Community Resilience: Tools and Networks During Physical Distancing

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated physical distancing measures, Casa Gallina suspended its face-to-face activities since March 14, 2020. Content distribution programs and mutual support networks have been continually organized to offer tools for resilience, empathy and solidarity among residents of Santa María la Ribera.

This strategy considers two main lines of action: on the one hand, the distribution of content for children and family at home activities and, on the other, promoting mutual support networks between neighbors.


Teaching materials being developed by neighbors who are illustrators and educators work on strengthening skills such as creativity, empathy, solidarity and imagination in local children. Families are also being supplied with nutritious recipe options to prepare at home. Both sorts of content can be useful to other communities, hence they are also being distributed on Casa Gallina's open networks such as the website and Facebook page.


As they are aimed at local residents, the programs that promote mutual support networks are coordinated using the Casa Gallina WhatsApp account. Implementation of these platforms has an initial pilot phase, where their activation is carried out with neighbors previously involved in the house's programs. Once the former phase has been tested and improved, the call will be extended to new neighbors.

Strategy implementation programs:

Neighbourhood Orchards 1

Date: May-July 2021

Leaders: Dante Aguilar, Alonso Camilo Pérez, Santos Gonzalez, Yolanda Mermalejo, Dora Olivia Reyes, Alejandro Mendez, Juan Carlos Hidalgo

Participants: 124 live spectators

Formato: online


A series of videos in which horticulturalists Dante Aguilar and Alonso Camilo Perez tour the home orchards of certain Santa María la Ribera neighbors, who share anecdotes, experiences and strategies adopted to deal with the challenges of urban agriculture. This material was originally transmitted on Casa Gallina’s Facebook page and is now available on its Youtube channel.


Joining the Dots. Summer School on biodiversity, culture, circular economy and healthy eating

Date: 9-21 August, 2021 

Coordinator: Cecilia Pompa 

Participants: 30 girls and boys from Santa María la Ribera 

Format: mixed

Summer School aimed at children aged 5 to 14, divided into two groups, according to age. The course’s main focus was self-managed learning on biodiversity, healthy eating and circular economy topics, through virtual and in-person sessions.

The streaming sessions addressed learning about the five “Rs”, transforming objects, recognizing species of flora and fauna in the surroundings and local consumptions processes.The in-person sessions included a reconnaissance tour of flora and fauna in Casa Gallina and the relation each has with the ecosystem, as well as exchange of knowledge with the group of “Seed Guardians”.

Work was organized through a card system which fostered exchange and collaborative work. This resulted in the creation of bibliographic and game material that can be shared with other organizations and agents for future use.

Access to Technology for Neighbors

Dates: March 2, 2021 to date

Participants: Children residents of Santa María la Ribera

Format: Face-to-face

Despite the fact that Casa Gallina has not been able to fully open its doors, a service that provides access to computer equipment, printing and internet facilities was activated in order for children from public schools in the neighborhood to be able to take their classes online or do their homework. The service was activated on March 2 and remains in effect. A total of 264 hours of free internet connection have been provided.

Circular Economy to foster the Family Economy

Date: October 1, 2020

Facilitator: Claudia Caballero

Participants: 29 connected live and 616 reproductions

Format: Online conversation

This conversation brought together Claudia Caballero, founding member of Multitrueke Fairs, and residents of Santa María la Ribera to discuss important points in finding and determining daily forms of social economy. Caballero also presented the structure that her group has followed in order to create a working system of exchange and equivalence that promotes an economy anchored in values ​​other than debt.

Vegetable Garden Network

Dates: April to December, 2020

Coordinators: Dante Aguilar, Alonso Camilo Perez

Participants: 72 neighbors

Format: Hybrid

From the interruption of face-to-face activities at Casa Gallina due to the COVID-19 pandemic, strategies were developed for the section of our community linked to urban agriculture. Online consultancies, workshops and mainly WhatsApp groups through which neighbors have intensified their interest in the subject,dedicate more time and care to their home gardens. 

The building of a network of mutual support is currently in a process of systematization by the participants themselves and Casa Gallina, with the aim of visualizing the efforts and characteristics of this network of farmers in order to project collective dynamics, such as exchange of plants and compost, acquisition of supplies, continuous training, among others.

It is worth highlighting the involvement of participants of this network in management tasks; for example, the work of neighbor and cultural manager Valentina Sánchez, who has coordinated and centralized the mapping of all gardens in the network; as well as neighbor Eduardo Cortés, who has undertaken the graphic design required by the project; the effort of neighbors Santos González, Jaqueline Melende, Natalia Tinoco, and Tanit Fernández, among others, who have provided invaluable maintenance support during the pandemic towards safeguarding the Casa Gallina orchard.

Conversation with Adriana Otero, Director of the Documentary What Happened to the Bees?

Date: November 19, 2020

Participants: 11 connected live, 292 reproductions

Format: Facebook Live

Adriana Otero shared her experiences in the filming, editing and distribution of the film What Happened to the Bees? The documentary portrays the experience of Mayan beekeepers communities, led by Gustavo Huchin and Leydi Pech, who resist the planting of transgenic seeds on their territory.

Conversation with Adrián Macías Díaz, Director of the Documentary Women with Warm Hands

Date: October 14, 2020

Participants: 46 connected live, 1,400 thousand views

Format: Facebook Live

Through a live chat, with questions asked in real time by the participants, Adrián Macías discussed the process of filming the midwives of the cities where the documentary was made. He addressed issues such as discrimination against ancestral knowledge, access to health in rural areas, the accelerated speed of life experienced in cities and how this is also transferred to the birth processes; among others. Macías gave the private group of Casa Gallina neighbors free access to view the documentary prior to the talk.

Mutual Support Network: Abuel@, It’s Our Turn to Take Care of You

Dates: April 2020 to date

Participation: 10 neighbors and volunteers from 20 to 40 years old, 17 senior citizens from the neighborhood

Coordination: Paloma González and Christian Rojas.


According to the World Health Organization, people over 60 years of age are more likely to develop a serious case of COVID-19 disease. This is one of the most active populations at Casa Gallina, which is why we seek to contribute to their health and care.Through the activation of a network of young volunteers (without health risks) who buy groceries, run brief errands (such as paying bills) and walk pets, we aim to help senior citizens stay home and not be exposed to the virus.


The program highlights the importance of promoting mutual support networks in times of crisis and the strengthening of community ties between different generations when the future is uncertain. It also promotes the needed solidarity to maintain physical and mental health. The implementation of this program began the week of April 6, with an open call to 70 senior citizens and 15 young people previously involved in Casa Gallina programs; active participation to date includes 10 volunteers and 17 seniors.


Mutual Support Network: Stay Home, but Don't Be Alone

Dates: April 2020 to date

Participation: 20 neighbors

Coordination: David Hernández and Roberto Campos


This program seeks to provide a platform for social interaction that connects residents of Santa María la Ribera through phone calls as a direct response to the confinement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform consists of making a phone call agenda in which the participants can have a moment of conversation; the objective is to build a community way of resisting and thereby mitigating the emotional strain caused by social isolation.


It is intended for the neighbors to share a moment of positive conversation, exchanging satisfactory experiences in their lives and avoiding increasing references to events that cause anxiety. At the same time, the platform seeks to generate new affective networks between neighbors, so that at the end of the contingency period the networks will continue to grow and solidify. The network has begun with a base group of 20 neighbors, it is hoped it will grow through further interest from the community.


Casa Gallina from a Distance


The program consists of managing online dynamics and producing didactic materials whose contents give continuity to the usual topics being developed at Casa Gallina. It is designed to facilitate the insertion of these themes in to the context of everyday life during the days of Covid-19 confinement.


The program seeks to adapt the network of learning experiences that Casa Gallina organizes to the current situation within different communities: sharing significant knowledge to attend matters of sustainability; how mutual support and self-sufficiency reduce the precariousness of community coexistence; as well as daily needs regarding food, health and economy.


As the content generated is distributed with both the network of neighbors and with the network of initiatives and allied agents from other territories, this program allows us to maintain alliances with teachers, associations, local and outside of Santa María la Ribera Institutions.


Manual on How to Explore the World Without Leaving Home

Content: Casa Gallina

Design: Joze Daniel

Dates: Distribution on social media: April 1 to May 29, Distribution with schools: April 20 to date

Distribution with four public schools in Santa María la Ribera: 120 students from the Elena Zapata Preschool, 20 students from the evening shift at Ezequiel Chávez Elementary School, 90 students from the República de Cuba Elementary School, 320 students from the morning shift at the Moisés Sáenz High School


This manual is inspired by the book How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. It consists of aseries of activities aimed at motivating children’s creativity, stimulating their ability to observe and analyze their immediate context.


Each one of the fifteen activities that comprise this manual have been published weekly on Casa Gallina’s social media (Facebook and WhatsApp) since April 1. In addition, they are distributed with teachers from schools in Santa María la Ribera, who activate them with their groups.

Homemade Animal Carnival: Online Mask Making Workshop

Facilitator: Rodrigo Flores López

Format: Online class

Dates: April 18 and 19

Participants: 13 neighbors


Originally planned to take place at the Casa Gallina premises, this workshop is aimed at children. Participants make masks of Mexican animals while learning basic graphic art techniques, using utensils and household objects as work materials.


Audio Stories: The History of Public Health

Director: Juan Luis Delgado

Format: Audio and video clips

Dates: From April 17 to May 11

Distribution in four public schools in Santa María la Ribera: 120 students from the Elena Zapata Preschool, 20 students from the evening shift at Ezequiel Chávez Elementary School, 90 students from the República de Cuba Elementary School, 320 students from the morning shift at the Moisés Sáenz High School.


A series of four stories told on audio address historical anecdotes related to public health management. It is directed at children from three years of age, with the goal of stimulating their ability to listen and concentrate without visual resources, as well as awaken their curiosity and sensitivity about the concept of health.*


Since April 17 the audio material has been published as weekly episodes on different platforms: Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp, along with playful dynamics for children to carry out when they finish listening. In addition, they are distributed with teachers from public schools in Santa María la Ribera who activate them with their groups.


* Although these activities target children, their successful implementation requires the participation of family members who, under the circumstances, operate as monitors, facilitators and production team. 


Healthy Eating Without Leaving Home: Recipe Series

Content compilation: Casa Gallina

Design: Adriana García Benitez

Dates: March 25 to May 8

Distribution: Over 2,200 recipes have been shared on Facebook


A series of recipes that collates some of the dishes that various chefs and cooks have used as resources for previous Casa Gallina’s workshops. The series includes four kinds of recipes: "Plant-based drinks", "Soups and broths", "Cold cuisine" and "Main dishes." In addition to recipes, these materials include information on the particular benefits of the ingredients and methods of preparing dishes. It is distributed through Facebook and WhatsApp.


Local Food Delivery Directory for Santa María la Ribera

Content compilation: Casa Gallina


In order to offer local options that comply with sanitary confinement recommendations, a directory was created to provide residents with information to order from home. The directory promotes local food delivery options and businesses that sell fresh produce. Its creation within the neighborhood's Facebook groups has allowed it to expand; the content is updated based on recommendations and offers published by the neighbors.

Conversation with Melissa Elizondo, director of El Sembrador

Date: June 3, 2020

Coordinator: Christian Rojas

Participants: 250 live spectators

Format: Facebook live

Santa María la Ribera neighbor and Casa Gallina collaborator Christian Rojas had a conversation with filmmaker Melissa Elizondo, director of El sembrador, about the issues the film addresses, such as: the importance of educational methods generated by and for indigenous communities, which hold the pleasure of knowledge higher than professional success; the challenges faced by both students and teachers when they attempt to develop on their own terms in a hostile environment marked by inequality; and the disparage of local knowledge. They also discussed how inter-community networks of mutual support have started to form since the release of the film.


The conversation and event served as a platform for the launch of Casa Gallina’s Community Alliances—a closed Facebook group where initiatives and local groups are invited to form a network to connect like-minded stakeholders towards the exchange of information on ecology, culture and daily life.


Let's Move Our Bodies! Let’s Feel Our Surroundings!

Dates: May 23 - June 20, Saturdays, 5-6: 30 pm

Physical and Mental Energizing Program for Parents and Children

Coordinator: Ketzali Arreola

Participants: 17 adults and children from Santa María la Ribera

Format: Videoconference


The Let's Move Our Bodies! workshop helps strengthen relationships of trust by linking parents with their children through simple physical exercises that help them release tension, improve their mood and strengthen their bodies. This activity was designed to provide a platform for play and physical activity in which parents and children can explore their home environment and reinterpret new ways of bonding with their families using their bodies.


Stories Beyond the Screen: Film Appreciation and Creativity for Kids

Dates: May 16, 23, Saturdays 10 - 12 am

Coordinates: Moisés Ledesma

Participants: 12 children from Santa María la Ribera.

Format: Videoconference

This activity was designed and coordinated by neighbor Moisés Ledesma in which kids saw the short films The mysteries of light and Antipodes of the Ambulante en Casa film program. Using simple materials they later carried out exercises to explore their own stories. This activity was designed to encourage children to exercise their imaginations during confinement.


We thank the organizers of the Ambulante en Casa film program and especially Itzel Martínez for the resources that made this program available to the community, without which the workshop would not have been possible.


A Mini-Guide to Self-Care and Mental Health During Confinement

Posted on May 22, 2020

Format: digital file shared on social networks


Based on the concerns the community voiced during confinement, a A Mini-Guide to Self-Care and Mental Health was developed, which includes advice from expert psychologists, recommendations from international institutions, as well as practical exercises for mental health and self-care during confinement. The guide is divided into two sections: the first is for the general public and the second for parents and caregivers.

Online Conference: How to Deal with the Emotions the Confinement has Left Me?

Broadcasted live on Wednesday July 1, 2020

Speaker: Psychotherapist Sharon Kababie

Format: Facebook live     


To contribute to the emotional health of the population, the How to Deal with the Emotions the Confinement has Left Me? conference, facilitated by psychotherapist Sharon Kababie, addressed topics such as the transition to the "new normal,” shared techniques that can be used to recognize and express emotions, promote self-care and prevent mental health issues. Questions and specific cases worries expressed by people connected to the transmission were answered in real time, also a directory of associations that provide free psycho-emotional care in the city was distributed among the participants. The online broadcast was attended by neighbors linked to Casa Gallina, as well as new audiences reached by the open call that was sent out digitally.

Conversation with Daniela Uribe, director of Hermits

Date: July 16, 2020

Participants: 41 connected to the live broadcast, 420 views

Format: Facebook live

As part of the activities toward recovering the neighborhood cinema club, director Daniela Uribe was invited to have a Facebook Live conversation with residents of Santa María la Ribera about her documentary Hermits. In the days leading up to the conversation, the director gave Casa Gallina participating neighbors exclusive access to her film.

Through three blocks of questions, neighbors expressed their doubts to the director in real time. This format granted the opportunity to guide the conversation towards issues that interested the participants, such as the precariousness of housing, the quarantine, and the role of pets in the daily life of the neighborhood.

Talk: Preventive Health in Our Daily Habits

Date: July 26, 2020

Facilitated by: Piedad Ramírez Corona, Tetlcalli Casa de Piedra Co-operative

Participants: 38 neighbors connected to the live broadcast, over 1783 views


In this conversation, transmitted live via Facebook, Piedad Ramírez Corona spoke with neighbors about the values ​​found in plants and vegetables, as well as the nature of some common diseases. She also explained a series of habits that help the body strengthen itself against the adversities of urban life; she highlighted the value of food, its active ingredients and our eating habits, which can significantly support health and wellness treatments as well as attenuate some diseasessuch as those associated with COVID-19.