To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. These Better Stories cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.
This Better Story was collected by María López Belloso and Elena Ghidoni
A group of neighbors in Vallecas (Madrid), along with various collectives and community associations, organized through WhatsApp to provide mutual support during the COVID-19 crisis. Multiple groups were formed in each part of the district with the primary goal of assisting individuals who were unable to leave their homes to meet essential needs such as groceries and pharmacy supplies.
Initially, volunteer neighbors displayed their phone numbers on balconies, and the media subsequently spread the news about the initiative, leading to an increase in calls for help. These groups also reached out to healthcare centers, pharmacies, and hospitals to establish a safety protocol. As circumstances changed, families began requesting food assistance, prompting the initiative to establish Solidarity Store Rooms (Depensas Solidarias) in each neighborhood.
Local organizations collaborated in this effort, including Centros Sociales like La Villana and La Brecha, the Cultural Association La Horizontal, CSJO La Atalaya, and the Neighborhood Associations of Puente de Vallecas. Thematic groups were also formed to address specific needs, such as maternity support, creativity, eco-social concerns, youth, employment, animal welfare, psychological support, and telephone companionship.
Two years after the pandemic outbreak, this initiative gave rise to four new active associations and working groups: Somos Palomeras, Somos Red Entrepozo, Somos San Diego, and Somos Mujeres.