Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

Challenging Youth winner

Empowering young leaders to lead by example and make a real permanent change in their communities, thus strengthening the values of democracy and civic activism.


Who is behind this?

Nataša Popović

Centar Krugovi



Idea pitch

Our plan is to engage youth in the local decision-making processes and the development of the community, as well as give voice to marginalized groups in our communities. We will start by creating a youth initiative organically and move on to empower them by educating them on civic activism and mentoring them every step of the way. The end goal is to create Youth Councils in 3 different local committees in Novi Zagreb.

Where will your project idea take place?

Novi Zagreb, City of Zagreb, Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In the formal education process, not enough stress is put on the importance of active citizenship in the development of a fully democratic society. Young people lack knowledge about civic activism, they do not know how they can participate and what impact their actions can have. Therefore, they do not feel encouraged to engage. Decision-making at the local level is not made clear or accessible for young people which makes it difficult for them to get involved and be heard. Local youth also lacks space or meaningful activities that would allow them to really connect and feel included and important in the local community.

Who are you doing it for?

The main idea of this project is to give a voice to young people (18-30 years old) from Novi Zagreb, with the tendency of including youth from marginalized communities, in local committees. This target group will work actively with the elderly and different stakeholders, so they could effectively make changes in their local communities. This will enable civic and political growth of this area, affecting other social groups and young people from other areas in Zagreb by empowering them to get involved in their local committees as well.

How do you plan to get there?

1. The project will start with promotional activities in order to gather young people from Novi Zagreb and create youth initiative. This part will also include cooperation with different organizations, so we would reach marginalized groups and encourage them to participate. We will also conduct an initial survey among young people, so we would cover topics that create the most conflicting opinions.
2. After gathering the group and getting the results from survey, we will organize 8 guided walks, 4 thematic debates that would tackle the most conflicting topics in-depth and 6 meetings with young who have emerged from the youth initiative, to prepare them for taking part in decision-making process and the foundation of Youth Councils
3. Next phase of this project is making sure young leaders have taken an active role in making change in their communities. We will reach out to local committees, setting up 3 meetings with the youth initiative and start discussions of young people getting involved in community development. This will get us to the establishment of 3 Youth Councils and much-needed participation of the youth at the local level.
4. We will organize 1 living library and give an opportunity to marginalized groups to speak from their own experiences. We will also organize a focus group with the elderly and the youth, tackling the prejudice they have against one another.

What are the expected results?

This project will tackle 3 main problems youth from Novi Zagreb face: education and mentorship on civic activism, participation of the youth in the decision-making process and inclusion of marginalized groups. By the end of the project, young people will have space for them to get together, get educated on important issues and exchange ideas. This project will impact on founding 3 Youth Councils in 3 local committees, which will give the opportunity to 15 young leaders to emerge from their communities, out of 30 participants who would be involved in theducational part of this project (monthly guided walks, living library and focus group), with at least 10 senior citizens who will be included in focus group, tackling the issue and prejudice of young people being involved in local decisions.

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

The participants of the project will go on guided walks, focusing on places of particular significance to the history of local civic activism. They will gain knowledge about the potentials and importance of the acts of activism, which can stimulate their involvement in the community. Weekly mentoring sessions will give them an opportunity to develop their advocacy skills and learn about the decision-making process and types of decisions that can be made at the local level. Then, the cooperation with the local committees and facilitating their meetings with young people will allow the voice of youth to be directly heard. The project will also provide a space for young people to get together, engage in networking, exchange experiences, ideas and assess the needs they have as a community.

Why is this idea important to you?

Circles Center has been active in the area of Novi Zagreb for 10 years now. During that time, we made excellent cooperation with local committees and had an insight into the lack of young people in these public bodies, which motivated us to empower young people to get engaged. Ramona Rafajec has been working with young people within Circles for 5 years, mainly with international volunteers and NEETs. Nataša Popović is an International Relations student in Zagreb and project coordinator in Circles with many years of experience in working with LGBTI youth and has completed training on human rights, advocacy and political training. Helena Stepić is a Sociology student and an intern in Circles, with volunteering experience in working with young people, mainly focusing on education.

€ 34000,-

Total budget

€ 34000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

26600 - personnel costs
1400 EUR - office expenses
5000 EUR - public relations
1000 EUR - refreshments

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to get any feedback that might upgrade and improve our project idea. We would also like to hear from others who had similar experiences to share the main obstacles and possible problems, in order to find suitable solutions.

Project Journey

No entries yet




Idea created on April 26, 2021

Write comment