RECETAS LAUNCH WORKSHOP – CUENCA
Following the virtual launch of the RECETAS international project in Cuenca, which took place on 7th July 2021, a face-to-face launching workshop was held on 29th October 2021 at the library of the University of Cuenca. RECETAS project aims to test and evaluate nature-based social prescribing in Europe, Latin America, and Australia to address common challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, aging populations, and mental health.
The meeting in Cuenca had a double goal: on the one hand, to disseminate the RECETAS project, and on the other hand, to extend the invitation to the participants to actively join this initiative. Around 30 participants from various sectors attended this event. It included representatives of the Cantonal Health Council. It is an institution that promotes citizen participation, designing the cantonal strategic planning in health following the local and national inter-institutional agreement. Moreover, representatives of the Casa Hogar Miguel Leon attended the meeting. This institution houses aging people in vulnerable conditions. Besides, representatives of organized groups such as the Colectivo Madre Tierra participated. It develops research and cultural management with innovative processes to learn and disseminate the ethics of life based on complementarity and reciprocity. Finally, inhabitants of the historic center of Cuenca, teachers, students, and professionals from the health and architecture sectors, join the RECETAS event.
The meeting was developed in two key moments. The first one focused on presenting the RECETAS project, and the second one on gathering information. Indeed, after the interventions, the participants joined efforts with the RECETAS Cuenca researchers to reach a consensus on some starting elements. One of those elements was building a common language regarding key concepts for the RECETAS project, such as loneliness, social isolation, social prescription based on nature, social assets, among others. Moreover, during the meeting were identified natural assets in Cuenca, actors, potentialities, and problems that RECETAS could face. The gathered information was shared with all participants in a plenary session at the end of the meeting.
Part of the results allows us to identify a close relationship between the concepts of heritage, ancestral medicine, and community health. Local people were aware of the need of preserving and promoting practices linked to ancestral medicine. Furthermore, a diversity of types of loneliness and social isolation were recognized. Those types are determined by intra-personal, interpersonal, and socio-cultural variables that affect the mental health of people regardless of the age group or gender to which they belong. Among the positive aspects highlighted in the local context concerning the RECETAS project, the following were identified the willingness of the inhabitants to maximize the use of public and private spaces with the presence of nature within the city; the validity of ancestral knowledge, intergenerational relationships that could favor the transmission of knowledge, among others. Among negative aspects were identified security problems, as well as, the weakening of interpersonal relationships due to the COVID pandemic.