Building cooperation among the residents of the settlement

The different manual clubs and circles offer excellent opportunities for the people living in deep poverty and their better-off partners to act together and, in the meantime, get closer to each other. If the club leaders pay attention to assure that on these occasions the people present, in addition to handicraft activities, talk to each other about something else and, from time to time, raise issues that lead to common planning and actions, changes can be achieved. One of the characteristics of inclusion is that the activities have a common foundation; everybody, including people living in deep poverty, takes part in the actions on equal basis as equal partners and it applies to both work performance and the search and acquisition of resources.

Prejudice is deeply rooted in the local communities. People become friends with similar people, go to the same company with them, and those who belong to different social groups do not really mix up with each other. In the majority of the settlements, solidarity is missing and it is characteristic of not only the local level but the social level as well, since exclusion and thinking in stereotypes has been present since decades and not even the society in the wider sense supports the termination of this situation.

The method to develop social solidarity and eliminate stereotypes and seclusion is to establish communication among the persons and the different groups. Since the root-cause of resistance and different negative presumptions is that people do not know each other, they only have ideas about what the other might be like, but they do not have actual experiences, because they do not talk to each other. Launching communication is never easy, but in this case, when we talk about people living in deep poverty and not simply in poverty, it is even more difficult. People will not go to the meetings or community talks if they only receive a letter of invitation. In order to make these meetings a success, we have to reach the opinion-leaders of the different groups. After mapping the local society and the different groups of the settlement, the next task is to find, identify the opinion-leaders of these groups and involve them into the organisation. Later on, these opinion-leaders will mobilise the different groups under the guidance of the community developer, if needed. The key persons meet regularly, and coordinate and always act according to the agreement made at the meetings.

We can initiate cooperation between those living in deep poverty and non-deep poverty in the settlements so that in the beginning the community developer works separately with the two social groups. These separate community discussions give good opportunity to prepare the groups for the joint meeting, common thinking and joint work. The experts have to pay great attention to avoid strengthening of the contradictions and seclusion during the community discussions in the two separate groups but – instead – to prepare the participants for cooperation.
This article based on the following document: Esélyegyenlőségi módszertani útmutató