Suara Cooperativa has joined this 2016 the Pilot Project to Fight Energy Poverty that has been jointly promoted by the Barcelona City Council and the Federation of Catalan Social Action Organizations (ECAS). Eight other entities are participating in this project: Surt Foundation, Health and Community Foundation, Mercè Fontanilles Foundation, City and Values Foundation, Ámbito Prevención Foundation, Solidarity Initiatives Association and, finally, and as responsible for the leadership of the project, Welfare and Development Association. Transversally, also present in the project are the Labor Program, which accompanies the selection process of professionals, and Ecoserveis, as a company specialized in the management of Energy Poverty.

The project has as key axes both the analysis of the reality in which a large part of the citizenship lives in the city of Barcelona (in terms of energy poverty) as well as the generation of new opportunities in the labor market for people who are in a situation of long-term unemployment. The overall objective is to train and accompany a total of 100 professionals to carry out energy audits to 5,000 households in the city that will have been previously referred by the Social Services Centers. These professionals will not only compile data related to the habitability conditions of the homes, but will also advise the people living there on how to improve their own conditions, focusing on consumption habits as well as on supply contracting and billing issues.

Our cooperative, in alliance with Fundación Surt, will be in charge of implementing the project in the districts of Ciutat Vella and Sarrià Sant Gervasi. This alliance is one more experience of shared work between the two entities that are born from shared ways of understanding and doing. We will incorporate between us a total of 20 professionals, who will work as energy agents and informants during the six months of the project.

Beyond this assignment, it is interesting to highlight two innovative aspects of this project:

  • The multidimensional and simultaneous approach to two problems related to the violation of fundamental rights, such as unemployment and energy poverty, which are overwhelmingly present and generate situations of great suffering in our society.
  • The establishment of a collaboration between the public administration and the third sector, in a complex structure where different entities are present, with the added challenge of working together with all of us to achieve the objectives.

We must be aware that this project will not become a solution in itself, but in the future, with political will and sufficient resources, it could be a first seed that will give birth to other projects of greater impact.

The members of Suara approved in assembly that the mission of our Cooperative is to transform the social environment, improving the reality of people through quality services rooted in the territory, which promote their welfare and growth. From Suara we join this project in an exercise of coherence with our essence, and we put at its service all our experience and expertise from a solid and well-defined values, integrating into a network of inter-cooperative work with other entities from the respect, mutual recognition, commitment and enthusiasm.

We have a great challenge on our hands which, from a high sense of social responsibility, we cannot afford to fail. I am convinced that all of us, together with the colleagues of Fundación Sale and the rest of the entities, will be up to the challenge.

Bianca Fenoll Almerich. Coordinator of the program against Energy Poverty in Suara.