Slums are often identified with poverty. But, poverty does not only mean having a low income level, it also entails hunger, malnutrition, diseases, premature deaths, exclusion and inequalities.
According to the UN definition, a slum is “a neighborhood that lacks one or more of the following conditions: access to drinking water, sanitation, sufficient living space, a house built with solid materials and the right of usufruct”.
Therefore, families living in slums have a very low quality of life, have to deal with health hazards and live with few opportunities to change their situation.
It could be said that in Spain around 1 billion people live in slums or inadequate residences. To measure poverty in Spain, the moderate poverty indicator is used, which considers that a person is at risk of poverty when his or her income is less than 60% of the median. According to the latest data for 2021, available from the Living Conditions Survey, the income threshold for considering a household to be in severe poverty is €6,417.3.
Taking these data into account, among the poorest neighborhoods in Spain, in first place is the Polígono Sur (Seville) with a per capita income of 5,329 €/year and in second place is the neighborhood of Los Pajaritos (Seville) with a per capita income of 5,757 €/year. According to the national ranking of lowest annual per capita income collected in the INE urban indicators, these neighborhoods have been repeating 4 consecutive years as the poorest neighborhoods in Spain, why is this happening?
This past year, as a result of the COVID crisis, these neighborhoods have become even poorer, as they suffer the most from any economic and social crisis.
In addition, a poor neighborhood has many weaknesses:
Due to the fact that these areas are heavily affected by unemployment and with little professional preparation, the youngest children fail at a very early age at school, which leads them to look for a job at a very young age in order to contribute economically to their household. This means that the poverty of these families is inherited from one generation to the next, making it impossible for them to improve their situation.
Also, as these neighborhoods have a very low reputation, they attract a conflictive population and this leads to a negative image of the neighborhood. That is why no one invests in them, which causes them to repeat the same poverty for so many consecutive years.
The best financial investments are those with the lowest risk and those with an assured positive return. And if you were told that by investing in a slum you could increase the wealth of the slum, as well as reduce the poverty of the people living in the area, would you invest?
If we provide economic resources in a small neighborhood, we can increase the circulation of money in the area in such a way that we will improve the local economy of the neighborhood. We know that slums have few opportunities for improvement. However, the moment someone invests in them, they could be guaranteed to recover both economically and socially.
For example, Comunitaria invests in slums through a social currency that benefits local commerce. The money that circulates in a neighborhood is thanks to its local stores. If we increase the amount of money moved by the stores, the circulation of money in the neighborhood will increase, and with it its wealth.
Comunitaria promotes the local economy in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. How do we do it? By investing in local commerce.
Comunitaria’s social currency, called ILLA, is currently circulating in the neighborhood of Los Pajaritos, Seville. This currency is used by the people of the neighborhood to buy fresh food in their nearby stores.
But, Comunitaria’s goal is not only to improve the neighborhood’s economy, Comunitaria wants to improve the quality of life of people living in disadvantaged areas, reduce their malnutrition with fresh food and promote local employment.