Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Economic opportunities

Reggio Calabria, Italy: the mission to rewrite the narrative of a hopeless community

Using innovative techniques, a team of students developed projects to increase citizen participation, especially among youth, with the aim of reinforcing positive evaluations of the city and detecting more opportunities for the population.

How can we get a community accustomed to highlighting the failings of its city to value it positively again? This is the mission carried out by a group of young people from the Political School Fratelli Tutti in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy. From generation to generation, an idea remained installed among the inhabitants of this town bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea: the opportunities are outside and the best option is to emigrate. 

Throughout 2022, a group of students from the leadership school driven by the Pope Francisco identified that there was a negative perception among the population. And they concluded that this “pain” was something almost culturally established in a place that, although it has paradisiacal landscapes and millennia of history, has been hit by organized crime and economic crises.

Participation committee with young people in Reggio Calabria.

The sense of community

After making two trips to the city and forming ties with different community actors, the team devised proposals that seek to rewrite the local destiny and reestablish the diluted roots. 

“Before arriving in the territory they had told us that one of the problems is that there were no opportunities for young people. This idea was reformulated when we traveled and talked with them. There we realized that, in reality, youth did not have a voice in different spaces. And it is not that there are no opportunities for young people, but that there is a narrative that there are no opportunities,” he told AYNI / +Comunidad María Virginia Solís, student of Fratelli Tutti. 

This is how the “Cosa amo di Reggio” (The things I love about Reggio) project was born, structured around a series of activities that invite the population to highlight the positive aspects of their city and look for solutions together. The objective is, from a network of change, to intensify the sense of community and revalue the sense of the collective. In particular, they aim to strengthen the participation of young people in civil society with different citizen initiatives. 

“Instead of asking the question 'why do you want to leave the city?', we focus on creating a narrative that points to what they like, what they love, and build from there. A very nice space was created to share,” said María Virginia. 

“The things we love about Reggio are the colors, the sea, the sun, the smiles and the wonderful community it is,” were the words expressed by a group of teenagers after creating a mobile mural that reflects what the city means to its authors. 

Collaborative mural created by young people from Reggio Calabria. 

A political commitment

We created different activities and what resulted were different moments behind the art of the game. Parents, adolescents and older adults began to share. From different social classes and different sectors of the city, also involving Arghillá, the most vulnerable part of Reggio,” said María Virginia. 

Together with Fratelli Tutti, civil society organizations in Reggio Calabria. After seeing its impact, the local mayor committed to maintaining the initiatives over time and giving a physical place to the “Cosa amo di Reggio” committee. He even announced that the weekly event will be repeated every September to highlight the positive aspects of the city.  

In this way, it is expected that activities between local organizations, politics and the community in general will become more frequent in order to generate a meeting space where they can discuss the social, economic and cultural situation of the region. 

View of Reggio Calabria. 

During the process, which aims to increase the sense of community through local networks of change, the Political School maintained constant contact with facilitators of AYNI and the Local Innovation Network (RIL) to implement systemic innovation tools. 

It may interest you

Inclusion and equity

The team from Santiago de Cali, Colombia won the award for best video pitch in the Local Innovators Program with its InnBaVu initiative...

Inclusion and equity

The team from Córdoba, Argentina, won the bronze award in the Local Innovators Program with its initiative that seeks to make education...

Economic opportunities

The Los Cabos team, located in Santiago, Baja California Sur, Mexico, has been awarded the silver award in the Innovators Program...

Sustainable habitats

The team from Bamenda, Cameroon won the gold award in the Local Innovators Program with their initiative that seeks to ensure that everyone has...