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Challenging Youth | Civic Europe
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

Road to impact

Chat and art

Becoming artiststs step by step


centarkrugovi on Nov. 14, 2022
Impact Story

Last swap party

Last swap party for closing up the project good practices


centarkrugovi on Nov. 14, 2022
Impact Story

Last walk in neigbourhood

Last organised walk- meet your neigbourhood :)


centarkrugovi on Nov. 2, 2022
Take this idea!

Design thinking worksop

Youth learnt new method and also made a lot of great ideas what chan be changed and how in local community


centarkrugovi on Oct. 25, 2022
Road to impact

Meeting with Civic Europe team

We had a short meeting, lunch and met together in Circles and center of Zagreb :)


centarkrugovi on Oct. 25, 2022
Road to impact

Connecting with other youth organisations

Making collaboration and future plans 2 days of connection with Croation Youth Network


centarkrugovi on Oct. 25, 2022
Road to impact

Connecting youth


centarkrugovi on Oct. 25, 2022
Road to impact

Paint and chat outdoor

Paint and chat group joined for action in painting in the neigbourhood 


centarkrugovi on Oct. 17, 2022
Road to impact

Prevention for health

Again we included elderly to join forces and take challenge! This time topic was prevention of lung diseases and mental health in elder ages


centarkrugovi on Oct. 14, 2022
Join forces!

Non verbal communication

Workshops in high school- peer support and education to understan communication better


centarkrugovi on Oct. 14, 2022
Take this idea!

Day of elder people

We celebrated the day of elderly and promoted healthy lifestile and care for the health by measuring blood pressure and promoting psichoterapy- on the center of Zagreb


centarkrugovi on Oct. 6, 2022
Road to impact

Walking and learning

Second walk and meeting the urbanistic developement of the Novi Zagreb. How the idea of urbanistic mindset was developed, learn about history of arhitecture and meet your neigbourhood form the new point of view


centarkrugovi on Oct. 6, 2022
Take this idea!

Make a new friend

Avoid alienation and make new friends via games like on speed date

centarkrugovi on Oct. 6, 2022
Road to impact

Bringing colours again

We are painting again :)


centarkrugovi on Oct. 6, 2022

Team building

One weekend in the nature, joining forces, connecting and making 3 teams of local community- 3 young presidents of local changes.

It was fun and active, and finally we made without the rain :)



centarkrugovi on Oct. 4, 2022
Road to impact

Chat and art

Making art and recycling :)

Every friday we make meeting and different art techniques and at the end we will make exhibition


centarkrugovi on Sept. 21, 2022
Take this idea!

Spread the tolerance

We organised the event with primary school children, local community and volunteers from association with donated colours and painted the flower jardineres in the neigbourhood to spread the idea of tolerance and differency.

The event will take more actions, cause the rain stoped us 


centarkrugovi on Sept. 21, 2022
Road to impact

Living library

living library about marginalised groups and inclusion


centarkrugovi on Sept. 13, 2022
Take this idea!

art and chat

we started every week workshop- art and chat to connect youth and prepare art matherial for exibition at the end of the project


centarkrugovi on Sept. 13, 2022
Road to impact

Planning team building for youth

During summer we are planning team building for youth in mountain resort near Velebit.

Also, we are planning creative human library, art and chat workshops, walk in Novi Zagreb,...


centarkrugovi on Aug. 23, 2022
Impact Story

Mindfulness workshop

During summer we organised Mindfulness workshop on open space. Workshop was combined with sustainable food story


centarkrugovi on July 20, 2022
Impact Story

Intergenerational solidarity

we held education for elder people from Botinac about the consequences of COVID, in collaboration with the young doctor Lorena Bosnar. The activity was created as intergenerational solidarity for older fellow citizens, as part of which we measured blood pressure, as a prevention of other diseases.


centarkrugovi on July 14, 2022
Heroines and heroes

Summer camp for youth- local leaders

Planing the trip and accomodation, food, transport

making open call for participation

sharing the event

planining the training and activities

centarkrugovi on July 8, 2022
Road to impact

Collaboration with primary school- planning new year

In collaboration with high school youth and primary school Mladost, we had meetings about workshops for youngsters 13 and 14 years old. Workshops about communication, confidence and non violence programme will be led by young motivator form high school in small groups.

- made the idea

- meetings

- making the questionare for youth

- making plans for new school year


centarkrugovi on July 8, 2022
Road to impact

Community meeting Maribor

We participated on the Community meeting in Maribor

- recconect with other youth organisations

-exchange succes and ideas

- deal to collaborate on projects in future

- plan the rest of the project

- got new motivation and ideas


centarkrugovi on July 8, 2022

Working with youngstens and teachers- closing the school year

After the simulation of local elections we had closing up sessions, meetings:

- we gave certificates to youth

- meetings with youth

- 7 youngsters joined INmusic festival (sponsor of the program)

- meetings with professor from faculty

- certificates and thanks to the high school professors

- communication about professional adaptation of the script for training

- meetings and future planning


centarkrugovi on July 8, 2022
Road to impact

Summer excercising on open space

We wanted to organise free healty time for youngsters and elderly- by activating youth to lead exercises on the open space


centarkrugovi on July 8, 2022

Manifestation: neighbors in the neighborhood, fun at the start

promoting activities from other association, sport, art, theatre and agriculuture activities for all ages- Circles in collaboration with local government, artists, schools, kindergarten and associations

charity activities- collecting donations for help usesrs suffering from cancer


centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Heroines and heroes

Exhibition of high scool students- neigbourhood though my eyes

centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Join forces!

Making the youth mural

we founded artist volunteers and got donated colours and agree with local government to paing the walls in sports center. Volunteers joined other youth to help paint the idea


centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Join forces!

Guided walk- meet my neigbourhood

Organised with Museum of modern art in Zagreb and young student of urban arhitecture who guided throught the 5 neigbourhoods: Utrina, Zapruđe, Središće, Dugave, Travno


centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Heroines and heroes

Making the tree of solidarity

Giving the skills from older to the youngest in primary school and creating the tree of solidarity after 2 months of workshops


centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Take this idea!

Swap party

We organised swap party: you tube story



spring qouiz failed acording to the covid measures are not restriced and youth spend more time outside 

centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Heroines and heroes

Making changes- Organisation of Simulation of local celection for youth

Students from faculty of political sciences an journalism, sociology with high school students- made presentations and training of 2 days for political awareness and simulate whole process of local government selections

tv story:


Simulation training photos:

challenging video:

centarkrugovi on May 13, 2022
Road to impact

Guided walks throught the project

1. Meetings with professors from 6 schools in Zagreb

2. Invitation for pupils:

3. Instagram page for simulation of local selection:

4. Meeting with students from Faculty of Political Science, who will be in the simulation team and recording for tv- guided walk through the simulation- 1 part (and every friday till 23. and 24 od April)


5. Multigenerational walk through energisers and youth work:

6. Workshop fot the potography- guided walk

centarkrugovi on March 8, 2022

Youth are participating

In Februray we made a great impact and realise to make youth participation:

1. We organised second neigbourhood quiz- where youth participated in organisation too:

2. Created working group of youth, professors from university and schools in creating idea: educating and activating youth in political literacy

- starting organising simulation of elections for politicians

- including of high school students and university students

3. Guided walk: Non verbal education in organisation of high school student:

4. Making the change in local area: connection with sport associations, local community and artist/activist- starting to organise day of neighboors in May

centarkrugovi on Feb. 15, 2022
Road to impact

First neigbourhood quiz

First impact on local community it to gather youth together and to organise some event (according to the questionare- what youth need in local community and what they need to change- 80 % youth reported lack of place to meet and spend some creative and useful time together). 

We had 3 meetings with group of youth and decide to make local quiz. Youth participated in creating questions; making promotion (included newspapers, radio station); creating matherials for social network: Instagram.

We also organised one meeting with policy makers on 23. 12. 2021. and visited abandoned place in Utrina, Novi Zagreb. This place is refuge place in Zagreb, in case of war or natural disaster. In this moment, place is damaged with moisture, bad heating and with ownership issues for space use. Place is very big and we are in procedure for finding solution will this place be availabe in future- so youth can decorate it and use for meetings.


centarkrugovi on Jan. 10, 2022
Road to impact

First month

We managed to collaborate with youth- invited them to fullfil the questionare, made presentation on Faculty Of Zagreb- Sociology on NGO (name of collegium), made one meeting with the presenter of local community Novi Zagreb and agreed for participation in High schools and one Pupils home (still waiting for the first date of meeting). Via questionare we have 8 participants willing to participate in local change. Also, we printed T shirts and made one online event for promoting mental health of youth (in collaboration with Network for Youth Croatia).

YOU TUBE MOVIE: mental health Open conference about mental health of youth in Zagreb, with other associations who are the part of Croatian youth network


QUESTIONARE FOR YOUTH_ what can be changed in local community



centarkrugovi on Dec. 7, 2021




Idea created on April 26, 2021

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