What are social projects?
Social projects are initiatives related to human rights. They cover things like health, education, housing, and access to basic services to help disadvantaged individuals and social groups. They may be driven by the state, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or by private companies.
Social projects usually involve community members so that they have access to the knowledge and tools needed to continue the project after its initial implementation.
What are the characteristics of social projects?
While each social project has its own goals and requirements, these initiatives usually share the following characteristics:
- They set goals related to improving the living conditions of a social group, with individuals being the primary beneficiaries.
- The intention is for the project to be sustained over time.
- They carry out detailed monitoring on resources and the evolution of planning.
- They respond to an optimized model for monitoring deadlines, resources, and work routes.
- They establish predictive techniques to avoid improvisation and thus optimize resources, budget, and time.
- They’re flexible, taking any contingencies into consideration.
- They have people who fulfill specific roles with different loads of responsibilities.
What types of social projects are there?
Social projects may vary depending on the social area being served. Based on this, there are:
- Social service projects: focus on immediately helping a group in need. These are launched in reaction to a chaotic situation (care in the event of a tsunami or earthquake) or an unfavorable situation (gender violence). Their main advantage is immediacy, though they may address the symptoms of the problem instead of the root.
- Social education projects: these focus on training and teaching the community. They can be presented as occupational workshops or study programs for young community leaders, for example. Their main advantage is improving a social group’s abilities.
- Social projects of a political nature: focus on impacting public and labor policies.
- Social amplification projects: aim to bring visibility and awareness to sensitive social issues like discrimination, xenophobia, gender violence, or racism.
How is a social project managed?
Every social project has five stages during which certain activities are carried out:
- Environmental analysis: in this phase, problems and needs are detected, priorities are determined, and resources and the population that the project will affect are projected.
- Project design: in this stage, the objectives and methodology are defined, and resources are made available depending on those objectives.
- Application: the project is implemented with constant controls and monitoring.
- Final evaluation: testing techniques like surveys are done.
- Report: the results obtained are summarized, and the project is analyzed with a lens on how it may be sustained or expanded in the future.
Examples of sustainable social projects
Sustainability is increasingly coming to the fore in every field of human development, and concern about the environmental impact of our actions and needs is becoming more and more critical. This is where sustainable social projects come in: they aim to improve the current conditions for social groups not only from a social and economic perspective but also from an environmental one. A few examples are:
- Stronger Together: through this Ferrovial initiative, employees can donate to social projects. The donation is matched by the company; over time, it has been invested in initiatives as wide-ranging as the following: support programs for senior citizens who may not have anyone; vulnerable children or victims of sexual violence in Congo; training and reintegration campaigns for youth; and health measures.
- Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. This cooperative is made up of small cocoa producers. It receives funding from the German NGO FAIRTRADE to develop social empowerment projects and sustainable cocoa cultivation with low environmental impact; this product is then distributed throughout different European countries.
- A Liter of Light in the Philippines. This social project entails setting up plastic bottles to generate light in an ecologically sound way at a low cost in more than 1 million homes in the Philippines. This project was presented at the UN’s Young Leaders Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).