Democracy, demography and human rights? – TriploD, the new Cáritas Coimbra’s project

TriploD (Democracy, Demography and Human Rights) is the name of the new project of Cáritas Coimbra, which will be implemented, having as partners the European Centre for Women and Technology (Norway), Instituto Europeu de Ciências da Cultura Padre Manuel Antunes and Agrupamento de Escolas da Lousã.

This project is co-financed by the PROGRAMA CIDADÃOS ATIV@S / ACTIVE CITIZENS FUND (under the Active Citizens Fund / EEA Grants, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), which is managed in Portugal by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Bissaya Barreto Foundation.

TriploD project aims to increase the democratic involvement and political participation of citizens by working on the connections between democracy, demography and human rights. For that purpose, it will develop education/training sessions and school and community discussion groups, seeking to empower and educate professionals, community workers, children and young people, vulnerable people and seniors, helping them to analyse and discuss policies and propose recommendations for improving democratic dynamics at local level.

The problematic of this project falls into three points: the increasing ageing of the population; participation in decision-making by young people, seniors and vulnerable population in more healthier, inclusive and democratic practices; and in the development of inclusive environments that consider the ageing trajectories of individuals. Only with a participatory and longitudinal approach, we can deliver an intervention that meets the goals of friendly environments for all ages.

In the last years, Cáritas Coimbra performed intensively the implementation of these themes in its area of activity and the TriploD project would consolidate a process that should be autonomous and exclusive in order to seek more effective results on the population, also making them promoters and agents of change and political decision.

The project is based on three main components connected together:  mediated workshops, network promotion and communication. It is through this framework that an enabling environment for engagement is generated. It has four major actions:

  • Educate and sensitize children, youth, community groups, educators and teachers, with a view to promoting personal skills that facilitate positive development and enabling environments for democratic participation and active citizenship. This is a journey that begins in kindergarten and culminates with older people, covering the different contexts, ages and relationship structures;
  • Promote the dissemination of friendly environments through a program of cultural events and outreach campaigns with extensive direct public participation, thus internalizing and appropriating the theme in a more internalized and in-depth way. This methodology aims to transform all participants into awareness vehicles within their personal circles, multiplying the recipients of actions and facilitating the penetration of awareness in different social environments;
  • Maximize the use of the institutional network of partners and the close relationship of Cáritas Coimbra with local, regional and national media and local authorities to create a community network for dissemination and participation;
  • Promote the replication of actions and resources, as well as the sharing of good practices through the creation of a project website, where all the formative content and pedagogical resources used in the project are available. In addition, the specialized training of the project team and the technicians working with these attendees will make the institutional response more developed and structured and, of course, improve regional intervention in this area.

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