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Better Together- growing a sustainable community | Civic Europe
Environment and sustainability, Social inclusion, In addition our project increases participation, a

Better Together- growing a sustainable community

Growing and working together for a sustainable community through increased non-formal education, volunteering and social entrepreneurship opportunities in a rural postwar community.


Who is behind this?

Maja Turniški

Suncokret Center for Community Development


Who is joining forces?

Gvozd Elementary School (Osnovna Škola Gvozd)


Municipality of Gvozd



Idea pitch

The project will be developed in a postwar rural community inhabited by socially excluded persons from different ethnic groups. The municipality is located in one of the poorest Municipalities in Croatia. The area is economically and socially deprived. The project will increase access to non formal learning activities, create opportunities for children, youth and long-term unemployed women by introducing them to volunteering projects, social entrepreneurship in order to improve quality of life.

Where will your project idea take place?

The town of Vrginmost, is located in a deprived rural postwar area i Sisak Moslavina County, Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Vrginmost is located in a rural deprived area. During and after the war it experienced physical devastation and economical and social impoverishment. This led to a disintegration of community resulting in tensions between ethnic groups. There is a need for access to education, training, multiculturalism, trust and tolerance building. Croatian refugees from Bosnia resettled here and after the war the Serbian population returned. The municipality is one of the 5 least developed municipalities in Croatia with very high unemployment and poverty. Often children and youth live in poor and dysfunctional families. The inhabitants have limited access to education and lack of opportunities. This creates a lack of civic engagement, sense of hopelessness, apathy and pessimism towards the future.

Who are you doing it for?

Beneficiaries are socially excluded persons from different ethnic groups. Our target group lives in one of the poorest municipalities in Croatia in a rural deprived postwar area with high unemployment. In the town of Vrginmost, 40% are domicile Serbs and Serb returnees, 60% are Croatian refugees from Bosnia and internally displaced from Croatia.
Target group: Direct beneficiaries are children, youth, NEETs, long-term unemployed women and international volunteers.
The indirect beneficiary is the wider community such as, families, adults and elderly, international and local volunteers, institutions, organizations and associations. The final beneficiaries extend to include the entire community and Municipality of Gvozd, Sisak Moslavina County.

How do you plan to get there?

The steps to implement the project idea will be to create educational activities and possibilities to include children and youth in non formal education opportunities that will aim to empower them, encourage increased participation. We will implement activities and workshops to empower and support vulnerable and socially excluded groups such as youth, long-term unemployed women through various innovative educational activities, networking and creating a platform of support and collaboration. The aim is to encourage and empower them to find ways for self employment and revitalize a deprived rural community.
Through our activities and interventions we aim to increase the opportunities to increase civic participation through volunteering activities, develop inclusion and social cohesion.

What are the expected results?

-Inclusion of children and youth through non-formal education activities, and in civic and human rights education through workshops in the local elementary school
-Development and empowerment of youth and vulnerable groups ( long term unemployed women) though increased access to education in the fields of social innovation, rural environmental development, social entrepreneurship, implementing local intercultural/ethnic knowledge with new knowledge and developments.
-Improving citizen mobilization and civic engagements through volunteerism and holding several yearly international volunteer camps, inviting international volunteers throughout the year, creating opportunities for youth mobility, holding local volunteer activities with the aim of improving the situation in the community.

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

This project will provide opportunities for children, youth and women who are often in a disadvantaged position in the local community. The project will aim to strengthen democracy and active citizenship through non-formal education, increased volunteer activities and engagement and providing the first stepping stones in social entrepreneurship/self employment. It will introduce participants to other cultures and diversity through the volunteer activities. The present inhabitants all faced displacement during the war in the 90’s and the project will foster coexistence, collaboration, increased tolerance and appreciation of multiculturalism. The proposed project will empower the beneficiaries to become more active participants, find ways of self employment and learn new essential skills.

Why is this idea important to you?

For the past 16 years we have been working with the children and youth. With this project we hope to also include women as they are the change makers within their families. This project aims to empower and engage socially excluded persons (refugees and returnees, children, youth, women) from an isolated, poor, rural, ethnically divided post-war community. This rural area has amazing natural beauty and great potential for engaging, sustainable projects. The project aims to introduce innovative, empowering educational activities that will help empower and engage the beneficiaries and improve the local community, increase social inclusion and quality of life. Our mission is to make sure that we support and empower as many local persons as possible and together we can build a better community.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

-Staff costs, trainers, activity leaders, external mentor and external experts 35 000 €
-Office costs- 3 000 €
-Materials for activities, creative materials, workshops, training and office supplies- 3 000 €
-Printing of news magazine- 2500 €
-Promotional materials- 1000 €
-Courses/training for participants- 5500 €

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would greatly appreciate your comments, feedback and ideas. If you are working in a similar field you are welcome to contact us for future partnerships, exchange of best practices and methods. We are very interested in sustainable projects, eco gardening, permaculture and rural development.


Suncokret CCD

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

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