Democracy and participation, Community development, Polarisation: a thought construct based on assumptions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ identities, which could result in growing hostility and segregation and lead to radicalisation and extremism – the use of violence for ideological reasons.

Building community resilience to polarisation

Developing community resilience to polarisation and radicalisation in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland, by dialogue, co-operation, building trust and diversity and acting together.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Piotr Seremet

Aktywna Dąbrowa Association

http://www.aktywnadabrowa.pl/

Poland

Who is joining forces?

Instytut Bezpieczeństwa Społecznego (IBS) - Institute of Social Safety

https://www.fundacjaibs.pl/

Poland


Both partners started working together in 2019, developing Poland’s first local multi-agency group which deals with prevention and countering of polarisation and radicalisation in Dąbrowa Górnicza.

Idea

Idea pitch

We intend to prevent and mitigate social polarisation by working with diverse groups of inhabitants of Dąbrowa Górnicza to develop trust, understanding, ability to cooperate despite differences and a vision for a city that values diversity and ensures better safety for all inhabitants. In a series of workshops we will identify local issues related to polarisation and radicalisation, develop recommendations for the city’s Youth Policy and ideas for awareness-raising activities in public space.

Where will your project idea take place?

The city of Dąbrowa Górnicza (120,000 inhabitants), Silesia, south of Poland

What is the local challenge?

The Municipal Council of Dąbrowa Górnicza is preparing to develop a Youth Policy to provide more opportunities for growth and development for the young. Young people from the city we have worked with told us that increasing polarisation in Dąbrowa is a real concern for them which they want to address. We would like to use the opportunity offered by this call to work in-depth with young and intergenerational groups to discuss issues around polarisation, radicalisation and diversity in their city and come up with participatory grassroots-level solutions. As we also closely work with the Municipal Council, the recommendations and ideas developed in the project will be included in the planned Youth Policy. We will also organise two public awareness-raising events based on the developed ideas.

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

With our project, during the workshops we provide a safe space for diverse groups of people to meet, get to know each other, discuss issues that both matter to them personally and have a wider impact on social life in their city. During the workshops we will encourage them to participate in meaningful exchanges and thus contribute to the discussion and effective collective action based on the ideas generated together. We thus provide them with a ‘living practice of democracy’, where they can fully participate, be heard and see their input contribute to joint ideas, actions and policy recommendations, which will be included in a future Youth Policy and local measures to address polarisation and radicalisation.

Who are you doing it for?

We will work directly with four diverse groups of inhabitants of Dąbrowa Górnicza, incl. the young, intergenerational groups, communities of residents of particular neighbourhoods etc. (approx. 60 people in total). We will carefully select participants of our workshops in order to have a wide representation and diversity of needs and perspectives and participants who are motivated to work together, to open up to other people and to seek deeper understanding with them. The recommendations we will develop will be included in a future Youth Policy aimed at all young people in the city. The two events we will organise will be developed in partnership with and aimed at larger groups of inhabitants, e.g. families with children, senior citizens, representatives of national minority groups etc.

How do you plan to get there?

We will select approx. 60 participants to 3 different groups and hold a series of 3 workshops with each of the groups to discuss their perception of polarisation, safety and diversity in the local community and develop ideas for actions to mitigate polarisation, distrust, lack of meaningful dialogue and divisions. We will draw inspiration from the Art of Hosting methodology. The recommendations from the workshops regarding polarisation and youth will be included in a future municipal Youth Policy and shared with Polish Council of Youth Organisations. We will organise two public events for larger audiences around these topics and generated ideas. We will run the workshops in partnership with trainers from IBS which specialises in preventing radicalisation through a multi-agency approach.

What are the expected results?

We will consider it a great success if: (a) participants of our workshops engage in meaningful mutual exchanges, building trust, collective wisdom and knowledge and feeling empowered to suggest ideas for a better quality of life in their city; (b) polarisation and radicalisation are raised in local public debate and recognised as some of the greatest challenges of our time, thanks to the communication about our project and the public events; (c) our recommendations are included in the city’s future Youth Policy and (d) further promoted by the Polish Council of Youth Organisations; (e) the position of the city’s Plenipotentiary for Diversity, Equality and Prevention of Polarisation and Radicalisation, which we help to establish, is funded by the Municipal Council after the project ends.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

We will address polarisation and radicalisation which are considered some of the greatest challenges of our times and the largest threats to democracy in Europe, e.g. by Radicalisation Awareness Network. In Poland the awareness of these issues and knowledge of possible solutions remains very low and burdened with political connotations. With our project, we intend to engage different groups of citizens at the grassroots level and prove how our personal values, concerns and fears and the life of our local community are interconnected and how we, as citizens, can have an impact on the public sphere. We hope that with this small-scale initiative we will provide both specific recommendations and inspiration for other Polish cities and in the region, thanks to the Civic Europe network.

What is your story?

During consultations in the participatory budget process in Dąbrowa Górnicza we have seen many times the impact that empowered citizens can have on shaping their city’s reality. We have also seen how important it is to provide people a safe space and sufficient time to get to know each other and discuss issues that matter to them, bringing up their different perspectives and developing ideas together. We would like to use our skills and knowledge to work on relatively new issues in our city and in Poland, such as polarisation and radicalisation, and thus contribute to safer, more inclusive, diverse and supportive of each other local communities in our city.

€ 33825,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 33825,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel costs (project management, accountancy): 6,000 EUR
Trainers' fees: 10,000 EUR
Office supplies (incl. training materials, disinfectants): 1,075 EUR
Office equipment: 1,750 EUR
Catering / 9 workshops: 7,500 EUR
Travel and accommodation / workshops: 6,000 EUR
Support to Plenipotentiary: 1,500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to receive feedback about how well recognised and understood the term of polarisation and radicalisation is and whether others have worked on these issues in their local community and with what outcomes.

Team

Anna_Kucinska

Idea created on May 27, 2020

Write comment