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Torrent thematic report

27 May 2015

Themes: links between the LAP and the Operational Programmes, peer review of Torrent LAP implementation, communication-responsible media reporting

Fourth in the series of Roma-NeT II transnational meetings, the Torrent meeting gathered all partners to work on the two main themes of the event and to see how Torrent’s cooperation with the Managing Authority has changed from Roma-Net I. During Roma-NeT I Torrent was struggling with establishing contacts with its Managing Authority, even if their Urban project was financed. Roma-NeT II brought an unprecedented cooperation, where the MA became an asset to the project, not only attending the Torrent meeting but even accompanying Torrent representatives to a meeting with the national Managing Authority in Madrid and ensuring more funding for Torrent.

The peer review examined two projects:

  • SERVICE OF DIGITAL ALPHABETIZATION IN THE DISTRICT OF THE XENILLET – Association Laura Vicuña

With 140.000 euros financing for 2014-2015 from the Urban Programme of Torrent, the project aims to increase training in the field of information technology to enhance the employability factors and to bringing information technology to different groups in Xenillet district. The project builds on real needs and is open to the whole population. Four courses (two digital literacy and two Office courses) were delivered until September 2014 in addition to an intensive course for young people with judicial measures. During the month of September three courses were launched (two of digital literacy and one of Office). The project is managed by Laura Vicuña  Association.

The project in figures:

  • Citizen Information Point: 500 people
  • Courses:
    • Digital Literacy:  300 Students.
    • Office Automation Courses:  75 students.
    • Internet courses:  60 students.
    • Workshop on career guidance and active job search online:  150 students.
    • Workshop on Social Networks as a tool for job search:  75 students.

The project was initiated by the municipality; the decision about intervention, directions was taken there on the basis of a study that identified deficiencies of people on the knowledge and use of digital literacy as an obstacle to social inclusion.  The project fits in larger frames, strategies as the National Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma in Spain 2012-2020 also contains the promotion of training in new technologies (ICT) of Roma to improve the employability of beneficiaries.

  • PROGRAMME OF TRAINING AND READING IN XENILLET - Liga Española de la Educación y la Cultura Popular

With 111.570 euros financing for two years from the Urban Programme of Torrent, the project focuses on reducing school dropout and truancy with the more general aim to enhance education and to combat poverty and exclusion. The identified need behind the project is the lack of general culture and excessive lack of concern for both personal education and education of own children. General objective is promoting culture in general and reading in particular, making the community center an open and rich in resources for all ages, recreational and cultural space with a diverse educational and cultural offer that meets the needs identified in this population and responsive to the needs and lack of resources which has the population of the district. Ten specific objectives are defined. The project builds on needs assessment and taps in the Europe 2020 Strategy and relevant national strategies.

Results: 30 young people have participated in the program. Enhanced autonomy, self-esteem and individual motivation to study and working life of, in minimum 70% of young men / women served in the program were measured and reported. Five specific actions to promote social skills for improving coexistence were organized;  80% of participating students improved their social skills relative to the beginning of the course, it was assessed by direct observation of the educator and specific forms. At least 35 women have participated in the program.

Peers saw a contradiction between the 10 ambitious objectives and the budget of the project. Even though social studies brought up this need, people are mainly referred by social services, self-motivation is rare.

Methodology of the peer review

Partners carried out the Peer Review in 7 steps:

  1. reviewed the self-assessment template
  2. identified questions to explore with the project
  3. listened to the description of project actions
  4. questioned the presenting team
  5. a site visit allowed to see the project alive
  6. partners agreed on conclusions and recommendations
  7. feedback to the project team

Outcome of the peer review

Questions related to relevance and effectiveness were posed and while relevance, justification of the project, target group selection were analysed on the basis of the presentations and self-assessment template, it was too early to judge effectiveness  as the project was still ongoing.

The Torrent team first was a bit shocked and felt like being under a magnifying glass – the comments, questions were felt as criticism and we cannot say that they were not at least partly right.  Partners posed their questions, comments in a very direct way, concentrating on presumed and/or real deficiencies of the project and forgetting about or not emphasising enough the positive elements. Both Torrent project team and the partners needed a certain distance, time for contemplation. A separate session, without the project owners is also needed.

Our main findings were:

  • per review needs time, more than we had
  • we saw two good projects
  • analysis of needs was properly carried out
  • good project design was in place
  • committed people add to the quality of the projects
  • more work is needed on indicators – outputs vs. results
  • initial results are good.

Message to the project owners:

  • be proud of your projects and do not undersell them
  • links with other initiatives may scale up your project and bring wider impact

This is what Torrent learnt from the peer review:

« It is a challenge to spread good practice to the right people and to the right organisations.  There are so many stories, so many interesting details, so much to share – but how to do this well?   After the Torrent meeting we recognised that we are not investing the time or finding the best tools to effectively share our experience outside the partnership.  We now know we need to improve the way do this, and we need to make use of the many different techniques and methodologies to achieve it.   «