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Rediscovering the Beauty of the Family: An overlooked 'best practice'
Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:00

altA ‘good practice’ in the field of international development implies one which has proved to be effective in generating ‘social capital.’ In fact, the creation of or strengthening of relationships and networks is an irreplaceable factor in the sustainability of an intervention. Considering this, it is undeniable that favoring the family, the most fundamental place in which a person enters into and is educated to relationships, is a best practice.

Such are the conclusions made in the recent AVSI publication “The family, a beauty to be conquered once again,” which uses stories and research from AVSI projects in Burundi, Ecuador and Romania with up to 18 years of history to document how promoting family ties increases the efficiency and efficacy specifically in socio-educational activities.

“Experience gleaned from a great many educational projects leads us to the same conclusion,” writes Benedetta Fontana of AVSI in her introduction to the booklet. “Where families are involved and present, children participate better and more, learn more and develop more completely.” It is impossible to address a person and his or her needs without starting from the natural ties into which one is born and through whom one is introduced into the world, whether they be one’s parents, a mother or father alone, or another caretaker, one’s grandparents and relatives. Seeing the family as an asset means helping to recognize it as the place of trust and belonging that every heart desires whose good outweighs the risk of conflict and difficulty which can occur among individual members.

The document was produced as part of a project co-financed by the European Union with the goal of improving networking and exchange of information and good practices among non-state actors and local authorities. It contains case studies explaining the history, method, results and evaluation of a center for mothers, children and orphans (Mamans, enfants et orphelins – MEO) in a northern suburb of Bujumbura, Burundi, of education programs in and surrounding Quito and Portoviejo, Ecuador, and of social and educational activities benefiting youth who are disadvantaged or at risk of dropping out of school in Bucharest, Romania.

Case studies are accompanied by relevant scholarly contributions, including one on Monitoring and Evaluation of Family Friendly practices by Elisabetta Carrà, another giving more practical guidelines for such monitoring and evaluation by Stefania Meda, and others from university researchers in Milan.

"To recognize and assist the family is one of the greatest services which
can be rendered nowadays to the common good and to the authentic
development of individuals and societies, as well as the best means of
ensuring the dignity, equality and true freedom of the human person."
-Pope Benedict XVI, Valencia (9 July 2006)

Read more:

January 26, 2012  AVSI presents at conference in Rwanda: Families vital to stop violence against children

Over 5 years AVSI of programming for OVCs and families

Download the publication:

Family Publication Cover