Llar Casa Bloc, Social Housing and Support for Empowering Individuals in Vulnerable Situations

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Llar Casa Bloc, Social Housing and Support for Empowering Individuals in Vulnerable Situations

Hàbitat3 

Imatge d'una resident dels habitatges socials de Llar Casa Bloc a l'entrada de l'edifici.

Project for the Promotion and subsequent management of 17 inclusive social housing units (social rent with support for individuals), jointly managed with Third Sector social organizations.

Access to housing is a fundamental element in ensuring the dignity of individuals and enabling their development. Nevertheless, many members of the community are living in insecure or inadequate housing conditions, or find themselves homeless or facing eviction, making them highly vulnerable. These circumstances not only directly impact their quality of life but also hinder their ability to secure employment, education, and social integration.

Llar Casa Bloc aims to address these challenges and provide a robust response for individuals in vulnerable situations. In the first phase, which began in 2020, the project, led by Hàbitat 3, initiated the rehabilitation of the renowned social housing complex Casa Bloc, designed by the pioneering architects of GATPAC in the 30s. In the second phase, ongoing since 2021, the 17 social housing units have been allocated to individuals in situations of high vulnerability, who are supported by specialized social support teams from various organizations, ensuring a proper process of social inclusion.

Currently, around forty individuals with diverse circumstances and needs reside in Llar Casa Bloc, including people evicted and referred by the Emergency Services Table of the Barcelona City Council, women who have experienced situations of gender-based violence, individuals with mental health issues or intellectual disabilities, and those with physical disabilities. All of them pay rent according to their income level and are supported by the respective organizations.

Furthermore, the building features technological measures to ensure a reduction in the digital divide and energy empowerment, such as WiFi installation and digitalized energy monitoring systems to supervise the comfort level of the 17 social housing units.

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By My Side, an app that offers support to drug-dependent women

Publications Bank of innovations

By My Side, an app that offers support to drug-dependent women

Simon Community Scotland, AND Digital

Application that offers support, advice and resources to women who consume drugs to facilitate access to information and proper decision making to improve their health and well-being.

drug addiction treatment

In order to address the misinformation and harms of drug use among women, which often leads to death, and in conjunction with technology consultancy AND Digital, who have volunteered their digital knowledge and expertise, Simon Community Scotland (SCS) has created By My Side. This app provides evidence-based harm reduction advice that is easily accessible to people who use the charity’s services.

It is designed by women for women. While primarily focused on advice on preventing drug-related harm, the app also has wider resources, such as guidance and guidelines on issues and mental health management and support for people affected by domestic or sexual violence. Thus, the app allows the most relevant advice and resources to be accessible and available to women without ever having to approach a service if they do not want it. The By My Side app enables them to access high quality information and make informed decisions about their health, wellbeing and safety.

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Cut All Ties, a digital project for the reduction of male violence in adolescents and young people

Publications Bank of innovations

Cut All Ties, a digital project for the reduction of male violence in adolescents and young people

REC Programme, ABD (Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament), Fondazione Acra, Citibeats

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A training and education programme based on new technologies that contributes to reducing gender violence that women suffer in their youth, and specifically in their first sexual relations.

Given the alarming data on gender violence that women suffer from an early age, the Cut All Ties project aims to contribute to raising awareness, preventing and reducing male violence –sexual, physical, emotional or psychological– in the first sexual relationships between young people. The ultimate goal is to bring about changes in social norms and behaviour in the people who make up this group. The project will be carried out between January 2021 and January 2023 and is aimed at students aged between 15 and 17 and teachers from 6 secondary schools in Barcelona, Madrid and Milan, a total of 120 young people and 120 teachers.

The project has been mainly based on data extracted thanks to new technologies, as it has been implemented through the design, implementation and validation of a training programme that has allowed the participants to reflect and learn in order to identify and prevent gender violence in their first affective sexual relationships. Thus, in order to identify the issues and problems most present among this group, as well as the causes, prevalence and consequences of gender violence, 200,000 anonymous data have been collected through a transnational Artificial Intelligence text analysis platform.

Specifically, Citibeats’ algorithm, which analyses unstructured text data, identifies social trends, gender-based violence narratives and common concerns across countries. This information, as well as that extracted from the anonymous Typeform survey, has been key to developing the training programme which, in secondary schools, has emphasized good practices and tools to prevent gender-based violence. These actions have been led by groups of young feminists, close to the students.

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Persianes amb ànima, an art project that empowers women and neighbourhoods

Publications Bank of innovations

Persianes amb ànima, an art project that empowers women and neighbourhoods

Grup Atra

A community project of artistic creation that promotes social and laboral inclusion for women who are vulnerable or at risk of social exclusion. It is a transformative project, based on urban art as an engine of change and social awareness, which builds community and allows the discovery and modification of the environment.

Persianes amb ànima –in English, shutters with a soul– is based on a series of workshops on the restoration, design and painting of shutters taught by professional illustrators and muralists. The project covers the whole process: after an initial theoretical and practical part to introduce participants to the artistic discipline, they carry out a final practice on the shutters of shops in the neighbourhood. Apart from being a collective learning space, one of the objectives of the project is to create safe and comfortable spaces for the participants. In this way, Persianes amb ànims aims for art to be, apart from a distraction, a source of increased security and self-confidence.

During the implementation, an important part of the project is the participatory process that takes place between artists, students and the people in charge of the shops. It is in collaboration with the neighbourhood and the neighbourhood associations that the shutters to be rehabilitated are selected. Once they have been chosen, the task is to jointly decide on the messages that the shutters will communicate, understood and used as a loudspeaker to educate and raise awareness about equality, social inclusion, feminism and sustainability. Also during this process, the stories of the neighbourhood’s small businesses are discovered –which allows neighbourhood ties to be forged– and these stories are then captured in the drawings on the shutters. Thus, Persianes amb ànima highlights the potential of art as a tool for social inclusion and a space for female empowerment, capable of making visible what is not visible.

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Concilia, a public service to support the reconciliation of work, family and personal life for people with limited resources

Publications Bank of innovations

Concilia, a public service to support the reconciliation of work, family and personal life for people with limited resources

Barcelona City Council

Free municipal babysitting service for single-parent families with few resources, women victims of gender violence and families with no community network, so that they can combine the care and education of children with work, family and personal obligations.



This service is currently extended to 12 neighborhoods in the city of Barcelona, and operates 7 days a week outside school hours. It has teams of educators, who can work with a maximum of 8 children, and are in charge of attending families, as well as programming and dynamizing the activities that are carried out. This public service can be requested from 2 weeks in advance up to 12 hours in advance, with the exception of emergency cases in which it can be requested up to 30 minutes in advance.


The service works with 2 main objectives: on the one hand, it is a support to the work and personal balance of families with difficulties, which facilitates the training of mothers and fathers, their incorporation into the working world, their involvement in the neighborhood, and even being able to enjoy occasional moments of rest. On the other hand, it is also aimed at offering children quality leisure time, with activities and pedagogical dynamics adapted to different ages and needs.

Children between 1 and 12 years old can enjoy the service on an occasional or more regular basis, and basic, ludicosocial and educational attention is guaranteed through values such as participation, environmental and emotional education, interculturality and art.


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VioGén, comprehensive monitoring system for cases of male violence against women

Publications Bank of innovations

VioGén, comprehensive monitoring system for cases of male violence against women

Ministry of Home Affairs

Image from El País.

Big data system for the comprehensive monitoring of cases of gender-based violence that brings together and coordinates the different public institutions in Spain with competencies in the area of gender-based violence. In this way, the system integrates all the information of interest deemed necessary to be able to assess the existing risk and, depending on the danger involved in each case, the monitoring and protection mechanisms best suited to the needs of each victim are activated.

VioGén provides women victims of male violence with a “Personalized Safety Plan”, with self-protection measures. Likewise, preventive work is carried out by issuing “Automated Notifications” when an incident is detected that could endanger the integrity of the victim.

The aim of all this is to establish a network that allows for better monitoring and protection of the victims, in a rapid, comprehensive and effective manner, whether they are battered women or minors who depend on them.

VioGén

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Audivers 360º, immersive reality speech therapy for individuals with hearing impairment

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Apptu@, an app that helps break isolation and alleviate stigma in mental health

Publications Bank of innovations

Apptu@, an app that helps break isolation and alleviate stigma in mental health

Grup ATRA

Image from the Grup ATRA website.

Innovative, interactive and close mobile app that allows for more continuous, close and close contact between users, professionals and volunteers of three mental health programs: Actua, Actua Jove and Actua Dona. This app also aims to raise public awareness about the collective suffering from mental health problems, while providing information that may be of interest to all citizens.

The three programmes included in Apptu@ are community-based, integrative and care-focused that provide support for life in a self-employed capacity for people with issues resulting from mental disorder, as well as women who have also suffered or suffer from male violence in parallel. With Apptu@, social contact between beneficiary and voluntary persons is enhanced.

The application is divided into two parts: one public and one private. Within the public, which is destined for any individual in society – such as people from the mental health collective, health professionals and the social sector, people interested in volunteering, relatives, students, young people, collaborating administrations, etc. – you can know the Actua programmes, as well as the different services and resources that form the Grup ATRA. It also attempts to promote inclusive volunteering and networking. But basically, the app aims to give visibility to the people of the mental health collective, as this helps to break stereotypes and alleviate stigma.

As far as the private part is concerned, Apptu@ allows one to work agreements and goals individually with the users of the program, following them more directly and continuously over time and making them participants of the common project that is Actua.

Apptu@

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Be Girl, project against menstrual poverty, and the stigma and taboos it entails

Publications Bank of innovations

Be Girl, project against menstrual poverty, and the stigma and taboos it entails

Be Girl and Plan Internacional

Colombian girls with their Smart Cycle. Retrieved from the website of Be Girl.

Project to combat menstrual poverty, as well as the stigma and the taboos it entails. It consists of an offer of reusable and affordable menstrual products, training workshops and a pendant that helps to monitor the menstrual cycle itself.

Be Girl products consist of reusable menstrual products, such as panties or cloth pads, made of waterproof and absorbing materials that prevent loss and allow for affordable and safe menstruation, both for the environment and for users. They have a useful life of two years, avoiding waste from traditional pads and tampons, as well as being safer, hygienic and more economic in the long term. Its design is comfortable, beautiful, and efficient to respond to the needs of people who menstruate.

The project also offers menstrual cycle knowledge workshops, which include the use of Smart Cycle, a tool that allows one to know the menstrual cycle and its different parts (menstruation, ovulation, maximum fertility day, etc.). It is a pendant that helps track the menstrual cycle and better understand one’s body. These workshops are intended for both girls and boys, to show menstruation as a natural and free of stigmas. They are performed in schools and leisure sites, to make them safer and freer from menstrual taboos.

Be Girl products can also be purchased online, and with the benefits of the sales, the impulsive organizations fund the free distribution of products to girls with few resources.

Be Girl

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Audivers 360º, immersive reality speech therapy for individuals with hearing impairment

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Raaji, chatbot to inform and empower girls and women

Publications Bank of innovations

Raaji, chatbot to inform and empower girls and women

Aurat Raaj

Girls using the chat-bot Raaji. Retrieved from Aurat Raaj’s website.

Chat-bot that informs girls and women about gender issues and helps them empower and defend their rights. It uses a virtual character, Raaji, which is able to answer questions and have a conversation through artificial intelligence algorithms. It provides information on issues considered taboo which are of great importance to female empowerment, such as issues of reproductive health, security or economic autonomy. In addition, a team of professionals detects if there are cases that require professional intervention and are derived from them to the most appropriate services.

The Pakistani organization that has developed it, Aurat Raaj, also collaborates with schools and social organizations to make workshops and activities to empower women and girls, and to try to break some stigma surrounding topics such as menstrual hygiene. To further expand this task, they have created an animated series where the main character, Raaji, passes through different situations considered taboo but which are part of the day-to-day life of many girls. In this way, girls see themselves in a character that they identify with, who normalizes and overcomes these situations, encouraging them to take the initiative through activities such as training courses, personal defence, etc.

Chat-bot is a versatile tool available in English and Urdu, and has also been adapted to Covid-19 to provide reliable information about the disease for girls and boys, in an easy way. Raaji is a sample of how technology can help expand and take the work of social organisations further, creating a tool that is easy to access and which allows the easy and private reporting of issues of great importance and on which there are taboos or misinformation.

Aurat Raaj

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