More than 300 residents of the Añaza neighborhood of Tenerife have been developing a community project to clean and condition their surroundings for two years

For two years, more than 300 residents of the Añaza neighborhood (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) who inhabit two blocks of 358 homes in the area, known as the blue and red buildings, have developed some 120 actions to improve their spaces common areas, helping to generate neighborhood ties within the framework of a project called Anaza Living for Others.

In a statement, the public housing company Visocan explains that it is an initiative in which it collaborates with the NGO Cooperación Internacional for community intervention. José Rodríguez, project technician and member of the group, explains that the idea was born when the Government of the Canary Islands acquired the houses in March 2021 to prevent them from being sold to vulture funds and that process generated a climate of tension for the residents, who live in social rental regime, and deteriorated relations within the community.

“When we arrived we realized that the neighbors did not know each other, they had no relationship with each other. Some did not speak to each other and the problems became entrenched without anyone offering a solution”, explains Rodríguez.

So the NGO proposed the social intervention project to Visocan: in the first phase they listened to all the tenants and, later, they mediated to resolve the differences, took their demands into account and promoted their social participation actions.

“We were clear that the protagonists should be the neighbors and that the project had to be horizontal, that is, they had to present the proposals and say where we started working.”

To repair the damage to the buildings and strengthen ties between the neighbors, the NGO proposed creating three brigades: one for cleaning, one for gardens and another for painting. Between all of them they have carried out more than 120 actions, in just two years, according to the press release. Specifically, it was proposed to form teams in each of the 16 portals, which they called powertrains, and so far eight have been established. Each of them is made up of units of 10 to 15 residents who are in charge of identifying the needs in their portals and looking for solutions.

The communiqué reports that the residents themselves are the ones who detect the needs in their building, propose the initiatives and design the actions. “They collaborate by painting, cleaning the common areas and some are electricians, so they help when there are problems of this type. We have been rescuing the gardens, placing irrigation systems”, says Rodríguez.

For Rodríguez, the “jewel in the crown” of Anaza Living for Others It is the group that they have created with the ‘smallest members of the household’, made up of 40 boys and girls. Through games, they learn what participation is, how it can be developed and generate small debates.

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