Professionals, politicians and scholars from different areas, points of view and ideological backgrounds have detected alarming new trends in societies today: people who are excluded or at risk of being excluded from fulfilling their life projects and means of sustenance, from the job market and housing, people who are frequently condemned to resign themselves to their fates (or so depicted) or those forced to make individual efforts (and not collective) to attempt to change their situation. Some warning signs may include the growing disengagement from politics and a profound mistrust of politicians and democratic institutions amongst younger generations.
However, in clear contrast to this pessimistic panorama, we also see a significant number of innovative initiatives to combat this “structural violence”, advocating dignity, fighting to create more inclusive institutions and building a better world in which to live. The manifestation of all these initiatives can be found in some social movements and groups that have emerged in recent years. The aim of the IIS is to study, give greater visibility to and contribute to the design, reflection on and development of different initiatives from all sectors of society (public, private, social and “intermediate”) to propose political, economic and social alternatives to situations (or the risk) of deprivation, unemployment, underemployment and exclusion.
We have prioritised four key areas:
Housing (for those already excluded or at risk of exclusion –vulnerable groups, people with physical and mental disabilities, the elderly)
Work and employment, new types of precariousness, new types of employment (including, for example, digital platforms and collaborative jobs)
Health and nutrition
SCALA Project (Scale-up of Prevention and Management of Alcohol Use Disorders and Co-morbid Depression in Latin America)
Alcohol and alcoholism can lead to a wide variety of ailments and other problems. Addressing the individual and social harm caused by consuming alcohol in excess and all the disorders the latter provokes is a public-health priority. This is especially the case in Latin America.
Problems associated to alcohol consumption have high co-morbidity with mental disorders. More than 40% of those suffering from alcohol-related problems in primary healthcare units also suffer from depression, the most common type of mental disorder.
Expanding the solution: Alcoholism prevention and management programmes in healthcare centres have demonstrated to be clinically effective and beneficial. However, their acceptance and day-to-day application are scarce, with only modest benefits and extremely short-term focuses. WHO studies indicate that these results could be improved by including primary healthcare activities within broader community-based municipal assistance programmes and training all healthcare providers.
Based on this hypothesis, SCALA has launched an 18-month trial in Latin America to compare standard practices to more personalised primary healthcare and a short municipal intervention programme providing ongoing assistance.
> Implement tailor-made intervention packages to improve prevention, early detection and consulting in cases of alcoholism and co-morbid depression in Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
> Examine if this greater incorporation of tailor-made packages improves check-up results, in general, and that of short intervention programmes in cities within medium-income countries.
> Identify the obstacles and the elements that favour expanding and documenting resource needs for economic analyses.
> Define a validated strategy and expansion framework, bearing in mind issues such as stigmatisation and equality to be able to optimally scale up SCALA’s tailor-made packages and implement them around the world.
With support from the European Commission (H2020), project currently underway
IT and socio-economic inclusion in Latin America
Information technologies and internet, in particular, can be used positively to improve the quality of life of the most impoverished and support their social integration. On the one hand, they can help improve those communities’ access to minimum services such as healthcare, education, business, administration, etc. On the other, they can also make it increasingly easier to access information, especially through mobile technology. We have published a related study, called TIC, desarrollo y negocios inclusivos (“IT, development and inclusive businesses”).
With support from Fundación Telefónica, 2012-2013 academic year