Pino’s speech for meeting 05-02-2021 at 21.00 Facebook
Where are we with the Sololo Project? We are in constant and continuous evolution … with the anxiety of not being able to do it anymore.
The Sololo Project, what is it today? An effective factory of poverty.
The project was born about 17 years ago, in a socio-economic context that aroused much concern among the elderly community leaders. In fact, AIDS was not treatable and, for the first time in its history, the community feared the disintegration of traditional families and the birth of the phenomenon of child abandonment. The subsequent advent of antiretroviral drugs and the solidity of social networks have demonstrated over time that they have withstood the threat; for the minors most at risk and for the poorest families in the context, the Sololo Project represented and still represents a certainty in terms of support for the most vulnerable children.
In the last 10 years the Sololo Project, thanks to the volunteers, has developed a very punctual and accurate monitoring system, which allows on-site operators and volunteers in Italy to always have their pulse on the conditions of the individual minors who receive the ‘intervention.
Net of the analysis of years of data gained from the Project, today we have fundamental information that explains the impact of the Sololo Project: the project, pass me the irony, is an effective “factory of poverty!”.
This awareness is in my opinion fundamental in order to grasp the real value of the approach that we have been promoting for so many years, and why it is worth continuing to promote it.
The project is an effective “poverty factory” … Difficult to explain, but I try.
To be able to explain, we must remind you that 83% of the population in the Sololo area is poor. And that the Sololo Project is not aimed at these people. In a context of such widespread poverty (boys, 83% !!), it is in fact necessary to look at the condition of the “poor” and become aware that on the periphery of poverty we find the “extreme poor”.
Among the Borana community of Sololo, the social network allows the poor to survive and eventually to transit in socio-economic conditions of greater comfort. The “extreme poor” are those for whom the Borana social network is unable to be decisive, because their needs cannot be satisfied by the charity and support of a “network of poor”.
The Sololo Project is demonstrating that by maintaining the link between this extremely poor population group and the rest of the poor population, the extreme poor adhere to the redemption opportunity represented by the Project. In the medium term from 5 to 7 years, the extreme poor change their social position, and become poor!
I try to explain myself with an example:
If I pay the schools for a child who is in conditions of “extreme poverty”, with the money saved in a year, his guardian buys a goat that returns milk to the family. One goat in one year. A nothing.
The project has shown that by paying the schools continuously for a period of 5-7 years, the guardian has the time to build a modest wealth, which is what his family needs to transition from “extremely poor” to “poor”. In this sense, the project generates poor people!
If the project paid the school for just one year, in the following year the guardian would almost certainly sell the goat because he would have to pay the schools with his own resources, remaining stuck in the extreme poverty bracket.
The ongoing support together with the observation of the family over time are therefore crucial aspects, without which the impact of the project is less.
The Sololo Project guarantees continuity of support to the extent of the minimum that is necessary for the single family. They range from the “House kit”, to the “Minor kit”, new house or renovation of the same, Donkey, Food, School, National Health Insurance, Continuous monitoring of the state of nutrition and growth of the minor, etc. To integrate these supports, the Sololo Project provides other services that we could talk about shortly. (students, seniors, social assistance, …)
The Sololo Project takes charge of the Family only after a process which provides, in addition to the verification made by its operators of the conditions of the family, also the opinion of the elderly and the mayor of the village where the Family lives; to arrive at the positive opinion of the Management Committee of the Sololo Project (2020-END OF YEAR OBBITU TEAM MANAGEMENT TEAM MEETING). All the representatives of the local society are present on the Committee: administrative authorities, elderly people, women’s and young people’s associations, … It is necessary to clarify that this OVC committee has never had decision-making powers, but only consultative towards the operators of Cipad and informative, informative to the population about the activities carried out.
At the end of the Family’s admission process to the Sololo Project, there is the definitive approval by the Management Team. Experience confirms the validity of this decision-making body which we call the Management Team (Management Group).
How does it work ? Who decides?
All important decisions are the responsibility of the MT which is composed of 3 owners and 3 substitutes, who deliberate by majority and anonymously. Owners are: Guyo (Cipad president) Ilaria (Mondeco president, Cipad counterpart in Italy) Pino (representing donors). Substitutes: of Guyo is Abduba (father of the Obbitu Village); Ilaria is Duba known as Dako, whom many of you met when he came to Italy; by Pino is Andrea.
Currently the decisions of Guyo and Duba (the first is an owner and the second is Ilaria’s replacement) are legitimate to the extent that Pino and / or Andrea are always informed and have the opportunity to express their opinion.
This formulation of the MT allows to implement, in their home, the choices made by the majority composed of 2 local people; after consulting the opinion of the local authorities and the representatives of the local population associations that make up the Management Committee.
This formulation of the TM is a guarantee also for donors in Italy, since in the case, absurd and only theoretical, of “wrong” decisions, the composition of the TM constituted by the owners reports the majority to the 2 trusted persons of the donors who are: Pino and Ilaria.
These are the statistical data collected to date that prove that within 5 – 7 years the Family admitted to the Sololo Project in a condition of “extreme poverty” passes to a state of “poverty”, leaving the project thanks to the minimum self-sufficiency achieved. About fifty families have already left the Project to date and another 16 are ready to do so.
On average, the Sololo Project always supports about 100 families and about 300 minors at the same time, but it should be remembered that these numbers are the result of constant internal turnover. The family that leaves is replaced by a family that enters.
What are the consequences of these spare parts?
Since the project works, it is proof that the system is well tested, completely managed by local operators, both in the practical and in the decision-making part.
In practical management, the daily operational one, today we still have a little bit to object to, but we must know how to accept it as it is; recognize that in their home they have to decide (eg routine maintenance).
While in the pre-operative decision-making moment, I believe they still have important flaws, not so much due to inability as from inexperience, which could lead them to wrong choices with serious and possibly irreversible consequences.
So, what does the Sololo Project need today?
Two things, which can also be conducted remotely: fundraising and decision-making advice.
– Decision-making consultancies that continue to be requested by them and are provided in real time even remotely… even through databases, monthly spending programs,… For example. as a rule, I provide technical, health and management advice, in turn using the opinions of Italian friends and volunteers. Margot, supervises and takes care of the administrative component. This area is mysterious to me too… she will be able to answer you better.
– Fundraising: this project, by definition, having as its purpose the prevention of juvenile abandonment (street children phenomenon) and giving the opportunity to get out of the state of extreme poverty, will always have a negative balance. By definition and due to its location in isolated, desert and semi-desert areas, with important conditions of insecurity linked to the environment (recurrent droughts + – every 6 years) and to the geopolitics of nearby international fundamentalisms … in these conditions, it will not be able to achieve an effective self-sustaining. Either it is adopted or the Project cannot survive.
The current economic situation is not the best. The fundraiser received a major reduction. Insecurity in Sololo due to possible kidnappings, which prohibited the stay on the spot of expatriate friends (with very serious emotional damage for children, especially for the new ones hosted in the Obbitu Village); the covid pandemic that here in Italy has stopped all activities aimed at raising funds that lead to assemblies (dinners, exhibitions, theater, …) and not least my illness which required a long hospital stay and an equally long convalescence.
More information on what I have said here and for constant information on what is happening in Sololo, you can find them on the website www.sololo.eu The previous version of the site has been hit and sunk by continuous hacking. The new version, which is the work of Marco Colombo, I find it very functional and easy to consult. I invite you to visit it periodically. On the menu bar you will find all the main items to be able to navigate.
The first item is the “Home” where all the latest articles just published appear.
Following is the “Latest News” item, by clicking on which the curtain appears with: the “thought of pine” (considerations, personal reflections, correspondence, …) and all the various sections that make up the Sololo Project: Obbitu Villagio ; OVC home assistance; Serre-Obbitu Farm area; Student Project; Social Support. By clicking on each of these sections, all the news that have been published regarding that specific section chosen appears.
The third item, on the menu bar, “the Project” opens a drop-down with the Sololo Project and, subsequently, all the sections that make it up. Clicking on each of the sections opens the relative explanation of what that section is that has been selected.
Following on the menu bar we find the items “how to help us”, “who we are”, “where we are”, “contact us” and lastly the button concerning the archives. Here you can also find the various official documents and the minutes of the periodic reports drawn up by the operators in the field (2020-4RD QUARTER OCTOBER – DECEMBER REPORT). There is everything uncensored. In summary you will find, officially reported, the work done and what needs to be done.
So, if I open the “Home” I can read the latest publications of the moment; if I open the “latest news” they inform me about the parts of the project I want to know. For those who log in for the first time and / or do not know us … they have all the other items available where they find the essentials they need to decide whether to walk with us by supporting us.
It seems to me that maximum transparency of information is thus guaranteed for our fellow supporters to whom the site is dedicated.
Thanks for the attention. I remain available for any clarification and / or further information… To you the questions.
thank you, facts as it is and truth put bare. If the comparison of being rich,richer and the richest is to go by, then it is also true there are poor, poorer and the poorest. Thus OVC SOLOLO PROJECT has been trying to address the plight of the poorest and vulnerable in the community. in the hierarchy from poorest to the category of being poor. Strides have been made but we have long way to go.that is the reason why we all need you to support us to improve the social status and reduce the gap.