Democracy and participation, Civic education

Civic incubator shortlist

Empowering youth to achieve change in local communities


Who is behind this?

Jasmina Plostajner

Danes je nov dan. Inštitut za druga vprašanja



Idea pitch

Project will empower the youth with skills necessary for campaigning and effective civic participation through implementing 3 campaigns in 3 local communities in Eastern Slovenia that will address specific salient problems in the community. We will help them to engage with local problems and thereby improving the standards of their lives, empowering them to take action, and anchoring them in their local communities.

Where will your project idea take place?

3 local communities (Bela Krajina, Koroška, Savinjsko-Šaleška) in Eastern Slovenia region

What is the local challenge?

The project will take place in Eastern Slovenia, poorer of the 2 Slovenian regions. We will zoom in on 3 localities that can be characterised as “left behind”. These are mostly rural areas, faced by low employment opportunities, and exodus of youth. Youth that live in the region and students that commute weekly are detached from local politics and apatic. Even if they want to get involved locally, they lack knowledge, tools, and local support to do so. Lack of opportunities is feeding apathy, while apathy is further increasing lack of opportunities and low quality of life, creating a vicious circle. With this project we will help them to engage with local problems, thereby improving the standards of their lives, empowering them to take action, and anchoring them in their local communities.

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

The aim of our project is to empower the youth with skills necessary for campaigning and effective civic participation. By implementing this project we will impart knowledge and skills necessary for civic participation on young participants that will stay with them even after the project is finished. Additionally, we will implement 3 campaigns that will address specific salient problems in the community. In the process the young participants will form coalitions with various local groups - crossing political, age, and digital divides, creating new networks between different stakeholders. Therefore, a successful campaign will not only increase the quality of life in the community but it might also encourage and inspire more individuals to become / stay active in the future.

Who are you doing it for?

Our primary target group are the youth between 15 and 30 years old. We plan to engage at least 15 young adults in each of the 3 communities. The indirect target group are firstly all organisations and informal groups the young participants will form coalitions with and secondly the target recipients of the campaigns (might be local politicians, local businesses, the media, citizens or some other group). Part of our project is a public vote and a discussion regarding which local problem we should focus on. This will allow engagement and invite plurality of opinions on what is the biggest / most important problem in the community, which will also inform our campaign later. We will overcome polarisation by focusing on very concrete local problems that are bipartisan.

How do you plan to get there?

1: Initial research and development of workshop plan.
2: First workshop (based on the concept of Service Jams)—our team will lead participants towards identification of local problems and their solutions through presentation of some existing methods, campaigns, and tools. The workshop will finish with a presentation of identified problems and potential solutions.
3: Voting platform for the selection of one problem and solution.
4: Second workshop—participants work on the definition of campaign (or other solution) for selected problem.
5: Our team offers support for the campaign (design, programming, texts, etc.)
6: Third workshop—dissemination of the campaign and additional guidance on how to achieve change (will vary according to identified problem and proposed solution).

What are the expected results?

With the project we wish to develop stronger and more connected local communities rooted in young people that are empowered, actively engaged, and feel like they can enforce change.

Through 9 workshops in 3 different parts of Eastern Slovenia region we will educate at least 45 participants and execute 3 different projects. We aim to: help develop critical thinking skills of participating youth, empower them with knowledge and tools necessary to achieve change in local community, connect different local stakeholders, encourage their civic engagement.

We also expect a spillover effect that is usual for successful stories. Because there is such lack of opportunities in these communities, one positive story can be an important catalyst for more civic engagement and coalition buildin

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Engagement in democratic processes and civic debate in Slovenia is mostly perceived as something that happens on a state level, in urban centers. Additionally, Slovenian society is deeply polarised and divided to left and right-wing supporters.The aim of the project is to move democracy to a local level by educating and empowering the next generation of engaged citizens.

By inviting young people in discussions on their local problems, exposing them to different range of perspectives and ideas through debate, and ensuring their buy-in by actively looking for solutions and executing campaigns to enforce change, we will make chosen local environments more democratic, while also connecting young people into a cohesive group that is not based on their political views or ideologies.

What is your story?

We are very passionate about empowering sections of society that are left behind by politicians and shedding a light on the issues that are important to the local community, but overlooked (or buried) by decision-makers. This project is joining these two aims together. At the same time, it will allow us to work with young people that are passionate about inducing change in society, transfer our knowledge and maybe even offer some possibility of enhancing our network of volunteers. We strongly believe that local decision-making is the pillar or democracy, so we would like to do more projects that help to better it.

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 35000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Staff costs (trainers and general coordination): 14400 EUR
Website for voting and promotion of project: 6000 EUR
Accompanying services for the execution of the campaigns: 9000 EUR
Travel costs: 1000 EUR
Workshop costs (i.e. rental, refreshments, promotion): 1000 EUR
Promotion and dissemination costs: 3600 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would be happy to hear about similar initiatives taking place elsewhere in Europe. Additionally, we are also interested in how we can improve our project to reach and engage even more people, not just youngsters but also other segments of local environments.




Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on Aug. 3, 2020

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