“Non siete soli”: supporting children during the Covid crisis

Eni Foundation’s initiative to help children and adolescents struggling due to the pandemic.

In Italy the Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated the already precarious state of the most vulnerable families. According to recent data, in 2020 the “new poor” - consisting of 4.6 million people living in extreme poverty in Italy - increased by over 1 million people, a number that is expected to double. The presence of minor children has further exposed these families to the consequences of the crisis, with an incidence of extreme poverty that has risen from 9.2% to 11.6%, following the improvement registered in 2019. With the changes in their daily dynamics and lifestyles, various pathological eating behaviours have become widespread among children. The average increase in the number of cases of eating disorders among adolescents between February 2020 and February 2021, was 30% compared with the same period in 2019-2020, with a lowering in the age range (13-16 years). In light of such an alarming scenario concerning this population group, Eni Foundation, through the “Non siete soli” initiative, after helping people over-80s in 2020, decided to renovate its commitment also in 2021, by aiding children and adolescents with eating disorders and their families. The project was developed in partnership with the Società Italiana di Pediatria (SIP), the Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta (CISOM), Fondazione Banco Alimentare and Caritas Ambrosiana.

Press release - Covid Crisis: The “Non siete soli” initiative continues

Project goals

Eni Foundation’s initiative offered tangible support to socially disadvantaged children and adolescents suffering from eating disorders, providing an emergency response both to the economic difficulties and the social hardship this population group is facing. Besides the three biggest cities in Italy - Milan, Rome and Naples – the project was also extended to the cities of  Ravenna, Gela, Taranto and Porto Torres.

The highlights

The project involved the provision of food parcels and support services by Banco Alimentare, Caritas Ambrosiana and the CISOM Foundation; the distribution of educational and information materials, developed in collaboration with SIP, again by Banco Alimentare, Caritas Ambrosiana and the CISOM Foundation, and guides on malnutrition, food disorders and correct forms of behaviour provided by SIP for managing problems connected with these pathological conditions. Information campaigns and educational materials, again supplied by SIP, were also spread to paediatric clinics, schools, canteens and workers at facilities, associations and entities that received and managed requests for assistance from the community as well as children, adolescents and their families. Training on food disorders was also provided to volunteers and social workers that come into contact with children and adolescents. Finally, CISOM activated a telephone number, from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through which specialist psychologists provided assistance to families with children and adolescents manifesting eating disorders.

The project and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

Like the other projects it has carried out across the world, this Eni Foundation initiative is inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. In particular: Goal 1, Zero Poverty (End poverty in all its forms everywhere); Goal 2, Zero Hunger (End hunger, achieve food security); Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing (Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages).