Integral and communitarian intervention in the neighbourhood of San Francisco, Bilbao
Organisation : Doctors of the world, Basque Country , Spain

"Programme of Integral and communitarian intervention in the neighborhood of San Francisco, Bilbao: New challenges" has the main objective of promoting the intercultural coexistence in the zone with the greatest concentration of immigrants in the city.

Specific objectives include: to promote the integration of people of foreign origin in the neighborhood of San Francisco. To facilitate and to promote the coexistence between neighbours, both native and those of foreign origin, in the district of San Francisco. To strengthen the acquisition of psycho-social skills and knowledge to improve autonomy and integration, promote gender equalit and respect for sexual diversity, reduce discriminatory attitudes, and to strengthen associative life. Systematize and disseminate the evaluation of the program.

Agendas addressed
Social inclusion and integration
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion

The arrival of the migratory flows to the Basque Country began to take place at the end of the 90’s. The number of immigrant people registered in the Basque Country has multiplied almost tenfold, with a total of 188,596 in 2016.

Bizkaia brings together 48.6% of the population of foreign origin resident in the Basque Country, most of them are concentrated in Bilbao, which accounts for 7.4% of the total resident population. There are differences in the spatial distribution of the immigrant population. The neighborhood of San Francisco is the most significant since although in it only 2.1% of the total population of Bilbao resides, it accomodates the 26.2% of the foreign population of the municipality.

This new context in which we find ourselves requires a reorientation of the public policies which have gone from the management of the reception and welcome of the newly arrived immigrant population, to an approach oriented to the management of the diversity and the coexistence, as well as the promotion of a normalizing integration of the immigrant population in the networks of the Basque social fabric, especially in the neighborhoods where the population of foreign origin is most concentrated as in this case.

In Action

To ensure social cohesion, rapprochement, interrelation, equality in rights and obligations and the sense of belonging to a community that is built with the participation of all the people who compose it, the city of Bilbao continues with the II Municipal Plan of citizenship and Diversity 2017-2019 which, on the premise that "intercultural integration is based on the concept of leveraging the value of diversity to build stronger and more cohesive societies, in which the development of all and All its citizens become the ultimate goal ", it is based on three key principles that manage diversity understood as a model of city:

• Fundamental rights and equality
• Respect and recognition of diversity
• Participation and interaction

Also within the plan in order to reinforce the interculturality as a principle of local action transversal in the whole of the municipal planning, it is envisaged as action, among others, a "strategy of action for Bilbao la Vieja, San Francisco and Zabala ". In the neighborhood of San Francisco, this plan is inserted in a broader framework in which different actors, both institutional and social, intervene:

-Municipal Rehabilitation Office of San Francisco, Bilbao la Vieja and Zabala: General municipal information, coordination with the Rehabilitation Bureau and guidance on existing resources and services.
 -NGO Coordinator for Immigrant Support Harresiak Apurtuz: integrated by 39 immigrant and immigrant support associations, carries out a work of orientation to the foreign collective, coordinating the associative movement, as well as raising awareness Social and political advocacy in the field of cultural diversity.
-Psycho-Social module Auzolan Ecológico: Pay attention socio-sanitary to the neighbors of Bilbao through the services of sexual and reproductive health, psychological care to women victims of gender violence, mental health and drug addiction.
 -"La Merced" and "Saralegi" health centers: they represent the two reference health centers in the neighborhood, where most of the immigrant population in the neighborhood is served.
 -Miribilla Educational Center: It is the school with the highest concentration of immigrant population in the area, with a school absenteeism index of 32.5%-CREA, center of Africanist Resources of Euskadi: Meeting point and Bridge of solidarity between the Basque Society and People of foreign origin
 -Gizagune Foundation, a reference in matters of mediation and conflict transformation.

“Doctors of the World” develops the "program of Integral and communitarian intervention in the neighborhood of San Francisco, Bilbao: New challenges", with the main objective of promoting the intercultural coexistence in the zone with greater concentration of immigrant population of the City, working with public institutions, technical teams and the local population as well as immigrant in the neighborhood, so that the integration process is successful and there is a greater understanding between the cultural diversity that exists in the Neighborhood.


The program for the year 2018 is articulated around six areas of intervention: reception, coexistence, gender, equality of treatment and fight against discrimination, participation and dissemination.

Expected results ratio according to specific objective (SO)

Facilitated the access of the immigrant population, to the services and resources of the District.
It has helped to expand the understanding of cultural and social practices of immigrant groups
Facilitated the rapprochement and cultural exchange between indigenous people and immigrants
 Facilitated the tools for the approach of problematic situations of the immigrant people.
Forefront positive attitudes and examples of coexistence in the neighborhood.
Facilitated the exchange and cultural rapprochement between indigenous children, foreign origin and minority ethnic groups in the neighborhood.
Fostered the participation of people of foreign origin in the cultural fabric of the neighborhood.
Strengthened the shared discourse of neighbours of the neighborhood in favor of coexistence.
Strengthened the capacity for decision-making, control and action of the people involved.
Improved knowledge of traditional gender stereotypes.
Behaviors and attitudes based on gender inequalities are questioned.
Reduced attitudes that replicate the traditional roles assigned to men and women.
Improved attitudes and perceptions about sexual diversity.
Disseminated and replicated knowledge of traditional gender stereotypes.
Generated an inclusive discourse and a positive attitude towards cultural diversity
Improved attitudes and perceptions about cultural diversity.
Facilitated the understanding of the migratory phenomenon in the health field.
Generated an inclusive discourse and a positive attitude towards cultural diversity
Promoted the neighborhood associations.
Empowered immigrant women's associations in the neighborhood.
Facilitated the tools for democratic participation in the neighborhood.
Identified and disseminated a set of good practices of integral and community intervention in neighborhoods.


Activities related to specific objective and number of beneficiaries:

Information workshops on resources and services (individual and group): 90 Social Work consultation: 85
Trainings to professionals in the socio-sanitary field about access to the health system: 25
Workshops of intercultural coexistence: 40
Meeting spaces: 125
Social skills workshops in intercultural key: 40
Audiovisual Contest "Pro-coexistence": 20
"Urban colonies" for boys and girls in the neighborhood: 20
Cultural spaces in the quarter in intercultural key: 40
Coordination with immigrant associations for the accomplishment of joint activities of promotion of the coexistence in the neighborhood: 5
Workshops and activities of prevention and promotion of health: 40
Emotional Health Promotion workshops: 40
"Coffee and tea" Social Support Group: 50
Gypsy Ethnic Health Agents (women): 5
Workshops "Between us": 40
Workshops "New Masculinities", for Men: 25
Workshops on sexual and reproductive rights: 75
Gender training, sexual diversity, family planning and women's empowerment, addressed to adolescents at the San Adrián Institute and informal Education spaces: 94
Training in gender and sexual diversity addressed to the teachers of the San Adrián Institute: 7 Formation of intercultural health agents, in gender: 10
Formation of "anti-rumor agents" in the neighborhood: 15
Cultural diversity training aimed at students: 94
Training for social-sanitary professionals in the district's health centers: 15
elaboration and dissemination of information material: 2,500
Participation in workshops, conferences, debate tables and spaces for citizen participation: 10
Neighborhood Associations Fair: 15
Training for associations of foreign-born people in leadership, participation and organisational management: 3
Meeting of debate and mutual learning on integral and communitarian intervention in the district and joint proposals: 50
Systematization, editing and dissemination of the conclusions document of the evaluation of the Community intervention Programme 2014-2017:100

Challenges and lessons learned

The planning of the objectives and the planned activities has been based on the previous diagnosis of the neighbourhood; The good knowledge that “Doctors of the World” has of the reality on which one tries to intervene since it works in San Francisco for eighteen years with programs of social inclusion with groups in situation of social exclusion and the experience acquired during the last four years in which this program has been implemented in the neighborhood.
Since 2014 with this program we have contacted more than 40 neighborhood associations or working in the neighborhood; This has given us the opportunity to deepen in our needs and to know firsthand the barriers they encounter, especially immigrant people.



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