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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Triplo D Project

Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra (CDC) (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    The Triplo D project aims to increase and strengthen the democratic involvement and civic participation of citizens, by working on the links between Democracy, Demography and Human Rights. It is financed by the Active Citizens Fund in Portugal - EEA Grants, which is operated in Portugal by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Bissaya Barreto Foundation. CDC is the project promoter and has three partners: European Centre for Women in Technology (Norway), European Institute for Cultural Sciences Padre Manuel Antunes and the Group of Schools in Lousã (both in Portugal). The project has invested in co-creation processes to discuss and exchange experiences within the communities.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The project is based on 4 components, which have been building on growing knowledge and participation: empowerment, raising awareness, activation, and communication. In the empowerment component, different training courses are held on democratic literacy and community activation. These are aimed at CDC’s collaborators. The awareness component, in turn, focuses on providing several training sessions of literacy and activating democracy, adapted to various target groups of the project (children and adolescents, adults in vulnerable situations, older adults (65+) parents and educators and education community). The themes in focus are the construction of human rights, diversity, civic and political participation, gender equality, among others. In the activation component, we place the target groups as drivers of change and protagonists of the process. For example, Triplo D aims to increase the number of enrolments in the Young People’s Parliament, an institutional initiative of the Assembleia da República, that include the schools from all over the country. Another example is the activity “(Inter) generational citizens”: holding public discussion sessions on current topics under debate in Portuguese and European politics; creation of local working groups, where young people, adults and older adults debate several problems and contribute to joint positions, which are then sent to policymakers. Lastly, the communication component emerges as essential transversal action to the project. The promotion and dissemination of the project in its various aspects help to strengthen its goal and constitute a monitoring and evaluation activity, that allows us to reflect on results and lessons learned.


    From the beginning of the project and until June 2020, a total of 3426 participants took part in 196 sessions of literacy and democratic activation. Most of them are children/adolescents (67.9% of participants). The process has a very low financial effort and reinforces its temporal sustainability. We have realized that democratic activation is a long-term process, which must involve different audiences, ages, territories, and contexts in terms of intrinsic training, in a web that cuts across different realities. It is through demographic movements, between trends and ruptures, that it is possible to establish public policies based on evidence. Every citizen can be a change agent, in the short and long term. The project has been taking citizenship and active participation issues to different audiences and communities. Everybody is invited to participate in this cross-generational discussion regardless of their context. They were built by the people and for the people.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    The diversity of the target groups, being an unparalleled richness, presents a very interesting challenge in terms of the elaboration of contents and the appropriate methodologies to achieve goals. By creating, organizing, and running these activities with the beneficiaries themselves, the theme will fit them best. In the “Citizens (Inter)generational” activity, young people, adults, and older adults debate several problems collectively and contribute to joint positions. Intergenerational relations enable to experience different ways of thinking, acting, and feeling, and thus being able to renew opinions and views about the world and people.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The sustainability of the project is based on its participatory structure. Within the paradigm of participatory democracy, the empowerment of agents and the development of a culture of participation causes social norms to be modified. This approach can be replicated on a larger scale. Nevertheless, the social construction of inclusive environments depends intrinsically on the articulation between the public, private, and civil society sectors regarding the use of resources. Their joint opinion should also direct the conversation on possible alternatives and solutions. The changes in political and social culture will have a prolonged repercussion, as it will activate different instruments of participation and involvement in an effect spiral, causing actors at different levels of activity to end up moving, namely local associations, parish councils and municipalities, and the central administration. The training sessions can be easily replicated with a very low financial effort.

    Other sources of information

    Project Video: Project’s information (Caritas Coimbra) Triplo D Project - First year of execution:… Participation in Caritas Europa Innovation Festival:… (slide 41)

    COVID-19 Impact

    The difficulties that were posed by this pandemic proved to be an opportunity to build very effective activities. Such as the two seasons of webinars open to the public, where Human Rights, Civic and Democratic Participation were discussed. Also, the cycle of webinars for parents and educators from the Group of Schools Lousã and the Group of Schools Guia which focussed on the rearrangement of personal, family, and professional/academic routines in times of Coronavirus. The launch of the campaign “Human Rights in Times of COVID-19” sought to involve the youngest participants. Furthermore, due to the need to work in digital environments, it also provided the opportunity to improve digital literacy for the participants using new technologies and communication applications.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 July 2019 (start date)
    30 June 2022 (date of completion)
    Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra (CDC)
    Other beneficiaries

    The main target group of the project are children and adolescents (from pre-school to secondary school), social and political subjects who have the right to opinion and access to information. The project has also developed a wide-ranging intervention focused on the needs of different secondary target groups, namely CDC’s collaborators, adults in situations of vulnerability and older adults (65+).

    Contact Information