Through OpenCori community we are organising a community laboratory on arts and on traditional products to explore the stars on the 9th August 2019.

 

experts on digital financial literacy for the meeting in Valencia

Count to make moments count” – this is the slogan we have chosen for the project SELF-MATE. The project works on financial inclusion and integration of people with fewer opportunities and migrants.

Nowadays, we consider essential to be able to make transfers, to pay electronically, to easily access to home-banking, to use cards, file digital documents. These actions are fundamental to have a simple and normal life, and to exploit the actual opportunities of European Union.

One of the main issues that we have registered is lack of digital education of adult educators – a key point that fails to include migrants or dis-empowered people.

The project wants to

  1. Develop a simple educational framework to combine finance integration and digital skills;
  2. Practical material for educators in digital and financial education;
  3. Practical material for life moments and choice of final users;
  4. An e-learning platform to enhance the educational pattern.

We have just finished the first part of the project! Here you are 🙂

SELFMATE: Theoretical and practical framework of digital financial learning and teaching

 

 

Volunteers collecting medicines for poor people during the national day of solidarity in health access

Disadvantaged groups and in general poorer have hard time in access to health services. One may think that factors are mainly economic, but it is not the case. In most of cases, the lack of access is linked to mistrust in institutions, to social relations and to a poor education level.

Hence, the definition of access relates to a set of conditions that makes it possible. For example: participation to public life, economic status, availability of ad-hoc social services, capillarity of information and role of non-profit actors.

In particular, we see the role of NGOs as fundamental, given the liquidity and flexibility they have to act. Concretely, they can move between institutions and specific user to guarantee the access to health services.

As health definition, we mean also the capacity that the individual has to understand his/her own status to respond to a current situation. In other terms, we can see health service access as a resilience component of the individual

In this sense, NGOs have a great role to facilitate the access of health services in concrete terms, to ensure the wider responsibilities of democratic participation. They can make the difference on raising awareness regarding one’s rights. What is more, NGOs define critical points along different lines, such as gender, engagement of citizens or volunteers for a specific cause.

For the previous reasons, we have promoted an intense two-day work with our volunteers to collect medicines to support who does not have full access to health cure. In a rural village like ours, we have collected almost 250 boxes – a real success of participation. This is part of an action called OpenCori, co-financed by Lazio Region and the Labour Ministry of which Polygonal is coordinating partner.

How have we managed to coordinate NGOs, private sector and public administration? Some suggestions that have also partly been anticipated in another article:

  • Make a group of citizens feel the urgency for action;
  • Coach your volunteers for a common aim – create simple rules and valorise their network and ideas. A good suggestion is to have a read on Levol-app e-learning platform;
  • Share, share, share – talk with the pharmacies, local foundations or any actor working in the health sector;
  • Define the volunteering routine to collect pharmacies and gratify who is supporting you – bring a hot coffee or some delicious doughnuts;
  • Have a rigorous system of tracking the medicines collected;
  • Be transparent – tell people how you are going to use the medicines you are asking for and quantify the overall number of medicines.
  • THANK YOUR VOLUNTEERS!
Volunteers in a pharmacy collecting medicines for dis-empowered groups
volunteers organising a food bank service for marginalised people

Christmas is a special period to volunteer as people have more free time or simply want to experience some real solidarity. It is a way to give back what we have not managed to do during the year and we are all eager to put ourselves engaged in small actions.

However, how to plan what to do? Where can you check where to volunteer?

Some simple steps:

  1. Decide what you really care about and get informed.
  2. Start checking specialised platforms or, usually, big known organisations (Action Aid, Save the Children, Amnesty International and others).
  3. Maybe, you really want something simple that can adjust to your full schedule. In this way, you can probably to consider it as a usual activity also for the rest of the year.
  4. Engage your friends. Being together is more interesting and you can share good memories for the future.
  5. Be open. Remember that your work will support people, organisations and causes, so you can learn a lot of things!
  6. If you do not have really any time left, when you buy presents, support other volunteers preparing the boxes or asking for support. Becoming a volunteer is a matter of attitude.
  7. Consider digital platforms – if you are a graphic designer, or an ICT, a social media manager, you might consider to give some hours to create a leaflet, to support a cause, or to code some bits. This is called ‘digital volunteering‘. Not bad, uh?

From our side, we have contributed to the Food Bank work, together with the Civil Protection body.

volunteers organising food bank service for marginalised groups
cartoon showing ironically that the first aid line has been closed

Many times NGOs and people wonder how to get people to participate in public life. In particular, our last great effort was to create the momentum to ask for a political change in terms of public health in our Region.

How have we reached this great people’s participation result?

As we also mentioned in one of our last articles, we have created a short nice story of participation in last months, starting from a first group of people and then making the snowball roll. From elders, we then engaged adults and then finally young people. Such a result has been possible only thanks to the commitment and contagious energy that people have felt.

Some concrete steps to raise engagement among people:

  1. Make people feel the urgency about their action. They have to understand that they have limited time for input. In this way, people can adjust their contributions and gather. For this reason, we have created a coordination committee of citizens. Basically, it involved all those people who were genuinely interested in participating and have a say.
  2. Link participation to needs that are considered relevant. In fact, we have to stick to the present situation and help people to read their current situation.
  3. Work with different target groups creating more call to actions. Indeed, it is important to adjust call for actions with reference to different perceptions of the same problem.
  4. Use as many media and social media as possible (newsletters, social media, TV, radio, meet-ups, press releases).
  5. Rely also on physical presence – be in the streets, talk with people face to face. In this way, you can defeat online haters.

 

 

manifesto of civic activism concert

There has been a long process of discussion and of meet-ups among local people in our community about the standards of healthcare and how to block the community hospital closure. We are organising an explosive event to raise awareness among young people, so we have decided to involve them in a creative way. There will a concert marathon at 9pm on the 24th November 2018. On that event will be raising funds also to support the local civic committee of citizens for further democratic initiatives.

focus group digital volunteers

Why do you need volunteers to go digital? This is a question that many associations have asked to us and we think there is an answer to give.

Volunteers are not just local force for local causes. In fact, they should act globally developing skills and competencies relevant for nowadays world. As such, volunteering is an essential step to be part of society. In this way, digital does not only mean to be connected via social networks and tell out loud what your organisation is doing. It also means to use technologies to create a clear shift toward the ‘making‘ approach.

What is more, volunteers are not just consumers of experiences, but they are rather experience makers. For this reason, we have supported a special Erasmus plus project called “Raise Volunteers in Tech” or #Raivotech. The project focuses on the creation of high quality training material about digital volunteers and youth workers. In this sense, an important figure has emerged: the digital youth worker. As figure, he/she is able to combine different human dimensions, virtual and offline.

A great tool is the Raivotech platform for digital volunteers based on innovative and very practical training material that can be a good chance to have a certificated experience.

Coding for kids has never been so easy and funny. This is because our organisation has created a free game for coding robot-less for young people. To play it, you need only to download it and print it.

In this way, kids will learn how to code and correctly use strategies. As a teacher or educator or parent, you can integrate it to different educational needs, like primary literacy, mathematics, general culture. Plus, it can be used to support integration between kids/teenagers of different backgrounds.

Polygonal has adapted a game from CodeMooc.org to support educators in bringing coding in their classes and workshop at low price, without needing actual robots. In fact, the main concepts revolves around the concept of unplugged coding.

You can download the free coding game on the e-learning platform!