Artemi Hernández Acosta
Oficina de Innovación Cívica S. Coop
Espacio de Participación Social
Civic Innovation School
Mestura is a Civic Laboratory for the promotion and cohesion of communities in islands and peripheral territories. It is focused on the development of infrastructures and meeting spaces (presential and digital), tools and methodologies that allow a local and situated community to promote and connect its ideas, initiatives or projects, generating social value and positive impact on its territory from proximity, cooperation and collective intelligence (Civic Commons).
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Spain)
Globalization and loss of identity. As an Ultra Peripheral Region (RUP) and island region, investments have been made to balance the territorial isolation that has resulted from a model of mass tourism and urban speculation, neglecting the development of infrastructures for social participation.
Dispersed, diverse and peripheral territory. Island with a population density of 60 inhabitants / km2 that has multiplied its population by its tricontinental condition: administratively European, geographically African and culturally Latin American.
City dynamics in a village context. Model of growth of large cities overshadows the conditions of proximity and natural cohesion of a community context.
How to develop dispersed territories with a logic of proximity?
From 'we all have to participate' to 'we can all participate'. Sometimes the spaces or methodologies of participation are imposed, which makes them exclusive, instead of inviting, they become more of an imposition than an invitation to participate in an inclusive way, thus obviating the particularities of the people and the contexts.
For this reason, as important as it is that people participate in the development of ideas or projects, it is also that they participate in the development of the infrastructures that allow them to participate. In this way, the infrastructure for the common includes the diversity of views that inhabit the local context. Thus, all the tools, methodologies and meeting spaces of our project framework will be developed in an open and participatory manner.
Nearly 50% of the island's population lives in villages of < 1,000 inhabitants and most do not participate, either they do not feel involved or because the processes are focused on the existing associative groups. Thus, without forgetting the support from neighbourhood and cultural associations, we will focus on the participation of non-organised citizens in community development, expanding and strengthening their empowerment. To this end, we will move part of the communication to daily relationship places, such as small commerce or educational facilities, providing new narratives about networked organisational culture or open and distributed management, which build active citizenry with the capacity to transform their territories, giving way to an evolution for new cooperative models.
Through actions of:
Accompaniment and training. Providing tools to the community and offering follow-up to the different local initiatives for their promotion and consolidation: projects-in-residence, seminars on specific topics, etc.
Communication and activation of participation. Documenting and disseminating content and activities of local initiatives: mapping of local initiatives, publications and interviews with the people and initiatives involved, etc.
Connection and promotion. Promoting interaction and exchange of knowledge and resources at a local and global level: online meetings of reflection for the exchange of global-local knowledge, interviews with successful initiatives from other contexts, etc.
Autonomous learning communities. Thematic groups organized, consolidated and operating throughout the territory.
Neighborhood spaces as action nodes. Reference infrastructures that facilitate interaction between people and communities spreaded throughout the territory for the development of proximity initiatives with positive social impact.
Increase in social capital. Measurement of the impact of the realized actions and the evaluation of the intangible value with the Civimetro. It is a tool developed by our team being part of the CivicWise network (https://civimetro.org/).
Mestura Fuerteventura as an island cooperation ecosystem. Common area of support and promotion of projects for the common good, development and community health.
Promotion of free culture so that other communities can use and improve our methodologies, apply our learning in their territories and return that knowledge back to the network.
Territorialization of digital participation. To produce a model in which the digital space is inhabited starting from the presential activities and not the contrary, avoiding disconnections between the communities and the territory.
Active and caring citizenship. To provide citizens with knowledge and resources for the development and strengthening of initiatives for the common good, which help to create resilient, cohesive and mutually supportive communities and to cover the needs of society that the public administration cannot reach.
Improve our local environment. To have the capacity to improve the living conditions of the communities we inhabit.
Periphery as a centre of innovation. It is possible to make big changes in small territories that can be controlled and serve as prototypes to later scale up and apply them in larger territories.
Public-community collaboration for island territories: our societies need to generate public policies that put people at the centre from an active and non-assistentialist logic.
Autonomy for local development. An initiative such as this needs continuity and to be sustainable over time regardless of the support of the public institution.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Work team 34000 EUR (fees of the coordination team for the development of methodologies and contents, mediation and facilitation of communi)
Subcontracting 8000 EUR (guest collaborators, web development, communication...)
Direct costs 6000 EUR (digital infrastructure, materials and supplies, transport, accommodation and subsistence...)
Indirect costs 2000 EUR (other possible expenses that cannot be justified or that are unforeseen by the development of the project.)
Examples of implementation of similar methodologies working in peripheral contexts and/or proximity environments.