Parsec – From research to action

Speaker: Laura Giacomello (Parsec Consortium, Italy)

Our objective is to analyse the specific territorial experience of the Parsec-System in Rome, in order to highlight its operating principles and to point out possible interaction and synergy patterns between public administration and non-governmental social services. Actually, the Parsec experience has shown how NGOs can give innovative boots in the field of social policies and services; The story of Parsecs framework started in the 1970s, with the establishment of the Italian Regions and their endorsement of social and medical matters. In the process of administrative decentralization, the existing NGOs started to give their contribution to the creation of local welfare, becoming bearers of the needs of the society. The Parsec Association started working in the IV Borough of the Municipality of Rome backed by its political experience and activity. The political demands and the advocacy engagement of its founders would determined the establishment and further widening of the Parsec-System, with coordination at regional, national, international level. The approach of the group was based on 5 pillars: Research: a need for a deep knowledge of the multiple aspects of the phenomenon; Action: strategy and action planning; Networking: building links and connections between public and non-governmental actors; Culture: circulation of knowledge at local, national and international levels; Advocacy: protection of law and fighting against discrimination; In the field of drugs consumption and addiction, the interaction between these 5 pillars (occasionally re-defined and re-adjusted) allowed the development of an effective system of services, adequate to the specific features of drug consumption at any given time. Actions are all based on the same idea: they come as completion and integration of public services, working in synergy; The first studies carried out by Parsec in the 70s were related to heroin consumers and to the local activities that were implemented to face the growing drug abuse. The engagement was to work within a network with Ser.T. (the help centre for drug addicted, linked to the Italian local health units). At the end of the 80s, issues related to drug addiction were weighed down by the HIV risk and the Parsec Association started to look for social answers to this question. In the 90s, it caught up the onset of new types of drug consumption among youngsters, such as party drugs, through networking (Parsec joined the national consortium on new drugs – CNND) and started to study this phenomenon, in order to avoid discrimination and penalisation of night-entertainment. At the same time, Parsec Association’s attention to the world of youngsters and to new ways of life and consumption, allowed a deeper analysis of rave parties and other underground events, discovering new trends and substances, and developing suitable actions to help these new consumers (harm reduction); Parsec is now claiming for a diversified approach to the drug addiction phenomenon, which is not a mere matter of healthcare. On the contrary, it is necessary to establish a network that could understand consumers needs at every step of the phenomenon involvement: – Prevention; – Primary prevention; – Harm reduction; – Territorial services guidance; – First help and local action; – Social and working inclusion; Today, Parsec is facing the challenge of the so-called new drugs addiction (cocaine, primarily). In-the-field action is going on and evolving, highlighting the need of prevention from legalized drugs addiction: alcohol, psycho-drugs, gambling.

CV: Laura Giacomello is social researcher oriented at research in the field of social policy, and specifically of migration, drug abuse, youth, gender; management of local and national projects of social research; Apr 2009-Dec 2009 – Project manager of the “Lazio SiCura” project of social communication. The project aimed at disseminating information about safety in the Latium region in Italy. The project is even intended to collect information about the perception of security and safenety of citizens; Sept 2008-Mar 2009 – Responsible for field research, Social Research about youth Participation in Italy; The project focus was the Youth participation in civil and political life in Italy. It involved qualitative and quantitative research methods such as questionnaires, in depth interviews and focus groups; Apr- Jul 2008 – Researcher (in depth interviews with organization that help the poor by giving them food stocks. I even elaborated 6 case studies). Food Poverty in Italy. Qualitative and quantitative social research on food poverty, aimed at collecting information about poverty levels in the Italian population; Feb-June 2008 – Coordination of the staff of the field research in the city of Pontecagnano Faiano (Region of Campania); field activity and editing of the final report of the research on local welfare in the City of Pontecagnano Faiano; “Attivazione di processi di progettazione sociale e analisi delle opportunità del territorio nel Comune di Pontecagnano Faiano”. The Project aimed at analyzing local resources and social needs in the municipality of Pontecagnano Faiano.