In order to learn about the progress of the pilot project —implemented by Instituto Forestal (INFOR) as part of the Innova FOSIS program of the Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social (FOSIS, by its Spanish acronym)— the Regional Secretary of the Social Development and Family Ministry in Los Ríos Region, Ann Hunter, and the regional director of FOSIS, Marcela Mitre, met the manager of INFOR Los Ríos, Alejandra Schueftan. The purpose of the meeting was to get involved in the stages of the initiative that aims to improve the habitability conditions of the houses of the underprivileged families living in the neighborhoods of Altos de Mahuiza and Brisas de Guacamayo (in Valdivia).
“We believe that this intervention project —that will improve the habitability of 10 houses of the neighborhood— enables to have a better life quality, to potentially reduce the expenses of houses, and to empower community and local leaders”, expressed Ann Hunter.
Accordingly, the head of the portfolio in Los Ríos also emphasized that “this project allows the integration of the public and private sector with the civil society regarding innovative solutions along with social challenges and the support to the most vulnerable families in the interest of the improvement of their houses.”
The project —selected in the 2020 Innova FOSIS national contest and being currently implemented-—has a total budget of CLP 50 million for its implementation.
The FOSIS regional director, Marcela Mitre, pointed out the development of the pilot initiative. “Innova FOSIS is a piloting program of our government which in 2020 called on the civil society, the private sector, and the academia to propose innovative solutions aimed at finding new alternatives to the challenges we face today as a society, especially in terms of poverty and social vulnerability. It has been a great challenge, particularly due to its implementation during the pandemic, but we are all very pleased with the work that INFOR and the families are doing”, she said.
In its 2020 version, Innova FOSIS offered three areas of intervention: sales of subsistence entrepreneurship, female caregivers, and hot water and heating. Out of the 115 nationwide projects that were considered suitable, five belonged to Los Ríos Region (three belonging to the female caregivers area and two belonging to the hot water and heating area), and, finally, INFOR proposal was selected as the winner.
“The project entails training families from two neighborhoods in Valdivia in simple, low- cost structural techniques to improve the thermal insulation of their houses. The stages of socialization and selection of participants, and training workshops on technical aspects of energy efficiency and heating have been implemented so far. They also have a strong focus on activities aimed at identifying and empowering local leaders. Thirty-four families from both neighborhoods participated in these activities”, claimed the manager of INFOR Los Ríos.
“At this point, we are starting to implement structural improvements in 10 houses where the roof insulation and doors-and-windows sealants will be modified. Finally, we will finish with the monitoring and diffusion stage, where participatory meetings will be organized in the communities to divulge the project and its results, and thus, foster initiatives that come
from the community”, she added.
The pilot program considers the active participation of the neighbors and the co-creation of learning, in which the community leaders play a key role in spreading knowledge, promoting initiatives, and fostering self management in their neighborhoods.
The 2021 Innova FOSIS call will close next Monday, February 22.