After an initial planning phase, the Or.Co. team based in Consorzio NOVA held meetings in September and October with schools and partner organisations to share ideas and build working models of project activities.

A interdisciplary team of educators, trainers, social workers and psychologist from partner associations attended aplanning and training workshop. The topics covered during the workshop were: career/school guidance and the concept of “educational community”, with input from Alice Barbieri (expert in career guidance), Pierpaolo Inserra (expert in local social planning, participatory planning and networking), Francesco di Giovanni (general coordinator of the TAU center and the association Inventare Insieme Onlus, which carried out the project of the Comunità Educante Evoluta Zisa Danisinni of Palermo).

In January 2020, the team will start a career-related guidance course for children attending the last year of primary school and young students of the first year of lower secondary schools. The activities will be supported also by the local networks that are being created in 5 hubs between Apulia and Basilicata. The networks are locally based informal networks of community actors who share and plan activities that focus on the well-being and empowerment of children and young persons. Each hub has its coordinating organisation.

Educational community is a direct translation from “comunità educante” in the Italian language. The notion refers to the idea that children and young persons can grow, learn, and develop in the best way when their community is actively involved in their educational path. The educational community goes beyond the conventional children-parents-teachers relationship, and includes local state and educational institutions, civil society, non-profit local organisations, and at the centre, the young person. It follows the African saying: “It takes a whole village to grow a child”. The community-based approach to young persons well-being and education is at the core of the programme Children's Educational Poverty Reduction Fund of Con i Bambini, the Italian social entreprise funding Or.Co.

About Or.Co.: the four-year, multi-regional project that was selected in 2018 and funded with €1.3 million from Con i Bambini. Lead partner of the Or.Co. partnership is Nova Onlus - Consortium for Social Innovation. The project provides 15 schools in Apulia and Basilicata with monitoring and individual guidance for children from primary school until secondary school, paying particular attention to children and young people who are in vulnerable socio-economic contexts and at risk of dropping out of school.

The project activities are located at key hubs throughout Basilicata and Apulia: Bari, Castellaneta (TA), Ginosa (TA), Lecce, Modugno (BA), Potenza, Surbo (LE), Stigliano (MT) around primary and secondary schools, both lower and upper.