I must confess the word inclusion has caused certain apprehension in me. There is a top-down component that assumes as a basis a better reality (its own) versus the other one, which they refuse. Anyway, it is a much more enabling concept in this sense than “insertion”, for example, in which the possibility of the other agent to form part of the process is less. Both concepts involve a character with the power to affect the other reality. This article could be called, “What is not to be poor”, since the concept of inclusion forces to think in antithesis terms.

inclusionBut despise this mistrust, I do believe there are certain exclusions which it is essential to bring down, especially when we talk about poverty and the rights of those who are limited by this situation. Thinking inclusion as the challenge to level the field, enable rights and options requires global thinking, an approach to the topic from different sides. Lately, there are many arguments from the Argentine Government saying that poverty can’t be measured with a number. I am convinced that poverty can only be defined in a multidimensional way, and that is why I invite you to review some challenges in terms of inclusion to understand it.

  • Educational inclusion: we should not only talk about educational quality in terms of contents or results in the PISA tests, but also about infrastructure, hygiene and saety conditions. The environment in a school defines the motivation and goals of each student, subjects of rights often overlooked when establishing budgets. Moreover, in times of crisis, schools set aside educational priorities to address needs of first instance, such as food and hygiene.
  • Economic inclusion: beyond the obvious barrier of income, other economic constraints lead to vulnerability. The lack of formal employment, for example, does not allow access to a social security system, or a medical insurance which ensures medicines of need in case of a disease. Nor it allows access to a formal banking system, with all the adversities that it entails. For example, savings are necessarily precarious and in cash, with the inherent possibilities of being victims of robberies, or that inflation eats that accumulated capacity; the inaccessibility to the exclusive benefits of those within the system (low rate credits, discounts supermarkets and stores, favorable financing) and the impossibility of projecting their finances in the mid or long term.
  • Home inclusion: the habitat problem is key. In Argentina, and more precisely in Buenos Aires, the real estate situation is highly paradoxical. In urban centers, the speculation around the construction industry has generated a strong increase of the values despite having a large number of vacant spaces, while the population that can’t access this market is displaced to other extremely precarious situations, irregular tenancy of the lands, overcrowding and risks. On the other hand, living in contexts of low urbanization entails other problems: the difficulties of accessing a formal job (the stigmatization of the resume) or subsidized public services, not even to mention that mailing in many neighbourhoods is a great limitation. Buses don’t get there, nor the police and much less the ambulance.
  • Technological inclusion: the Ceibal Plan in Uruguay, and Conectar Igualdad in Argentina were born to reduce the technological gap. However, consider technology as an answer when it should be a question and a trigger to other inquires is, at least, a great mistake.
  • Security inclusion: In the settlements surveyed by TECHO and UNICEF in the study “Voices of Youth”, for example, 7 of every 10 teenagers aged 12 to 17 reported having witnessed violent situations in their neighbourhoods. In vulnerable contexts, it is much harder to define the boundaries since the presence of coercive forces is more diffuse.
  • *Leisure inclusion: *The Greeks considered leisure as one of the sources of reflection and, therefore, of philosophy. There are political views that consider tourism as, for example, a social right (the Peronism peaked vigorously this flag during the first government). Without a doubt, it is one of the most notorious deprivations that shows the satisfaction or not of certain needs.

In short, it is a complex reality to operate in, but impossible to invisibilize. How can we work to face it? What other challenges do you think there are regarding inclusion?