The SACUDE Municipal Complex provides facilities and programmes to improve the quality of life for citizens living in the Casavalle Basin settlement in Montevideo.
The SACUDE Municipal Complex is a community space that provides democratic access to culture, sports and health activities for the residents of the Casavalle Basin, the poorest area in the department of Montevideo. The complex is located on a 10,700-square-meter site and includes an indoor multipurpose gymnasium, changing rooms, polyclinic, community hall, theatre for 500 people, amphitheatre for 100 people, a soccer field, classrooms, an open park for 4,200 square meters and community health facilities.
More than 2,500 people per week participate in the workshops and special events (plays, films, music shows and festivals) hosted at the complex.
SACUDE is located in the area of Casavalle, in Municipality D, north of the urbanized area of the city of Montevideo. The area is categorized as low socioeconomic and is stigmatized in its immediate environment and by society at large, with low human capital, a fragile labor market and a long tradition of social capital decumulation.. The majority of the population is under 34 years of age, of which 60% are between 0 and 19 years of age, 58% of households live in poverty, while 6.3% live in extreme poverty. 15.7% of the inhabitants of Montevideo live in settlements with 35% of young people not studying or working.
In 2010, the SACUDE project was launched with the mission of developing, promoting and implementing health, sports and culture programmes for people of all ages. The project aims to develop community participation, increase quality of life and promote citizen rights and social equity.
The main objectives of SACUDE are:
- provide access to culture, education, physical activity and health by implementing different projects, programmes, strategies and actions from a citizen rights perspective.
- consolidate a process of permanent participation of citizens with a real impact on decision-making and proposals.
- promote collaboration between public agencies who are responsible for the roll out of public policies in the territory as well as networking with organizations in the area.
SACUDE was established at the request of the residents, by expanding the facilities and programmes of the historic Municipal Club and the Los Angeles Polyclinic, projects that were also initiated by residents. SACUDE is co-managed by representatives of the Municipality of Montevideo and residents. There are three subcommittees, sport, health and culture, as well as a youth commission, in which neighbours participate freely. The committees respond to the concerns of the neighbourhood, plan activities and are responsible for managing them.
Currently, SACUDE has more than 50 sports, cultural and health promotion initiatives (see here: http://www.sacude.org.uy/content/actividades-2018). A transversal axis, which is present in all activities, is community participation.
The SACUDE complex programmes work in a coordinated and integrated way:
- The sports area includes several sports initiation schools, such as karate, skating, mixed football and women's football, as well as other sports and recreational activities for all ages. SACUDE's facilities are also used by local schools for physical education classes.
- The culture area offers a variety of cultural workshops and quality shows, free of charge. Citizens are also encouraged to leave the neighbourhood and attend performances in different venues in Montevideo.
- SACUDE has a polyclinic that provides comprehensive health care to more than three thousand families.
For SACUDE, networking with other institutions and organizations is a priority:
- At the educational level, they work in conjunction with autonomous bodies that have an impact at the national level, such as the University of the Republic, the University of Uruguay UTU (a basic sports training course operates in the complex) and the National Public Education Administration (a literacy proposal for adults has been developed in the complex and actions are coordinated with schools in the area).
- SACUDE also collaborates with children's clubs and youth centres (which work in partnership with the Instituto del Niño y Adolescente del Uruguay (INAU), private schools and high schools in the area, carrying out joint activities.
- In the area of sports, it coordinates with the Ministry of the Interior's programme Pelota al Medio a la Esperanza (Ball to the Middle of Hope), which aims to seek collective responses to violence in public spaces in general and in sport in particular, and with the Biguá Club, carrying out exchanges with children and young people from other parts of the city and recreational activities in the complex.
As a result of the various collaborations with other state bodies, several programmes are operating in the complex (for details, see: http://www.sacude.org.uy/que-es-sacude):
- Usina Casavalle of the MEC's audio-visual plant, which produces community videos.
- INAU Basketball School.
- Youth in Network Program, which serves young people who do not study or work.
- Territorial Orientation, Consultation and Coordination Service (SOCAT).
- The Uruguay Grows with You Programme, which aims to consolidate a comprehensive early childhood protection system.
- Program "Pelota al Medio a la Esperanza" that promotes peaceful coexistence in sport.
- National Directorate of people recently deprived of liberty.
- Educational Strengthening, proposal for literacy and educational accompaniment for young people and adults.
- Program Aleros, supports people with problematic drug use.
SACUDE receives most of its funding and resources from the Department of Culture of the city council of Montevideo. This includes the salary of 15 municipal employees who work at the complex and teach workshops. Among the civil servants employed are physical education teachers, psychologist, social worker, communication officer, administrative and operational personnel. The council is also responsible for maintaining the complex and cleaning and security, which is carried out by a social work cooperative made up of neighbours from the area.
SACUDE is also supported by Municipality D, as it is located in this micro-territory, and the national government, through different public agencies and a Civil Association of Friends of Health, Culture and Sport, raise funds for the complex. Specific support has also been received from national and international organizations, such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the UTE company.
The SACUDE Municipal Complex together with the Casavalle Local Development Centre and the Luisa Cuesta Civic Centre have been designated as the Civic Axis by the inter-institutional Casavalle Basin Council. This axis is traced along a couple of kilometres that crosses different areas, neighbourhoods and settlements, and which require special attention and public policy intervention, since they are home to many families that are second and third generation poverty stricken.
SACUDE is an emblematic project of the area, allowing the population to access services and activities to which they had no access before. The complex and programmes on offer are now planning to be replicated in other neighbourhoods. SACUDE has become a public facility of reference not only for the city of Montevideo, but also for authorities and various political, social and cultural actors, from other departments and even from other countries.
The experience is evaluated by the following methods:
- From the local level: through the co-management committee.
- From Montevideo City Hall: SACUDE is part of the five-year plan and is reviewed with measurement instruments, through annual programs and corresponding budget.
- From the Casavalle Council: a body made up of delegates from central government agencies, ministries, different departments of the Ministry of MI, Municipality D, Neighbourhood Councils and the University of the Republic.
In the final years of the Municipal Club, the spaces deteriorated and some were abandoned resulting in a lack of community participation. The role of the space going forward needed to be redefined to foster cultural diversity based on respect for differences, and with a commitment to being a space with open doors to all citizens. This process has been difficult and the city council has worked hard with neighbours and stake holders to consolidate a culture of respect.
Initially, some neighbours believed that the establishment of SACUDE implied the closure of the Municipal Club Instrucciones/ Policlínica Los Ángeles. This generated initial resistance in some sections of the community and strategies were put in place to encourage residents to become involved with the new facility - identity workshops, photography exhibitions, a community video, celebrations of the anniversary of the Municipal Club and incorporation of the colours of the old Club to the new institutional image. These strategies generated a feeling of community ownership that consolidated the development of the project.
In recent years, the complex has grown substantially in both the number users and activities. This led to a shortfall in budget, infrastructure and human resources. One of the challenges was to adapt to the progress of the project, which has gradually been achieved.
One of the key factors determining the success of this project is community participation. This is reflected not only in the origins of the project but also in the co-management between technicians and neighbours. Every two years the neighbours elect, by secret ballot, citizens to be on the co-management committee in each area (health, culture and sport). Their participation is not limited to co-management, they can also participate in the subcommittees of health, culture and sport and young people.
Collaborative partnerships have been key in strengthening the project. SACUDE engages with more than 30 organizations, both public and private, to administer the programmes offered to citizens.
The positive impact of SACUDE has led to the replication of the project in another area of Montevideo, Curva de Maroñas. This new project is in a stage of development and design.
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