Democracy and participation, Social inclusion

Active citizen - the foundation of democracy

Active citizen - the foundation of a functioning society, involvement of Roma living in socially excluded localities in decission making processes concerning they lives.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Miroslav Klempar

Awen Amenca z.s.

https://www.awenamenca.cz/en/

Czech Republic

Idea

Idea pitch

We want to increase the participation of the Roma in the processes of planning, managing, and monitoring the functioning of the municipality, which concerns the life and problems of the municipality itself. The systematic change will be to set up a platform through good practice (example), community organizing and empowerment, whereby Roma will be involved in the planning, management and monitoring processes of the municipalities, and especially in the localities where they live

Where will your project idea take place?

Three socially excluded localities in Ostrava, the Czech Republic

What is the local challenge?

According to the FRA, participation in the functioning of the municipality is one of the basic principles of Roma inclusion. " Research shows that creating space for minorities to work together meaningfully, to learn to find common solutions, is important. Ensuring the interest and involvement of local citizens in initiatives is challenging, but we have seen in practice that this is not impossible. Roma in Ostrava are facing residential segregation and school segregation. In area where are just 10% of Roma we have three 100% Roma schools. Roma living in these ghetos resigned to participate in democratic governance and there is nothing like social cohesion. The start of change would be the make these Roma active citizens and then we can make some solution. We can use example from Poruba.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

Our project is based on the existing cooperation between the leaders of our campaigns in Ostrava Poruba, which began with cooperation on the desegregation of the Poruba district. The deputy mayor appreciate the help of local Roma leaders, their knowledge of the environment and locality. Local Roma leaders are involved in various working groups in the Poruba district, where they work together to solve problems and design and plan various institutional procedures. Roma as the citizens must be involved in all democratic processes concerning their lives. The main systematic change will be the creation of a platform for cooperation of Roma from 3 localities with municipalities who will be trained and supported by us.

Who are you doing it for?

We target two basic target groups. One is the representatives of local governments and the city manager, and the second group are the Roma, who live in the socialy excluded localities and who face a discrimination on a daily basis.
Representatives of local governments will receive information and training from us, when we will acquaint them with the state and problems of the local Roma community, from the point of view of how the Roma community itself sees it.
Roma leaders, who will be the main representatives and mediators of communication between the community and the management of the city district. They will participate in training and seminars designed to build their capacity, and they will later lead seminars for local residents by themselfs.

How do you plan to get there?

Milestone A: Creation of a platform for cooperation in three city districts of Ostrava These Cities will sign a memorandum of cooperation with local leaders in three city districts of Ostrava and Roma leaders will be part of the working group as they are in Poruba.
Milestone B: a group of leaders will be formed from Roma in localities - using the method of community organizing and they will receive appropriate training and coaching to build their capacity.
To achieve these two milestones we will use these activities: meeting with stakeholders, research and mapping of existing cooperation in Poruba, presentation of good practices, a conference on the theme "Active citizenship of Roma in Ostrava", seminars and training for Roma leaders and community events for Roma in localities.

What are the expected results?

The proven impact of the cooperation of Roma with the municipality in Poruba was the abolition of the only segregated school in Ostrava Poruba, this led to a de-segregation process, which was our goal of the campaigns. However, it did not stop there and the cooperation continues, so the communication between the Roma and the city has improved, which is reflected in the fact that the Roma inform the city what is bothering them and what they would like to change and the city listens to their voice.
Similar or even better cooperation in other localities and empowered leaders who will have a will to participate in democratic processes concerning their localities. Roma will be not just passive receivers of interventions, but will participate in planimg, creation and monitoring.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The lower participation of Roma in democratic processes has a direct impact on the effectiveness of social and economic policies. To initiate and support the participation of Roma on integration processes has a bigger impact than service provision, used so far.
We managed to initiate such cooperation in one locality and it is crucial to have such cooperation in more localities not just in Ostrava, but elsewhere. Supporting active citizenship in Ostrava will help to build a better democracy in Europe.
We will thus be able to build bridges in today's polarized society.

What is your story?

Cooperation with the city leadership is key for us in our new strategy, and we realized that this approach is more effective than litigation or even service providers.
We realized that connecting all stakeholders in such localities and increase involvement of the Roma community in such cooperation is the way how we can support democracy and build bridges in a polarized society.
There are around 300 000 Roma living in the Czech Republic and 10 milions in Europe. Roma are discriminated in many ways and even significant amount of many and effort is invested in solutions, these are not succesful, because of low participation of Roma. Institutions either do not allow Roma to participate, of Roma are flustrated and do not want to cooperate. We connect both groups in meanigfull cooperation.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personel cost 29 000 EUR
Travel and accommodation cost 2 000 EUR
Office and communication cost 3 000 EUR
Public relation and media 3 000 EUR
Community events, seminars, and training 9 000 EUR
Conference on "Active citizenship in Ostrava 4 000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We will appreciate any feedback on our idea and experience with community organizing and participation of Roma elsewhere in Europe.

Team

Awen Amenca

Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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