Graphic by ASLRM1

On 9 June, ASLRM1 and Cittadinanzattiva, partners in the ENGAGE project, carried out training for volunteers from local associations involved in the heat wave validation exercise in Rome, Italy.

Heat waves are becoming more frequent and to improve the local adaptation capacity it is important to improve emergency planning and response and enhance citizen awareness and empowerment (you can learn more about the setup of the heatwave exercise here).

On the side of citizen awareness-raising, the Italian exercise experiments with the solution of Proximity Information, which aims to create a snowball effect capable of producing much broader impacts than traditional forms of communication based on a top-down approach. The idea behind “Proximity Information” is to enhance the capacity of civil society to reach citizens in a capillary manner and to strengthen adhesion to the ‘technical’ solutions of authorities and institutions thanks to the endorsement of non-profit organisations and trust in the messages they convey.

A participatory method was applied to involve volunteers and non-profit organisations in the exercise. The first volunteers involved were, of course, those from Cittadinanzattiva who progressively involved other volunteers and organisations with whom they have active collaborations. In turn, the volunteers and organisations involved mobilised their networks: just like the snowball effect, awareness and information increased.

The design of the local development strategy of the Proximity Information Network has been discussed and shared with all volunteers over the past few months, according to the bottom-up approach, which takes into account their views and contributions.

The image depicts the attendees of the training for volunteers. In the training on 9 June, ASLRM1 and Cittadinanzattiva conveyed important information to the volunteers on preventing the health risks of heatwaves. In particular, ASLRM1 illustrated the “Heat Prevention Plan” of the Lazio Region and the surveillance tools that can be used for vulnerable people so that volunteers are able to properly inform citizens.

Finally, the contents of the information materials to be distributed to citizens were shared and discussed, with the aim of selecting the most important information to be communicated and the most effective type of message.

The Proximity Information action is currently ongoing and will last throughout the summer.

Author: Maya Battisti (Cittadinanzattiva)

Photo taken by Maya Battisti