Paulo Egenau: "Colunga accompanies, advises, links, generates networks, is a great promoter and enhancer of the strength of civil society"

November 5, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

The learning of two projects carried out in partnership with the Colunga Foundation and aimed at young people in exclusion are examples of how from civil society paradigms can be changed on the offer of State programs. We spoke with Paulo Egenau, Social Director of Hogar de Cristo. 

Photo: Blackout Agency

How does the joint work with Colunga begin?

My first link with Colunga was based on research into a program of work with young people from a sector of extreme poverty, which are organized in the corners, which are excluded from the school system, with important family problems and in a context of great risk. We did a job in the IV Region, we went to the street to be with the young people. We created the program The corner, we evaluate it externally with a university and publish the book "Nothing about us without us", Referring to the fact that we can not continue thinking and building public policies or programs without the absolute participation of the young people themselves.

This book, published in collaboration with Colunga, systematizes international evidence and the theory of birth and growth in poverty. It explains the methodology, evaluates and makes some proposals and recommendations for the development of this type of services and programs in the poorest sectors in different regions of the country.

Now they are working on another project ...

What we did as Home of Christ, in mid-2015, it was to evaluate the operation of the eight child protection residences that we administered. The results were quite bad, despite the efforts and resources that had been allocated to have high standards of care. Then there is the concern, well, what do we have to do?

We did a job of at least one year of compilation of international evidence. We ended up publishing the book "From saying to right"What it does is lay the foundations for therapeutic residences based on evidence, identifying quality standards in different dimensions. From this we build the technical model and begin to see the possibility of implementing two pilot residences to evaluate whether this modality has positive results in the lives of young people.

The implementation of these pilots required funding, which we wanted to be independent of the government in order to maintain autonomy and independence. Colunga immediately accepted the proposal with the aspiration of generating a suitable scenario to be able to offer as a country, as public policy, a model of therapeutic residency based on evidence and evaluated externally and internally.

The standard of the residences that are developing, where does it point? Where are the big changes?

They are transformed into personalized and specialized residences, since they have a maximum capacity of ten young people per residence. One of men in Santiago and one of women in Viña del Mar. In this way they become a space of intimacy, of affection, of bond, like my house, my home. There is a whole reformulation of the spaces.  

Another important dimension is the theme of the teams. The ratio of equipment or number of professionals versus children and young people increases significantly. Today the methodology proposes a tutor, internationally speaking about key worker, for every three children. There are psycho-social pairs to work as a family, which focus on the specific work of family re-association and overcoming trauma, a therapeutic team and an inside lawyer in charge of working with family courts.

Civil society put the crisis of the Sename in that place of relevance so that today it will find the path to light. What is the role of civil society?

We are convinced that as the academic world, civil society, the private sector, the media, and governments work collaboratively, public policy proposals end up being better from the point of view of users. There is less space for abuse, for political manipulation, to generate iatrogenic systems, of poor quality, underfunded and in precarious conditions.

Photo: Hogar de Cristo

What role do you think Colunga plays in civil society?

Colunga not only has the particularity of supporting, giving concrete and objective viability, with budget and technical support, to some pilots that we believe are well-built for advocacy in public policy, in the field of education, in the area of poverty and the social exclusion of young people, but also becomes a hotbed that promotes and intensifies the consolidation of new civil society organizations. It is a hotbed that houses, finances and incorporates within its own physical space, ideas, innovations, strategies that are consolidated in different areas. Colunga accompanies, advises, links, generates networks, is a great promoter and enhancer of the strength of civil society. In that they have stood out, they are articulating, generating conversations, they bring international specialists, they link organizations that do not know each other, they finance, they promote that these dreams begin to have the possibility of becoming reality. 

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