O nosso km2 (Our square mile)

O Nosso km² emerged from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s firm belief that building solid neighbourhood networks, not only between citizens but also between local companies and institutions, is essential in providing an efficient, innovative and timely response to the problems facing communities. O Nosso km² is therefore being implemented in the area where the Gulbenkian Foundation is physically located, i.e., in the parish of Avenidas Novas in Lisbon.

In 2015 the project consolidated its presence in the area, focusing on the priority actions that have been defined: loneliness among senior citizens, unemployment among women and the young, and educational failure and absenteeism. The approach to these priorities took several factors into account: the mobilisation of the community, the collective construction of knowledge, the creation and maintenance of shared spaces, the valuing of local talents and resources, and integrated governance. This intervention was also made possible by collaboration with other units pertaining to the Foundation, such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and Descobrir [Discover].

The project has helped to boost community cohesion, promoting social activities that bring together residents of all ages and backgrounds and involving local organisations and authorities.

In the area of educational failure and absenteeism, the project mobilised local resources, including companies, to support a training model for educational success made possible by the EPIS Association. This model is being applied in the Marquesa de Alorna Schools Group, which is considered to be an educational territory of priority intervention.

We would also liked to mention Marketplace O nosso km², which brought together companies, social organisations and citizens’ groups at the Gulbenkian Foundation. The event, which took place in December, consisted of a social market and aimed to stimulate and facilitate the supply, exchange and demand for resources such as voluntary work, services and material goods. Cooperation was encouraged between companies and not-for-profit institutions and the many partnerships that were established had a social impact estimated at €157,000.

Also in December, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation opened its doors to the community and invited residents, social organisations and public bodies to participate in a series of workshops devoted to reflecting on and creating local responses to the social problems of educational failure, isolation among the elderly and unemployment.

In addition to Lisbon Town Council, Gebalis, the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, and the Padre António Vieira Institute, the project partners included the Pórticos Foundation, the New University of Lisbon, the Catholic University of Portugal, the Higher Technical Institute, the Lisbon Higher Institute of Accounting and Administration, and the Public Security Police.