE PROJECT

NAME OF THE PROJECT: INTER-AJUDA (INTER-AJUDA)

NAME FO THE SOCIAL SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION: EMET

PRESENTED BY: Naomi Calvao & Ricardo S. Fernandes


DESCRIPTION

In the Portuguese communities the process of inter-ajuda exists and continues


creating traditional links, although sometimes these links are discontinuous and don’t
have concrete purposes. But as they are natural and ancestral they subsist.
We suggest to improve and modernize these links, by giving them new functional
ideas. These secular movements are excellent, because they create an identity and a
reference point to each individual in the rural and urban life which has, nowadays, an
uprooted migratory population. The inter-ajuda becomes a cultural and human vehicle
which can cross barriers and create nuclei with future quality which are responsible for
a real awareness of the involving environment by the individual.
This system, existing in other countries, as proved to be unique and efficient in the
short and long run in anthropological, social and financial levels.
Bearing in mind that in many European countries (in Portugal it is also a reality) the
Social Security System is overloaded and collapsing, it is therefore important to foresee
and prevent such a scenario. Such a deem possibility is the reason why it is so urgent to
re-educate the population, so that in ten years we can avoid social disintegration and
uselessness.
Regarding financing and maintenance it is easy, not bureaucratic and has almost zero
costs.

TO MORE INFORMATION:
EMET- Associação de Solidariedade Social

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
GOALS AND AIMS OF THE PROJECT

♦ AIM OF THE PROJECT: To systematize inter-ajuda at a personal and


communitarian level, in order to give an answer to the real needs of the population,
minimizing external interference.

♦ RELATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS: Volunteering, Government


Institution, associations and local institutions.

♦ TIMING: Eight years

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
ACTUAL SITUATION

This is not an exhaustive and technical study; it is only an illustration of the actual
situation.

DEMOGRAPHY:

- Loss of residents, but not as evident as in the nineties.


- The questions referring childhood and youth are important, bearing in mind that the
North of Portugal represents 42% of the children (from 0 to 14) and 41% of the
youngsters (from 15 to 24) from the total continental area.
- It is foreseen that in 2025 the northern region will be one of the rare European regions
with a level of dependency from the old age under 25%. In spite of this, the region will
certainly follow the aging tendency in Europe, creating a bigger pressure in the Social
Security System.

EDUCATION:

- In spite of the general improvement verified in the educational system, in absolute and
relative terms, it still presents dissatisfactory results:
- Main indicators: pre-school education, failure and early abandon of school, illiteracy
and others, present lower levels to the national average. The scarce offer of professional
qualification mechanisms to the youngsters, makes the average level of professional
formation at the beginning of the labour market very low, and creates situations of
professional disqualification which don’t stimulate new learning and qualification.
- A growing inadaptation between school qualifications and labour markets
opportunities.
- Working population under qualified.
- A strong expansion of higher education at a university level, but in disagreement with
the labour market necessities, thus ending in university failure and unemployment.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
EMPLOYMENT:

- Agriculture is significant for employment (whether as a main source of income or an


extra income).
- Unemployment is characterized by pronounced seasonal variations.
- Workers’ qualifications and skills show values below national averages.
- Low salaries, precarious jobs, spreading of informal activities, models of
workmanship resisting innovation and more qualified workers.
- A strong participation of women in the economic activity: mainly characterized by
their low qualification and low salaries (they usually participate in the traditional
industry or agriculture).

SOCIAL COHESION:

- Three factors, in a synthesized way, have been joined together to limit social cohesion:
1. Low qualification of the population;
2. Low salaries;
3. Inefficiency of the Social System;
- In the most represented aggregates receiving the Minimum Guaranteed Income, we
can see isolated individuals and single-parent families headed by women. In 1998
36.2% of the beneficiaries of the country lived in the North.
- The equipments and programmed social services are still insufficient whether in
covering rates or lending quality and services. Globally, the significant rates of
“Traditional poverty” continue to exist, enlarged with new ways of precariousness
presenting special incidence in the bigger urban concentrations.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES:

- Although there isn’t systematized information about spreading, use and application of
information and communication technologies; in general terms these technologies have
been lately developed, with relevant applications in culture, partnerships and
administrative services and, in this particular case, with the interference of local
autarchies in modernizing their municipal administrations.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
HEALTH:

- In general terms, there are serious deficits regarding health, mainly in maternal and
infant cares, whose indicators are below the national average.
- Health physical resources are short, with 24 health units per 100 thousand inhabitants
in 1997, comparing to the 32 of the national average.
- The number of doctors and nurses per inhabitants is equally below the national
average (respectively 2.5 and 2.9 facing the 3.0 and 3.5 in the country).
- It is necessary to create new ways of management and organization at a local level,
once the distribution of health staff shows significant values, centralized mainly in
urban centres and scarcely in rural areas.
- A large bureaucracy and rigidity in the organization and management of the available
resources.

CULTURE, SPORT AND TOURISM:

- Several lacks in substructures, bad management, which should urgently be surpassed,


in defining the dimension of cultural equipments, bearing in mind the ability of cultural
offer and search, and at a more local level, the valorisation of inter-institutional
partnerships.
- Lack of co-ordination, management and technical formation in animation, audience’s
capitation, promotion and divulgation of activities.
- The main difficulties regarding sport are in the fields of organizing and variating the
offer of sport activities, bringing them closer to the citizen. Bearing in mind sport is one
of the strongest marks in regional and local identity, especially between young people;
this would be a positive measure which would contribute to the creation of jobs to the
youngsters.
- Deficient structure of tourist products and weak level of qualification and competence
of general workers.
- Insufficient valorisation of cultural heritage which can be seen in the precarious
preservation and divulgation of this heritage.
- We have to point out the importance of natural resources existing in the region and the
big development and importance, at a communitarian level, of the contact with nature.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
GENERAL INFORMATION:

- Strong regional disparity: the northern region is the 23rd poorest region of the
European community, although it has been verified a strong effort of convergence,
verified in the rising, since 1986, of nine places in this ranking and in the reduction,
facing the European average, of the PIB per capita (51 in 1986 and 61 in 1996).
- Strong dependence of employment in the administrative sector, weak ability in
establishing youngsters with high education, scarcity of “critical mass” and local firms
capacity, deficient communication between the city and its influenced territory, limiting
its “market” dimension.
- Lack of firms dynamism and innovation with low diffusion and limited accessibility of
information about the main public services supporting local development.
- High preoccupying indicators in the educational area. This fragility comes from
sectoral single-specialization by sub-spaces.
- Means of transportation with low quality and deficient maintenance, creating
difficulties of access which limit investment, poor quality of the services rendered and
weak human mobility in the rural areas.
- All of the above referred factors represent limitative factors to the quality of life and
potentialities of the region.
- In the administrative field there are many distortions, the relations with central
administration are highly bureaucratic, the territorial organisation of the decentralized
services is varied and marked generally by the absence of pattern in the institutional
solutions. This leads to higher difficulties in the enlarging number of problems which
need multisectorial and inter-ministerial approach. Non existence of information,
negotiation of common goals; scarce knowledge and perception of the citizen, the
companies, the associations and even the administration about the organisation of the
State machine.
- The structure of human resources is deficient, where the individual action is valorised
but not in a co-ordinated way, thus making impossible a valid contribution to the
planning processes and formation of external politics.
- Municipal associations with weak structures, scarce resources and a highly level of
dependency from the exterior.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
A NEW OPTION
“INTER-AJUDA”

In the presented indicators Portugal tends to come closer to the patterns of European
development. It is characterized by a unified model of social organisation. However,
Portuguese society presents, in different levels, a deep dysfunction and contradiction.
Tradition and modernity, past and future, aversion for the progress and action,
peripheries and centres (political, economical and cultural).
This unlevelling develops expectations and aspirations in important sectors of
society, creating difficult problems associated to new disparities and professional and
social segregation.
It is necessary to turn to new ways of actions which can complete the empty worlds
left by this social dynamic.
The intervention of solidarity, volunteering and collective consciousness, in a world
of inter-ajuda, ensures the deep values of social cohesion in parallel with economic
development.
In this scene, the inter-ajuda project, presented by EMET-Social Solidarity
Association, finds a reason to exist.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
THE STRATEGY OF THE PROJECT

IDEAS FROM THE PRESENT TO THE FUTURE

To create an integrated system and systematization settled on a data base made


through a direct quiz to the population. There is an example annexed used to obtain real
and actual information of the problems, lacks and communitarian and personal
aspirations of the interested people, as well as the contribution and the positive credits
they can bring to the project. This data base will be updated every year. See phases of
the project.

CHRONOGRAM OF THE PROJECT

FIRST PHASE

WHO WE WANT TO REACH:

Eight villages from the council of Chaves, namely: Santo Estevão, Faiões, Vila
Verde da Raia, Outeiro Seco, Santo António de Monforte, Tronco, Bobeda, Vila Nova
da Veiga and one parish from the city of Chaves (chosen by the council: CMC)

HOW WE DO IT:

The creation of this data base will be done between June and November of 2001, by
volunteers of our association in partnership with the Council of Chaves (CMC), the
parishes and the associations existing in the villages and parish of the city. This is done
according to the protocol between CMC and the associations.
After creating and analysing the data base, according o the existing model in other
countries, through the technique of crossing computing information, it will be created a
volunteered co-ordinated service in the villages and neighbourhoods with the
distribution of information in public areas, post-offices, schools and other places of easy
access. This goal is set on the coordination and centralisation in CMC of all the needed
information which can give to the co-operants inter-ajuda in a personal level, as well to
the social solidarity institutions and traditional associations interested, the ability to
make the necessary articulation to begin the management and structure of the project.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
METHODOLOGY:

Each citizen has a card similar to the Identity Card, with photo, where the place he is
from can be seen. This document is renewed every year. The service is done in the
council and/or parish and the minimum age is usually 6 years old (first grade).
To minimize costs it is advised to convince banks, insurance companies, industries,
etc, known in the region to put their logotype on the back of the card. The information
on the card is: name, address, birth date and the identity number of the inter-ajuda
project and pole the person belongs to.
With the card people can go freely to the public libraries museums, municipal
swimming-pools, cultural events, sport spaces and have discounts in local shops which
have protocols with the council, photocopies and school material, etc.
On the other hand, citizens have obligations which should start very early, by civic
educational reasons. These obligations go from planting trees, cleaning gardens and
streets, painting or arranging damaged things to rendering assistance to the old-aged,
sick people, etc.
Each person brings something to the community. Inter-ajuda is a co-ordinated
service of volunteering nature, centralized in the Council and it’s a contract between the
council and the citizen. The council and the parishes have the duty to distribute useful
information in public areas and other places of easy access.

INTER-AJUDA IN CHAIN:

The inter-ajuda in chain means: I, included in this project, have the obligation to help
somebody, even my own neighbour. This help is unlimited in the number of people I
can help. The helped person has the responsibility to help me in anything or help other
people in an unlimited way.

EXAMPLES:

*My neighbour’s car is broken. During the period his car is being repaired I will give
him a ride to his workplace everyday. This neighbour will shop for another neighbour
who is sick. The sick woman will knit for a fourth person who will sell her work and
earn some money. This money will be used to buy story books to the village school.
The school students will clean a public garden. The parish of this village will take these
students on a free school trip, etc.

*Young people take care of old or sick people for a year, shopping, cleaning the house,
reading them books and helping them in small daily problems. In compensation they
will go to the municipal swimming-pool for free.

*A plumber fixes for free a damaged tap, or something like that, for a person in need
belonging to the project. In return, he and his family have free entry in a cinema.

*A doctor gives a free consultation to a carpenter, and this one promises to fix carpentry
problems in the doctor’s house.
*An English teacher gives free classes to a group of teenagers and these ones will help
her with the garden of her house.

HOW WE CO-ORDINATE THE INTER-AJUDA CONCEPT:

Through a fixed telephone with free calls for the caller. Thus, we are informed by the
users about their needs and their activities to the well functioning of the project.

EXAMPLES:

*Mrs Maria calls, she is number 39 from one of the villages, she has a health problem
and she doesn’t know how to reach the health centre because she doesn’t have any
means of transportation. Through the phone we contact people from the same village or
the nearest one to help the lady going to the doctor.

*Mr Manuel with number 75 from one of the villages informs he’s helping user number
48 with the painting of the house. We confirm this situation and it will be registered on
the data base user number 75 has a favour to receive from the project.

Besides the telephone, we have a van which goes through the villages and parishes on
determined days. The users can reach it to inform about their situation and ask for help.
A third way of auscultation is through cabinets created in the several villages in
collaboration with the parishes and schools and the council of Chaves.
EMET and the Council can co-ordinate this “good will”, systematizing it as
previously said maximizing the better of each one, understanding the real needs of the
population. Implementing this discipline in the process we educate the actual and future
generations to a civic responsibility.

CHRONOGRAM:

Between one to two years to implement the project.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
SECOND PHASE

WHO WE WANT TO REACH:

Besides the eight villages of the first phase we intend to enlarge the project to other
villages until we cover half the villages in the entire Council of Chaves; as well as other
regions of the country.
HOW WE DO IT:

Similar to the first phase but in a more enlarged way.

METHODOLOGY:

The same methodologies used in the first phase bearing in mind the development of
other cabinets and support centres in the country.

INTER-AJUDA IN CHAIN:

Inter-ajuda continues to function the same way described in the first phase.

CHRONOGRAM:

Between two to four years to develop the project.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
THIRD PHASE

WHO WE WANT TO REACH:

The entire Council of Chaves, other regions of the country, depending on the
solicitation. Interchanges with foreign countries, giving priority to the Portuguese
communities, thus bonding the connection to the original region, so that they are moved
to a better integration in the native community
HOW WE DO IT:

Similar to the first and second phases but in a more enlarged way.

METHODOLOGY:

The same methodologies used in the first and second phases bearing in mind the
development of other cabinets and support centres in Portugal and foreign countries.

INTER-AJUDA IN CHAIN:

To apply the rules of the first and second phases, previously described.

HOW WE CO-ORDINATE THE INTER-AJUDA CONCEPT:

Continuing the systematization described in the first and second phases.

CHRONOGRAM:

From four to eight years to automatize the Inter-Ajuda concept and make the
population aware of it, in order to make it integrant part of their structural dynamic.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
DIVULGATION

Bearing in mind this project is atypical and non-existent in Portugal, the excellent
welcome and acceptance from the Council of Chaves, as a pioneer community to the
implantation of this project, justifies our choice and bet in the anthropological study of
Chaves and its Council. Making the energies developed collectively profitable, mainly
in programming and co-ordinating, can always be improved and actualized. To achieve
this aim, we must stimulate and strengthen the Inter-Ajuda in community.
For this, in modern societies, one of the strong cohesion marks is the divulgation
through education ad means of communication (TV, newspapers, radio, magazines and
internet).
We gladly inform that EMET has already been contacted several times by these
organisms since the beginning of our activities. They all showed interest in supporting
us divulgating the Inter-Ajuda project. Without any exception they put at our disposal
their means to stimulate, strengthen and develop the concreteness of this project.
So, the Council of Chaves and EMET have access to this valuable resource.
Once this project is unique in the country and has been presented in several
universities, it will also be interesting to exploit these opportunities. Studies, colloquies,
conferences, etc can be promoted about the integration of Inter-Ajuda in multiple areas,
such as Education, Health, Social Action, Culture, Environment, Economy and others.
We must point out our atypical conception of Inter-Ajuda has been approved by
Social Security.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
METHODOLOGIES

METHODS AND TECHNIQUES

They are already detailed in the different phases of the project.


RESOURCES

PHYSICAL

FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD PHASES:

Vans
Free call telephone lines for support (protocol with PT-Portuguese telecommunications)
Places for logistic support: Council of Chaves, parishes, schools, social security, church
and EMET
(New support places can be created)

HUMAN

FIRST PHASE:

Two people (from the Council of Chaves)


People from the parishes
Population from the villages
Social assistants
Church
EMET volunteers
Associations and Foundations (through protocols)

SECOND PHASE:

Three people (from the Council of Chaves)


People from the parishes
Population from the villages
Social assistants
Church
EMET volunteers
Volunteers from other Associations and Foundations (through protocols)

To other regions of the country:

The same organization used in the Council of Chaves co-ordinated by local organisms.

THIRD PHASE:

Four people (from the Council of Chaves)


People from the parishes
Population from the villages
Social assistants
Church
EMET volunteers
Volunteers from other Associations and Foundations (through protocols)

To other regions of the country:

The same organization used in the Council of Chaves co-ordinated by local organisms.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
BUDGETS

- To the implantation of the project: EMET volunteering and values existing in


the Council of Chaves.
- To the card: we count with the patronage of public and private institutions
(banks, insurances, industries) and regional organisms.
- To the telephone line: patronage of PT.
- To the van: European funds (through ADRAT).

Note: Through the experience existing in other countries, the project and its
maintenance have zero costs, when the existing human and physical resources are used.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
CONCLUSION

We believe this work, developed in co-operation with traditional associations and


other entities, will be the solution to many of the difficult problems we face in cultural
and civic levels and even motivation in a time of unemployment, mass influence and
inhumanity. The possibility of being involved in something common removes
individualism and indifferent egocentrism the population is in. The attachment to what
is built in common creates bases to a new visible and regenerating collective awareness.

“CRIAR NA TERRA OLHANDO O CÉU”


EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
EMET – Associação de Solidariedade Social
Santo Estêvão
5400-750 Chaves
QUIZ FORM

DATA BASE FROM THE INTER-AJUDA PROJECT

Name of the village: Number of the project user:


__________________ _______________________

Name: ________________________________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________ Postcode: ____________
Birth Date: ___________________________
Profession: ___________________________
Contacts: ____________________________

QUIZ

1. What would you like to see improved in your village?


a) Services b) substructures
c) Others. Which ones? __________________________________________
2. Personal needs and lacks.

3. What do you intend to offer to Inter-Ajuda?

4. What do you intend to receive?

5. Would you like to join a theatre, music or sports group?

6. Suggestions and notes of the interviewer.

Date, name and signature of the EMET volunteer who did the quiz.