Gener-actions: intergenerational solidarity
Working alongside the local community to improve intergenerational solidarity and fight social isolation.
Name of project: GER-AÇÕES (GENER-ACTIONS)
The community group Making the Neighbourhood Our Home was started in 2022 by a group of mothers, activists and researchers who wanted to reconnect the inhabitants of the Penha de França neighbourhood in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.
This neighbourhood is home to a mix of older inhabitants, who often have little support, and relatively new arrivals, including migrant families with young children, who often lack intergenerational connections. These groups are often treated as beneficiaries, but rarely as active citizens.
Working with the local library Biblioteca da Penha de França, Making the Neighbourhood Our Home is working alongside the local community to create initiatives to help improve intergenerational solidarity. This partnership uses the library as a ‘sanctuary’ to build community. They have set up ‘citizen labs’: a space for working groups to be formed and a place where people can come together to discuss their ideas and decide about collective actions.
This process is supported by collaborating with daycare centres, local associations, cultural spaces, artists and by experimenting with different creative methods and cultural events. The working groups meet in the library to organise intergenerational creative interventions in public squares, in the library and in a local school.
Instead of seeing community members of different ages as passive target groups, this initiative empowers community members so they can autonomously reclaim public space and advocate for their ideas through a horizontal, transparent and collaborative process – looking at what we can learn from older people and how we can care for each other collectively.
The challenge team believes this way of working could be a prototype for other initiatives: “Intergenerational solidarity creates stronger and more resilient communities, ensures the continuity between past, present and future and the basis for collective action.”