The Approach

Messina is a typical southern urban area that has been living for years below the poverty trap threshold: people tend to get trapped by their need to survive and may consequently not have the courage to ask for changes and/or act for them. Disillusionment distorts the imagination, the construction of desires and slows down positive behaviours aimed at exiting the condition of poverty and deprivation.

Local communities and territories seem to follow chaotic dynamics, in scientific terms, similar to those of other complex systems in nature. In this context, a given fluctuation in the system might trigger a different course in the history of local communities and it might modify apparently unavoidable negative trends. The Me.S.S.In.A. Foundation aims at being the game-changer, by activating systemic, long-lasting initiatives in target local communities, capable of generating that trigger event. Such initiatives, then, should represent a cornerstone of a different territorial development.

The Foundation achieves its goal by implementing Amartya Sen’s “Capability Approach”: on the one side it runs programmes capable of generating for target materially and culturally disadvantaged beneficiaries alternative solutions, focusing on the housing, income and work, sociality and knowledge dimensions, and on the other side, the Foundation provides personalized social support services to facilitate beneficiaries, coming from a deprived material and cultural background, in understanding, giving value and seizing such new alternatives, allowing them to choose the most functional one for their well-being.

This approach is therefore based on the co-design of the solution with the beneficiaries through an empowering process.

Given the irreducible complexity and multidimensionality of poverty and inequality of the local context, the policies to combat such issues must necessarily be complex and must involve structural actions. Having this in mind, the Foundation and the Advanced Social Cluster work creating fruitful interconnections between the welfare, cultural, industrial, research and technology sectors.

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