TECHO’S model of intervention focuses on the most isolated slums in Latin America. The collaborative work of families and young volunteers who work to produce concrete solutions to the problems of poverty is the key driver of these interventions. TECHO promotes a continuous community strengthening process, with community development as the most essential component of the intervention model.
The initial phase of the intervention model consists of entering the slums and determining the issues that plague the families in need. Youth volunteers have their first glimpse of the realities that can be seen in the slums and work in the field in order to develop a diagnosis. Additionally, the volunteers strive to enhance the residents’ leadership skills by promoting organization, participation, and shared responsibilities in the process.
In the second phase, in response to the identified needs of the community, there is an implementation and management of solutions in the areas of livability, education, labor and other existing problems. These solutions are developed through collaboration between young volunteers and local families, improving individual and collective capacities for community self-management. Young volunteers gain an acute awareness of poverty and its causes, which prompts them to act in order to generate real change.
Within this phase we emphasize the construction of transitional housing, which meets a need that is urgent and a priority in most slums. This creates a link of trust between the volunteers and the community since it is a concrete, tangible and achievable solution in the short term. The house built by TECHO is a pre-manufactured module of 162 square feet, built in two days with the participation of youth volunteers and families in the community. The construction creates an opportunity for people of varied socioeconomic backgrounds to interact with one another, promoting critical reflection and concrete proposals on how to overcome poverty.
In order to deepen this process of community empowerment, a community-organizing committee is stablished. This is a meeting where community leaders and youth volunteers dialogue and discuss about possible solutions to the most pressing problems of the slum. TECHO focuses on the implementation of education and work plans, such as basic skills training and micro-credit for the development of small businesses. TECHO seeks to link communities with networks in order to develop other programs to meet community goals and generate new solutions.
As a third phase of the intervention, the application of lasting and sustainable solutions is promoted in slums. Such solutions include the regularization of property, basic services, housing, infrastructure and local development. TECHO advocates for families living in slums by linking them with government institutions, so they can demand their rights.
TECHO denounces the exclusion and violation of rights that exist in slums, and works to ensure that these problems are recognized by society and become a priority of the political agenda. Starting with the relentless and substantial labor efforts of youth volunteers and local families, the concerns of these communities are given a louder voice in society. Moreover, TECHO accumulates relevant data about slums and seeks to be part of public policy decision-making, promoting lasting structural changes that will contribute to the eradication of poverty.