Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo ABD (Welfare and Development Association) welcomed other organizations from the European project ‘Social Economy for Care’ to Barcelona for three days. The initiative was originally born in Belgium and ABD has been an integral collaborating entity throughout.
The project focuses specifically on the re-evaluation of skills and competencies to find enough professionals to serve the healthcare sector in the upcoming years. Despite having a European impact area, ‘Social Economy for Care’ is financed by the government of Belgium. This meeting involved entities from Poland and Italy, which, together with ABD in Spain, are a part of the research group.
The project was born from the Flanders’ labour shortage, which has intensified due to demographic factors. Because of the aging population, there is a growing concern to find enough candidates to replace older employees. This is why we came together to discuss innovative work solutions that allow unskilled, unemployed people or people with criminal records or migrants to enter the healthcare field. ‘Social Economy for Care’ is the result of collaboration with the social economy sector, and examines manual work or soft-skills, in order to assess skills and competencies beyond formal education.
The Barcelona reception gave the various organizations involved in this project the chance to exchange ideas and experiences. The main objective was to share proposals for home or residential care to aid in the preparation of future proposals, but also to share effective practices, the principles of care in the participant´s countries, and how they affect the labor market. It included three days of visits to different services and programs developed by ABD.
“We boost collective strategies to tackle individual problems”
The visit began at the headquarters of ABD on Quevedo Street with a general presentation of the organization by the general manager, Àngels Guiteras; the technician manager, Monica Planas; and the president, Felisa Pérez. Guiteras explained the main objectives of the association, as well as the challenges that ABD faces. “We are a small observatory. We innovate in social measures, in quality. For example, in the area of health and care, we are working with a technological counterpart. We are beginning to test a screen to help the elderly,” he explained. He also emphasized the importance of workers in ABD’s day-to-day life, “they are the ones who make this possible.”
The other two days, participants attended presentations of the housing project which services the elderly, where they learned how the Sociosanitaria Operative Unit works. They also had the opportunity to see the work of the Energy Agents, as well as the work that is done in the Baluard Room.
During Wednesday, the visit concluded with a presentation of the Intercultural Mediators project, as well as the Active Community, Preinfant and Energy Control programs at the ABD facilities at 384 Independencia Street. The coordinator of the mediation program Jorge Pellicer explained that the City Council “recommends employing self-employed workers in risk of social exclusion”, in order to have a double social impact.
About the Energy Control program which seeks to reduce the damage of drugs, Anna Menezes said that the final objective is to give useful information to users and to alert them about what is in the substances they want to consume. “It is not a prohibitionist stance, but has an informative function so that the person can choose freely.”
The trip lasted three days, and the entities which are participating in the project are Landsbond der Christelijke Mutualiteiten, IN-Z, CM Midden-Vlaanderen, and CM Limburg, from Belgium; ABD, from Spain; Societá Cooperativa Social “Insieme Si Puó”, from Italy; and Stowarzyszenie Wzajemnej Pomoocy “Flandria”, from Poland.