Institute of Active Citizenship
The key challenge we want to address is the lack of civic competences among Czech rural youth, aged 15-23, who rarely receive civic education. This leads to a lack of civic engagement and to migration to developed areas. Our project will provide five weekend trainings (November 2020-May 2021) for 15 rural youths mostly from 3 underdeveloped regions. We will tackle issues as local politics and civic participation. To add a European dimension, one of the weekends will take place in Brussels.
We will work in 3 towns in Zlínsko, Ústecko and Ostravsko, which are Czechia’s less developed areas.
Regions where we will work are border areas facing social polarisation based on social inequality and environmental issues. These stem from the fact that these regions face an impact from ethnic minorities and bordering countries. When tackling social polarisation among citizens, we will equip our participants with tools of nonviolent communication to mediate dialogue and organise events where people of different opinions can meet and exchange. Ústecko and Ostravsko have the highest unemployment and air pollution rates. The latter is due to the industrial complex both in Czechia and Poland. In our trainings, we will tackle this situation by engaging our participants from this region with our alumni from previous years who founded an environmental movement "We are the limits".
Underprivileged youth will become more knowledgeable about the socio-economic and cultural reality in their regions. They will be equipped with tools needed to become active citizens, such as leadership and community engagement tools in guiding their communities in common projects and activities which will lead to change the community. They will also be able to form a network of people in their neighborhood as a sign of active citizenship. Youngsters will be equipped with nonviolent communication style for political negotiation and team work. They will know which tools to use in order to demand transparency from their politicians. They will become a part of a network with previous participants, most of whom are active in these regions and they can be mentored by them.
To reach our target group of rural youth aged 15-23, which is usually not aware of such opportunities we will cooperate with several NGOs and civil organizations in our selected regions. They will inform own audiences about this opportunity through face-to-face meetings as well as through their social media and newsletters. Akumulator will consist of five weekend trainings, because during the week, students are busy with school and other activities. Each training will explore a different topic such as local and european politics, forms of civic participation and political communication. We will bring experts of different viewpoints to have lively exchanges with our participants. We want people to be open about their ideas and challenge their perceptions.
To reach our target group, we will cooperate with our local NGO partners: Jeden svět, Ostravský Pride, Limity jsme My, Hranicar, Nesehnutí, Klub Světlov Bojkovice. They have their own wide networks of young people at the local levels in the regions, where we will work. During the trainings, we will use participative and interactive non-formal educational methods. We invite experts from different spheres. Throughout the previous years of our work we have already created a net of experts that continuously cooperate with us. They come in order to facilitate a discussion on certain topic or organise a workshop for our participants. We also cooperate with our successful participants from previous years, who come to share their knowledge and experience and inspire the current participants.
We would consider our project a success if a year from now: a) at least five of the projects developed during the trainings are successfully implemented; b) at least 10 participants have become civically engaged in an active manner. From our previous experience with civic trainings, we have a network of dozen of successful participants who are now active in different spheres of social life, because of the tools for active citizenship that we provided them with as well as the experts and mentors that we allowed them to meet.We would like to increase and broaden impact of our project to other youngsters. Our successful participants are e.g. Alvin Korčák-youngest mayor candidate in Vranovice in 2018,Magdaléna and Jaroslav-activists in Bedřiška (Ostrava).
One of the weekend trainings will focus on introducing the youth to the European institutions and the functioning of the EU in preparation to the four-day study trip in Brussels.They will also visit lobbying organisations and find out how lobbying works. With a range of formal and non-formal training methods, including interactive workshops, the trip will be a valuable learning experience for young activists brought together by a motivation to enact change. They are accompanied by a Czech facilitator, which each day helps them contextualise the information to Czechia through collective reflection sessions.The ultimate goal of the study trip to Brussels is to add a European dimension to the Czech training, by incorporating a pan-European content and to make the programme more cooperative.
One of the primary objectives that IAC has been working toward since its creation has been increasing active citizenship of disadvantaged youths from rural areas. We believe that a healthy civil society can ensure a thriving democracy in Czechia and a better future for its population, particularly the young one. There are currently not enough stimuli to do so, but we are trying to fill that gap, especially in rural areas. Our work has provided satisfying results with a clear long-term impact: over 100 participants took part in our civic engagement trainings over the past five years. During the training, they conceptualised and launched dozens of sustainable projects. Those projects tackled issues starting from democracy, gender, regional development ending in renewable energy resources.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Brussels travel expenses: 4000 euros
Project support for participants: 5 000 euros
4x Weekend trainings (food, accommodation, travel expenses, speakers, public events): 8 000 euros
Alumni meeting: 2 500 euros
PR: 1000 euros
Office expenses: 2000 euros
Personnel costs: 3 000 euros
Other: 1500 euros