“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” —The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Certain groups in every country, whether illegal immigrants, indigenous people, or other minorities, face obstacles that prohibit them from completely engaging in their country’s political, economic, and social life. Stereotypes, stigmas, and superstitions have labeled these communities. They frequently experience fear. And such disadvantages not only prevent them from taking advantage of chances for a better existence but also deprive them of respect.
A socially inclusive community is one in which all people feel appreciated, their differences are honored, and their fundamental requirements are fulfilled in order for them to live with decency. A socially inclusive community is one in which all people are acknowledged and welcomed and have a feeling of connection.
Social inclusion, community inclusion, social connectivity, normalization, social integration, and social citizenship are all words that refer to the significance of the connections between individual members of our society and the position of each individual as a part of this group.
Why Social Inclusion? | Social Inclusion
The effects of exclusion are too costly, and the costs are often overlapped with social, economic, and political aspects. Hence social inclusion matters for itself and is important to be practiced.
A World Bank study calculates the yearly output losses caused by the Roma, a European ethnic group (de Laat 2010). It is estimated that these damages in Serbia could vary from €231 million to €887 million. According to Zoninsein (2004), if the human capital and output disparity between the majority and ethnic and racial minorities had been closed in 1997, the Bolivian economy could have grown by up to 36%.
The experience of exclusion can have long-term effects on human and societal resources. According to neuroimaging research, the brain bases of social pain linked with exclusion are those of physical pain, implying that the sensation of isolation is a physically excruciating experience (Eisenberger et al. 2003). Because brain development persists well into adolescence, negative images of one’s own personality during this time can have long-term effects.
How Social Inclusion?
Understanding the actual issue is necessary before designing the appropriate instrument. The true litmus test for progress toward social inclusion is refusing to recognize that some individuals and groups are overrepresented among the poor or have poorer human development outcomes. The true task of social inclusion is to keep asking questions and to investigate why certain results occur for certain groups. The narrative that has been built in this manner provides the foundation for developing the appropriate strategy. Moving too rapidly to the policy arsenal for solutions increases the risk of using a blunt or incorrect tool to handle a specific issue.
Economic and social spaces are frequently connected to political space—a concept encompassing ideas of speech, agency, and involvement. Because social inclusion is fundamentally about the state’s responsibility to its people, it is as much about political space as it is about having a fair share of marketplaces and services.
The ability to claim room is fundamental to inclusion because it allows for the freedom to think, act, aspire, and seize chances. Social scientists have written extensively about the effect of abuse, bullying, and other forms of aggression on people’s ability to participate in society.
Individuals and organizations want to be a part of three interconnected domains: marketplaces, services, and locations (figure O.3). The three domains reflect both obstacles and possibilities for inclusion. The three domains intersect in the same way that various aspects of a person’s existence do. One of the most significant reasons for the limited success of inclusion policies and initiatives is likely to be intervening in one area without considering the others.
Ability Opportunity Dignity
Ability, opportunity, and dignity are three interconnected pathways through which inclusion can be improved (figure O.3). All three channels work together to create avenues for individuals to participate in society. All three are also affected by the individual’s or group’s background and societal status.
Policies promoting socioeconomic integration must be interconnected or cross-sectoral. Social exclusion is a multifaceted process in which behaviors in one area cause or support exclusion in another. Policies to combat social isolation, then, necessitate what Silver (2013) refers to as a “dynamic series of actions.”
Impact bonds are creative performance-based contracts that address a social or environmental issue by bringing together an investor, a result backer, and a service provider. They are a type of public-private partnership in which investors are rewarded for effectively achieving effects. It works brilliantly because the purchaser, not the service supplier, takes the financial risk. Investors are increasingly concerned with the societal and environmental effects of their investments, in addition to the financial gain.
Let’s look at a few examples.
The city of Medellin
Medellin, Colombia, is a one-of-a-kind and creative example of how communities can become more inclusive for their people through infrastructure development and citizen involvement.
Since then, the murder incidence in Medelln has dropped by more than 80%. By 2015, it had dropped to 20 per 100,000 persons, the lowest level in decades. Medellin is now a progressive city that is establishing a worldwide benchmark for urban growth. Its inhabitants have fought diligently to decrease urban violence, creating a secure and resilient community in the process. In my travels throughout Latin America, I have found Medellin to be one of the kindest and most lively towns in the area.
The community leader of Medellin, Peter Alexander explains how Communa 13 which was one of the poorest areas of Medellin has transformed from being a marginalized community to a resilient one. The diversity of interventions bring implemented is creating a better life for both youth and adults. The resultant of the interventions are the spaces where one can see that the transformation brings love, happiness, and liveliness, which all contribute to having a better future.
The Parque Biblioteca Pública España
Better known as the Biblioteca España is part of a set of urban and social projects developed in this area of Medellín for the cultural and social transformation of the city.
The Biblioteca Espaa, as it is more commonly known, is part of a collection of urban and social initiatives created in this region of Medellin for the city’s cultural and social transformation.
Aside from being an amazing feat of artistic taste, the Biblioteca Espaa is an exceptional example of how public policy, city planning, and nurturing social capital should all come together to effect long-term structural changes capable of advancing those who need it the most.
The plan is straightforward: invest in civic commitment rather than public protection.
The library park has 5 libraries that are identified and placed in the regions with existing sociopolitical problems regions. The understanding and concept to derive this was to believe in most beautiful structures must be in the poorest neighborhoods. After such interventions have taken place, the results of it speak for themselves when you look at the statistics: the homicide rate in this two-million-person metropolis has dropped by a factor of 13 since 1991.
Urban Acupuncture | Social Inclusion
According to Jaime Lerner, urban acupuncture is a sequence of small-scale, highly concentrated actions that have the potential to regenerate or initiate a regeneration process in dead or damaged places and their environs.
In the present, the intervention in Medellin’s rugged topography was akin to open-heart surgery, a large-scale action targeted at bringing about physical and social change in what was once one of the most dangerous areas in the world’s most dangerous city. The escalators that brought the action global attention.
Ibasho: a Japanese approach to community resilience
Elder community members in Ofunato designed and constructed the Ibasho Café, which functions as a center to rebuild the fiber of a community devastated by the GEJE tragedy. Ibasho Café is a casual meeting spot that draws people together. In that area, people of all ages interact, with children arriving to read books in the English library, older people showing the young how to prepare traditional foods, younger people assisting their elders with computer software, and so on. The elderly are actively involved in the running of the Ibasho café, which serves to develop social capital and resilience while altering people’s attitudes toward aging. The café operates as a sustainable company and has created a noodle store, an organic farm, and a farmers market to supplement its operations.
Examples of a historical shift towards equality proliferate. South Africa, for example, went from organized apartheid to the dream of a “rainbow country” in less than two decades. Foot-binding, an old Chinese custom, was limited and ultimately abolished as a result of a vigorous societal campaign and legal ban. The articulation of social exclusion in Brazil, which began with a broad belief in “racial democracy,” came to recognize that racial prejudice has kept some groups back. Greater speech and involvement have changed Bangladesh’s discriminatory system of informal local justice, known as shalish. Higher educational attainment among women in Jordan has become the norm rather than the exception in an area where women’s position in society is confined to the private realm
Sex Worker-run restaurant in Mysore, India
The establishment is not your typical eatery. Instead, it is a daring and uncommon attempt to dispel the contempt and prejudice bestowed on one of society’s most marginalized groups: the city’s male, female, and transgender sex workers, many of whom are HIV positive.
It has always taken longer to change people’s views of the city. Despite this, sex workers have emerged as the ultimate survivor, having worked the streets for years, scooping up customers with a single look.
Clearly, significant initiatives are not required to foster acceptance and societal resilience. All that is required is a reciprocal understanding to honor and treat everyone with decency, as well as to provide equitable chances to everyone. This restaurant represents a significant move forward in addressing the stigma and prejudice that HIV patients and sex workers with HIV experience. It also gives sex workers the honor, respect, and recognition they have long sought.
Finally, societal participation is both a process and a result. It includes people at various levels (individuals, organizations, and complete communities) who participate in markets, services, and spaces. Furthermore, markets, services, and locations are all interconnected, and action in one can have an impact on the others. Although identities influence how and to what degree people are included, no one is completely excluded or completely included in his or her social world. Advantages and drawbacks are conferred by the confluence of identities. The essence of social inclusion is ensuring that people and organizations can participate in conditions that are acceptable to them. It can be accomplished by improving individuals’ and groups’ skills, chances, and dignity. These three networks are also linked and intersect.
- INCLUSION MATTERS. (2013). Available at: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/16195/9781464800108.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
- Marsela, R. (2014). Social inclusion and inclusive education. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 10, pp.181–191. doi:https://doi.org/10.7336/academicus.2014.10.12.
- blogs.worldbank.org. (n.d.). Have you heard of impact bonds? [online] Available at: https://blogs.worldbank.org/sustainablecities/have-you-heard-impact-bonds.
- blogs.worldbank.org. (n.d.). The ‘human scale’ in public urban areas. [online] Available at: https://blogs.worldbank.org/sustainablecities/human-scale-public-urban-areas [Accessed 1 Mar. 2023].
- WikiArquitectura. (n.d.). Medellín. [online] Available at: https://es.wikiarquitectura.com/ubicacion/colombia/medellin/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2023].
- Daniel P. Aldrich (2015). Ibasho mission and principles. [online] researchgate.net. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Ibasho-mission-and-principles_fig1_315040499 [Accessed 24 Feb. 2023].