Community development, Social inclusion

Community activation through volunteering

Local grassroots initiative as a simple path to significant changes

Creators

Who is behind this?

Robert Biały

Fundacja Edukacji Nowoczesnej

http://www.fen.net.pl

Poland

Who is joining forces?

Fundacja Laboro

https://www.facebook.com/FundacjaLaboro/

Poland


Both FEN and Laboro are experienced, know each other and have a similar range of activities. In addition, Laboro brings together people who know the region and problems perfectly.

Idea

Idea pitch

Our objective is to activate the local community by building resources and eliminating barriers. The emerging problem of Suchowola town and area is lack of ability in local initiative participation. About 20 inhabitants of Suchowola, who will take up the challenge of creating a volunteer group involved in neighborly assistance and activation, are our target group. Participants' activities will be a tailored response to the problems that will be agreed upon at meetings organized in the Day Room.

Where will your project idea take place?

Suchowola town (Podlaskie Voivodeship) in the north-eastern part of Poland.

What is the local challenge?

The main problem of the region that we try to solve is a sustained difficult access to local life participation and limited opportunities of social communication, concerning especially poor and disabled people being stigmatized. Agricultural character of the region and remoteness form larger agglomerations have also results in low education level, low self-esteem and poverty. This creates barriers for many inhabitants at the level of as basic needs as getting to the doctor or even shopping. In response to these challenges, project participants as part of voluntary activities will stimulate the local community and organize mutual assistance based on the individual needs of residens.

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

Our idea strengthens democracy and active citizenship in simple and natural ways. We put emphasis on grassroot initiative of the individuals. Neighborly help, which can be shopping as an example. Volunteers organizing integration meetings, which is an excellent opportunity to activate the local community. The group's mentor helps in setting substantive goals that the group wants to achieve. In addition, group meetings with a psychologist strengthen participants' willingness to act and increase their knowledge of social psychology and the functioning of the individuals in a society. Through such activities we are able to implement the basic assumptions of democracy such as inclusiveness and equality, minority rights and the individual's ability to participate fully and freely in a society.

Who are you doing it for?

Our target group are people from the town of Suchowola and nearest area. The participants will be about 20 people who show willingness to take up a volunteer initiative. They are yough, adults and seniors, so they can equally represent different groups and influence each other. We are focused on people who are less visible in the public sphere, often overlooked in discussions, reducing their involvement in public life. Volunteering is a good solution for them, as it doesn't require large money, significant resources or extensive structures. A way to reach project participants will be to publish information on this subject at the local institutions.

How do you plan to get there?

We will carry out a number of activities related to the social activation initiative. Two volunteer groups (each of about 10 people) will be created with an assigned mentor. In the substantive part, the mentor's task is to create together with the participants a detailed plan of the group's activity by finding the most important topic that they can deal with during the project. In addition, participants will hold both - group and individual meetings with a psychologist, on which topics related to social psychology and interpersonal communication will be raised. In the practical part, taken actions will be based on the previously agreed and tailored schedules.

What are the expected results?

The main result is the creation of local support network by the participants, based on mutual neighborly assistance. The project will promote the volunteering idea by helping in personalized needs of the reciepients such as poor, lonely and disabled persons. Volunteers will independently undertake these actions, which will result in increasing their interpersonal resources and shaping volunteer attitude - this will directly influence the willingness of the community to cooperate and to unite.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Democracy is associated with maturity in decision making. Tolerance is a respect for other people's views and behaviors. Both concepts function together - can be seen in voluntary activities. Shaping tolerance is worth starting at the local level - it gives a high probability of success. Difference, otherness - it is often associated with something worse. This is due to a lack of knowledge about the subject of otherness. Lack of knowledge does not absolve us from being intolerant. Volunteering activities aimed at helping people who are socially excluded, e.g. through disability or poverty, are designed to raise awareness of tolerance and teach how to make mature, conscious decisions, which is an integral part of large scale democracy.

What is your story?

The support of local communities is extremely important for us, because we understand and see the problems that can be found in small towns, far away from the opportunities that powerful agglomerations provide. One of the many crucial problems is the inability to take action within your own place. By giving the right tool to implement such an initiative, we can be sure that it will be well used. We love helping people, knowing also that we are unable to reach every mind and every heart. For this reason, we know how important it is to take initiatives by people themselves, talk about their problems and try to solve them in the most appropriate ways.

€ 30000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 30000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Office and administrative cost: 10000 EUR
Travel and accommodation cost: 2000 EUR
Mentor cost: 5000 EUR
Psyhologist cost: 5000 EUR
Event promotion cost: 2000 EUR
Funds for volunteer activities: 5000 EUR
Christmas meeting as a summary: 1000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to compare our experience with online community sharing different points of view. Although we are about individualisation of needs and tailored solutions, it is crucial to have possibly broad view. We are curious how such activities work in other countries considering your experience.

Team

FEN

dkrasocka

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

Write comment