Democracy and participation, Civic education

Civic Diet. Democracy needs citizens

How to exercise rights, how to take care of community, how to scrutinise actions of government, how to enjoy freedom? Democracy needs citizens who will practice it constantly throughout their lives.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Róża Rzeplińska

Stowarzyszenie 61

http://www.MamPrawoWiedziec.pl

Poland

Idea

Idea pitch

We citizens focused ourselves on everyday tasks and have given up on creating democracy.
We allowed ourselves to believe in the promises of politicians, who claimed they will organize our countries well. In the meantime, they began to break the rules, while we lost the knowledge about democracy. We aim at civil education of adults, 30-40 years old. We will conduct: 50 workshops with groups across Poland/design manuals of basic rules of democracy/encourage further actions by on-line animating.

Where will your project idea take place?

Cities in Poland with up to 100.000 citizens, e.g. Sieradz, Siedlce, Hajnówka, Jelenia Góra.

What is the local challenge?

Medium-sized cities in Poland have experienced downsizing in number of jobs as well as a high rate of financial emigration, separation of families for economic reasons, lack of feeling of safety, distrust towards strangers, a lack of job and development perspectives for young people. It causes the average age in these cities to higher than in larger. The electoral code limits the number of terms for the mayor to 10 years since only 3 years ago. The un-changeability of governance fostered creation of local apparatuses and the feeling among inhabitants that “nothing can be changed”.
Our project teaches how to utilize basic tools in order to regain the feeling of agency, try to realize personal ideas, criticize the administration where they deserve it and engage others to cooperate.

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

In Poland, we are experiencing a crisis of the idea of an active citizen, taking on challenges and accepting responsibility for the community. It corresponds with the lack of feeling of sense of undertaken activities and with fear of engaging others to cooperation.
Our project utilizes basic tools in working with citizens in order to engage them in:
50, 4 hour workshops for 15-20 particip., consisting of a discussion of the competences of the local gov, practicing a scenario of acting to solve a particular local problem, online citizens’ help books with specific further steps to /introduce a change in the local community, and sustaining the engagement through online contact. The success of the project will be defined by achieving a minimum of 25 micro activities by local activists.

Who are you doing it for?

We will accept applications to the workshops from groups of at least 25 people. We are planning to run 2 workshops in every place: schools, universities, workplaces and among senior citizens. We will run recruitment through the announcement on Facebook, on the website issued by our association (www.mamprawowiedziec.pl), and through direct applications to the selected subjects. We will take care for gender parity during the workshop and we will choose the groups from various locations. We are not going to run our workshops only in one big city or in particular voivodeship. We will visit at least 4 voivodeships and we will run 25% of our workshops in the towns with population lower 50 thousands of inhabitants.

How do you plan to get there?

Recruitment of participants.
Preparing workshops with coachers.
Workshops – conducted by two educations in the form of a lecture, an educational simulation and a discussion. Simulations allow to teach through action. Their aim is to imitate various experiences and events. During the discussion the participants consider possible initiatives in the neighbourhood. They discuss different forms of civic activities. The exercise is aimed at creating a common project. They look for partners and plan promotion.
The campaign activist integrates participants into the networks of the recipients of our content, communicates, encourages activism, advises on how to act, and promotes successes in social media.

What are the expected results?

The recipients will be able to design social initiatives, which they have the will and ability realize. They will know i.a. how to plan their activities, where to look for partners, and what benefits come from civic projects. They will be able to encourage other to cooperate and co-create their initiatives, as well. All these elements foster activism and civic support, as well as demonstrate the power of self organization. Our workshops fill the need for the feeling of responsibility for the common good among citizens. Additionally, they create ground for sustainable development, with respect to all members of the community.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

All over Europe, democracy stands on the verge. In the latest times, its fragility was influenced by the migration crisis, Brexit campain, brakeup the community idea, by introducing authoritarian govs, or, finally by the uncertainty of economic repercussions of COVID-19. The disintegration of bonds within UE is accompanied by the lack of trust towards information, misunderstanding of the aims of the politicians, as well as the effectives of campaigns promoting radical views and opposing the ideas of UE community.
“Civic Diet” contributes in a small yet significant way to the building of knowledge and bonds in local communities. The trust established in the closest surroundings, with the option of experiencing the activities of others, is an initiative that supports democracy in Europe.

What is your story?

We don’t want to just be receivers of what political PR specialists prepare for us. We dream about voters’ campaigns, in which the citizens are able to collectively formulate their postulates and effectively ask questions: to themselves - what is important to me; to politicians – how are you willing to cooperate with me?
We do not give in to negative opinions which portray Poles as passive and distrustful. The work with citizens in Poland is our way of contributing to building a civic society, to breaking the mutual animosity of Polish citizens, and a way of building community.
We do not divide citizens to better or worse. We begin with an assumption that we all lack experience in cooperation and want to learn it together.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

modernization of the workshop scenario: €1000€ x 1 = €1 000,00
campaign activist: €1600 x 10 month = €16 000,00
workshop (treners, accomodation): €500 x 50 = €25 000,00
training and evaluation: €500 x 1 = €500,00
materials: €500 x 1 = €500,00
promotion: €200 x 1 = €200,00
administrative costs: €500 x 1 = €500,00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Critical, honest remarks and questions - why do we do it and what will we have together?

Team

roza.rzeplinska

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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