Healthy City Community Foundation
Even in the 21st century, women experience discrimination in Slovakia, as the results of the survey done in 2019 showed. We will support women from various social groups to develop and strengthen their capacity on their journey to get equal treatment and to fight for opportunities to be heard and involved in community development. At the same time, we will work on community awareness of benefits of diversity in the community, community values and human rights.
Banská Bystrica and its district, central part of Slovakia
The major issue we are dealing with is extremism supported by a neo Nazi party which has a headquarter in our city. There are also Romas (4%) living in segregated communities at the outskirt of the city or in social housing in poverty and the gap between them and majority is growing. Another problem is a lack of affordable and dignified housing for people with low income and lack of services for people in crises. We see as a big problem, that municipality doesn´t have an interest to involve people in decision making related to public issues. The urban planning doesn´t take in account climate changes and city doesn´t include "green policy" in its development. Activism is mostly seen by a municipality as an enemy and this approach contributes to tension and division in our community.
Generally, we want to do it for the whole community. Educational programs will be tailored for women from various social groups – Roma women, active women, businesswomen mothers, foreigners, seniors, students, etc. we estimate minimum 30 women. Since our long-term cooperation with the local University, we will intensively work with students and teachers, through their service-learning program – min. 20 students in 2 semesters. We will offer small grants to improve the quality of life from women perspective, which means an involvement of 30-50 active citizens but with much larger impact. Our goal is organize public discussions and presentation during a year.
To achieve the project goals, we want to use three type of activities:
1. Various types of education – individual, seminars, workshops, to improve women skills and self-confidence to stand up for their rights in various situations, all levels, environment, social groups.
2. Public discussion, presentations, debates – to bring the topic to the public, to understand and try to overcome prejudges and stereotypes and traditional behavior.
3. Giving small grants on topics defined by women – to involve citizens, give them opportunity to act and prove that they themselves are able to improve their communities.
After finishing this project there will be a strong group of women (minim.30) across the whole social spectrum, aware of their rights, able to communicate it adequately and act upon it in each situation. The network of local NGOs, professionals, activists will be created and active in preparing women friendly approaches and solutions in community development. We will live in the city, where official representatives will be more sensitive to needs of women in community planning and the public more opened to discuss and change old traditional view on women role and status in society. We also hope to have at least 3 community projects solving women issues and managed by local people.
We want to show that giving women respect and fair approach will bring a benefit to the whole community. A big issue articulated by local women is a lack of interest and tools provided by the city administration for public participation, specially to include women sight and needs in the city planning. We want to work with active women on their personal development and encourage them to participate in local policy in various ways and also to run for positions in a next election. By providing small grants to active groups we believe to motivate public to be interested in the place where they live and give them tools to start working on positive changes and demonstrate that change is possible and can come from ordinary people.
The role of the community foundation is to support communities that are inclusive, safe places and provide a good quality life for everyone. The respect for human rights is the main value that our foundation supports on each level in community life. The results of the community survey on women life in our city were also a strong motivation to improve women situation. Very traditional and conservative influence which appeared after the election and is presented by ruling parties brough a lot of tension and showed that we need to pay an attention to women rights and honestly work on it. And some personal issue – majority of the local NGOs leaders are women, majority of the city councilors are men, the rate is 5: 26 !
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project management 7 000
Financial managment 1 400
Volunteers coordination 5 600
Educational activities 6 000
Networking meetings 2 000
Media, communication 4 000
Pubic mtg 6 000
Grant program 6 000
FR events 3 000
Office exp 1 400
Total 42 400
Some items will be covered from the grant from the Global Fund for Community Foundations and we also want to include local donors.
Practical advice how to introduce potential conflict issue to the public and how to facilitate such public discussion.
What could be suitable instruments we can use to promote basic human rights in so called “traditional” environment.
Our project “Banská Bystrica – Women Friendly City” was design to improve situation of women in our city. First of all, thanks to the project, we were able to provide facts about women positions in various life situation. We provided an education for women, that showed an interest in the topic and increased their capacity to advocate and communicate it in their social groups and environments. We brought the topic to local politicians and initiated a new approach, including the implementation of women view and impact on women into local strategy documents.
Active women network is very vivid and energizing group that meets regularly, to discuss local issues and bring idea and concrete suggestions. Informal part of the network is the Women Book club which was initiated and is facilitated by network members themselves.
Virtual library of good practice, articles, short movies, presentations and other related information was created. It is available to network members to use it in their projects, learning, discussions, advocating, etc.
To together with Matej Bel University we realized Survey on Women in leading positions in Banská Bystrica, which we use for the presentation of unfair situation for specific groups and general public and gives us good arguments to open discussion with local leaders how to implement strategies to improve the situation. The survey is available to public.
The projects helped to bring together a lot of special strong women. We, subjectively, believe that the most important contribution of the project is the fact, that active women participating in the project have initiated discussion and process organizing themselves to support women from the whole spectrum to run for local positions in coming election in fall 2022, including woman candidate for the mayor.
The Live Funding is an event which demonstrates that giving can be really easy and fun. It brings people together to learn about and fund interesting and very needed local initiatives. We organize them annually since 2015 as a part of the international Funding Network.
At the event, two or three non-profit organizations present their project and pitch for much-needed funds to a live audience of donors, who make pledges of support through a live, auction-style pledging session. Often, in just under 90 minutes, a non-profit can walk away with its entire funding goals met.
Unfortunately, because of Covid restriction, we were not able to organize any live events. Several of our international colleagues tested the Live Funding in on line form with a big success. After some initial worries we have decided to try it too.
On December 16, 2021 we organized our first virtual live Funding in Banská Bystrica. First, we have opened an application call for projects focused on disadvantaged groups. Two projects were chosen. The Volunteers’ Center, that presented project “Nobody should feel alone” – new volunteer service for lonely people - elderly, people with disabilities and single parents and the second project submitted by The Hope for Children civic association, that helps Roma women to take care about themselves during their pregnancy and increases their skills to take care about their babies.
As you can imagine, few days and hours before the event were nerves braking as we try to eliminate all kind of possible technical complications. All presenters met in our studio and presented on line as well as giving went on line. In the end we can say that we had a very successful virtual event. 29 people participated in online and donated 3 260€ and donations are still coming to our account. We are very glad to have this opportunity to prove, that even online giving can be fun and effective. Thanks to local donors we are able to support two projects that improve quality of life of vulnerable and socially disadvantage people.
After a couple of months of intense work with local women we can see that it was the right investment. The network of women from various backgrounds is growing and we are happy to experience enormous energy and power of women, when they meet, discuss and bring new ideas and solutions for our communities.
Because of the Covid rules we had to transform a major part of our activities into a viral world. Our regular meetings of the network, trainings and discussions were and still are mostly on line. We understand that it cannot replace personal meetings, but paradoxically, it gives a chance to participate to those with small kids or with some difficulties to travel. Unfortunately, it excludes women from disadvantaged Roma communities and we need to search for new ways how to stay connected with the them.
Discussions during our regular meetings brought several interesting and unexpected outcomes, like a start of a Women Book Club or determination to support women to run for elected positions on local level and find a women candidate to run for a mayor. Together with students and teachers from local University we realized research about women participation in leading positions in all sectors in our city and district. The results are not flattering, generally it is 30% to 70% in favor of men. We present these findings at various opportunities as an opener for a public discussion what can be done to change it.
In the end of summer, in cooperation with The Islamic Foundation in Slovakia, we hosted a very special event BaBinec - common meeting of migrant and local women, to better know each other, share our personal stories, understand and respect everybody’s uniqueness.
As a tool to practice citizens’ power to influence our communities we gave 4 small grants on topics defined by women, like local networking, improving local relationships, empowering excluded communities and support inclusion in our communities.
By the end of the year 2020 we were able to create a network of local women who are interested to work on positive changes in our community – for themselves and for all.
Before Christmas, when we traditionally organize a book collection for children from disadvantage communities, we got special request, if we can donate books to Roma women.
Within one week our women network raised enough money to buy 18 books for Roma women leaders according their choice.
It was also a big “wake up” moment for us. We were used to help with all kind of material support but never thought about their other needs. We also learnt that in their community, the women needs are at the last place.
It is a long journey to go!