What if you had the right to more and better life but didn’t know it? Anne Charpy concluded that many people experience this situation without being aware of it. That is why in 2011 he created the non-profit association in France Voisins malins (Smart neighbors, in Spanish) the result of decades of experience in revitalizing popular neighborhoods in Chile and also in France.
His association aims to mobilize citizens of disadvantaged neighborhoods to understand the projects and services that concern them, so that they can contribute to them and access the opportunities that are offered to them. In other words, Voisins Malins seeks to improve people’s quality of life as well as coexistence in French neighborhoods and cities.
And all this through a personal relationship, one to one, since a member of the association visits each of the families in the neighborhood in their own home. Today Voisins malins It is present in 18 French cities and has reached more than 250,000 people through its door-to-door campaigns.
The initiative crossed the Pyrenees in 2016 and settled in our parts. The CONFAVC (Confederation of Neighborhood Associations of Catalonia) has imported the project to implement it in 15 neighborhoods in Catalonia. Here it has been baptized as A-porta and its motto is “empowering the neighborhood neighborhood by neighborhood and door to door.”
The neighbors in charge of visiting others are called the “doorknobs.” They are trained, hired and coordinated to advise their neighbors according to the needs detected, which can be very varied: health issues, coexistence, labor insertion, social rights, protection and social welfare of children, loneliness of the elderly, social isolation , waste management, among others.
On average each team member, each latch, visits about 40 homes a month and conducts about 10 interviews of about 40 minutes on average. With this initiative the doorknobs they arrive where administrations and social services cannot reach: at the door of each neighbor’s house.
Initially, the project was launched in the Ciudad Meridiana neighborhood of Barcelona with a clear objective: to reduce energy poverty in the neighborhood. Later, the project was implemented in two more neighborhoods in the north: Torre Baró and Vallbona.
In 2020, and despite the health crisis, A-porta It was deployed in six neighborhoods in Catalonia: the three already mentioned in Barcelona and also in Can Mariner (Santa Coloma de Gramanet), Can Puiggener (Sabadell) and Rocafonda (Mataró). Today the doorknobs They have already reached up to 15 neighborhoods in Catalonia and reached more than 14,400 people.