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PIHC: a humanitarian chain furthering cooperation and integration

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Romans Sur Isere
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Since 1994, the Platform for Integration through Humanitarian action and Cooperation (PIHC) has provided training in a joint effort to advance integration.

05/20/2010

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Originally, PIHC's goal was to manage local and international logistics for humanitarian organisations, including preparation and packaging of containers, shipment of merchandise and equipment, etc. To achieve this while creating a truly humanitarian chain, PIHC developed an educational cluster for socially and economically disadvantaged people. They are trained using modules that provide orientation and access to basic skills for careers in international cooperation and humanitarian causes. The heart of the organisation is a certified “social integration” solidarity workshop which rounds out the training and helps with integrating into the workforce.

Training, integration and support

“The training centre is the only one in France to offer courses leading to careers in humanitarian work,” stresses PIHC director Eric Pleignet. “Our interns have few qualifications and often have chequered backgrounds. Some 15-20% have some form of handicap.” For all training programmes combined, 300 to 400 disadvantaged persons between the ages of 18 and 53 who are integrating into society take courses at PIHC each year.

Today, social integration workshops are increasingly diversified and focus on sustainable development : woodworking for green building, green roofs, straw-bale insulation, computer recycling and renovation, etc. PIHC offers numerous methods for leaning a useful, “green” career, while developing fruitful partnerships in the public and private sectors. This led the VINCI Foundation to support the organisation. “With VINCI we developed a project to recycle computers graciously donated by the Group through their Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF) subsidiary,” explains Eric Pleignet. “With our sponsors, we plan to go even further with immersion internships at VINCI.”

Sponsorship : a real, long-term partnership

It’s a cooperative arrangement that delights Mohamed Zaouech, one of ASF’s four sponsors. For the head of the Valence district of ASF (VINCI Autoroutes), being a sponsor is foremost “a good way to make PIHC known to the entire VINCI Group, which has much expertise and resources to offer.” Aware of PIHC’s professional integration approch, the sponsor explains the exchange of “good processes” : “We give them preferential pricing, particularly for worksite safety equipment. In exchange, PIHC installs dry toilets for trucks in our motorway network stranded by traffic and inclement weather.”

In addition to his expertise and with kind-hearted humour, Mohamed Zaouech serves as an example for youth joining the workforce : “I am living proof that whatever one’s background, everything is possible, even after a failure.”

October 2011 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.