Intercultural Community Intervention (ICI) project. ”la Caixa” Foundation

The ICI project was started up in 2010 by the ”la Caixa” Foundation and is currently being implemented in 36 areas of Spain with a wide cultural variety. It addresses the ethnocultural diversity of the local community and that contributed by foreign immigration, with the aim of fostering interaction, coexistence and social cohesion.

Fact Sheet

  • Original name:Intervenció Comunitària Intercultural (ICI).

  • Geographical scope: 36 areas in Spain.

  • Promoting organisation: ”la Caixa” Foundation, through an agreement with town councils and a local social organisation.

  • Scientific Director: Carlos Giménez, Professor of Social Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

  • Target groups: Residents of the 36 areas, which are characterised by their great cultural diversity.

  • Launch year: 2010.

1. Context

International migrations, with their elements of cultural, ethnoracial, linguistic, religious and other differentiation, modify the diversity of our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. The project seeks to bring political and institutional leaders, professionals and experts, organisations and citizens, to work together and share in the community’s decision making and responsibilities.

2. Goals

The intercultural community process aspires to facilitate communication, dialogue, collaboration and positive interaction among neighbours of different origins in order to enhance relations, promote intercultural coexistence in neighbourhoods and municipalities and prevent conflicts. 

3. Intervention

The project, launched in 17 areas in 2010 and extended to a total of 36 in 2014, is deployed along three lines: education, health and citizen relations, prioritising work with children, young people and families. The partnership between public administration and social organisations and the active participation of diverse citizens enrich the model.

This framework of collaborative relationships translates into stable spaces for interrelation on both technical and institutional levels and citizen community groups, designed to bring about “improbable encounters”, between individuals and groups who live in the same area but do not usually meet, thus contributing to positive interaction and the generation of a common feeling of belonging to the area.

Some examples of actions include anti-rumour strategies to prevent prejudices, and so-called strategic actions such as open summer schools, citizen global actions that facilitate spaces for interaction and coexistence, and interreligious dialogue initiatives among people of different beliefs. 

The methodological strategy of the ICI has helped to break down the boundary between immigrant and native, encouraging a new relational framework to tackle cultural diversity and the challenges of coexistence in which each area can define its own priorities. 

4. Results

Impact assessment surveys (2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017) have been used to measure five thematic indicators (on attitude, respect, relations, participation and non-discrimination) and a general coexistence indicator. The general index shows an improvement of 2.8% over the control group in the intervention areas.

The effects are heterogeneous: in people from a native background there is greater general impact and in the dimensions of attitude, respect and relations, whereas people of foreign background show greater impact in participation and nondiscrimination.

The impact of the intervention (in the indicator of respect in the general coexistence indicator) increases when the intensity of the intervention also increases, as measured through the number of spaces created and the number of organisations represented.