Community development, Environment and sustainability

Rural forums: bottom-up solutions for Krk island

Establishing models for participatory processes in rural islander communities. Turning disillusionment with formal structures to community-building, empowerment and solving of pressing issues.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Marta Matić

Eko Kvarner

http://www.ekokvarner.hr

Croatia

Who is joining forces?

Agricultural cooperative Island of Krk (Poljoprivredna zadruga Otok Krk)

https://pz-otok-krk.hr/

Croatia


Idea

Idea pitch

Krk island is facing many problems that are accelerating rural depopulation and creating rifts inside of the remaining rural communities. The local and national authorities are not addressing these issues sufficiently. We would like to establish open spaces - "forum workshops" that would empower inhabitants of the rural areas, enable constructive discussion for proposals from different societal groups (entrepreneurs, farmers, etc.) and set their proposals on the agenda of the decision-makers.

Where will your project idea take place?

Primarily Island of Krk with two other islands in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Even though extensive silvopastoral grazing is a traditional and sustainable practice it is rarely allowed in most of the land on the island, which was once communal but is now under national government. Allochthonous wild animals (jackals and wild boars) have reproduced to huge numbers and are decimating sheep flocks. There is a risk that farmers will use poison against jackals, which would hurt endangered vulture species. Due to agricultural abandonment biodiversity is being reduced, and fire hazard is increasing. The survival of agriculture on the island is at stake. Local policies continuously favour unsustainable investments. There are large conflicts in the small rural communities and disenchantment with the democratic institutions and procedures that also hamper civic engagement.

Who are you doing it for?

Inhabitants of the rural areas of the island: peasant farmers and their families, young farmers, hunters, rural youth, rural entrepreneurs, elderly people.

Members of local governments (local boards and municipalities) and the competent public bodies (e.g. local planning), utility companies, local action group (LAG) Kvarner islands, local associations.

We would like to assume the role of a focalizer and catalyst - both horizontally and vertically. Most of rural inhabitants don't have access to democratic procedures outside of electoral voting and they have low level of trust towards the local administration. Farmers especially feel abandoned. The local and national government do not have established channels of communication with the community.

How do you plan to get there?

We plan to have workshops covering two axes: 1) working with all interested community members at one or two micro-locations ("mjesni odbor" - a village or a part of a small town), and 2) working with a diverse group of farmers from the whole island that are interested to find a common solution to the problems they are facing. The final outputs (the proposals and the toolkit) would be informed by both axes.
The first axis will be facilitated by Eko Kvarner and the second one by the Agricultural cooperative island of Krk.
- The workshops would start with mapping the resources, challenges, needs, and priorities of the participating communities via serious games. Possible topics include land-use planning, economic development, community development, nature, access to local food, cultural strategies.
- We would then ensue with exercises (according to the mapping results) of collective visioning, participatory budgeting, participatory spatial planning, meetings with local administration and representatives of ministries, experts, and NGOs.
- Finally, the workshop participants would develop proposals that would be communicated to the relevant authorities.
- The whole process would be evaluated by all the stakeholders involved and the methodology and the feedback could be disseminated to two other islands in the northern Adriatic.

What are the expected results?

1) The level of social capital and social cohesion will have been raised by facilitating better communication and cooperation among different actors of the rural communities and opening up democratic processes to the indignant citizens.
2) Other rural communities will be able to learn about the processes used from the toolkit that we will create as one of the outcomes.
3) Apart from the social aspect and social innovation in the local community, we will present the relevant authorities with specific proposals for changes in laws, regulations, and/or budget, considering the issues of wild animals, environment and protection of cultural goods, or any other issues that the participants could raise and work on.

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

Active citizenship in the rural island communities will be strengthened by providing participants with knowledge on democratic processes and relevant institutions and directly including the citizens in available democratic procedures. That way we will provide space for the articulation of ideas and thoughts of otherwise marginalized members of the community, supporting the process of learning about alternative ways of solving pressing issues, and encouraging open discussion and peaceful conflict-resolution. On the other hand, we will facilitate the dialogue between the inhabitants and the local municipality, that way making sure that decision-makers listen to the voice of the community and genuinely take into account the outputs of the project.

Why is this idea important to you?

Eko Kvarner was founded in 2002 and became the focal point of local ecological activists. Agricultural cooperative Island of Krk was founded in 2006, it is comprised of some of the most-renowned farmers from the island and has very good connections with the local and regional authorities. Together, our team consists of experienced activists, a sociologist, an agroecologist, and project managers.
This cause is important to us because we deeply care about our island and are saddened to see it becoming a big resort full of summer houses, with locals either moving away or working in service industries, abandoning local farming practices, losing food sovereignty and the culture that surrounds traditional foods, while at the same time investments are made in obsolete and dirty energy sources.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

personnel costs 11000 euros
office expenses 2000 euros
travel and accommodation 5000 euros
communication 4000 euros
toolkit production 2000 euros
equipment 2000 euros
facilitators and experts 5000 euros
workshop organisation 4000 euros

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would love to get feedback on the methodology we plan to use for the workshops, and advice from people who are already engaged in similar community-building projects.

Team

Karla_Krk

nomadkinja

Idea created on April 22, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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