This is an archived version of
Transformative Educational Communities | Civic Europe
Global Citizenship Education (GCE)

Transformative Educational Communities

Opportunities and challenges for social transformation based on relationships built in educational communities.


Who is behind this?

Sandra Fernandes

Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira


Who is joining forces?

Polytechnic Institutes - Higher Education Institutions of Beja, Bragança, Santarém and Viana do Castelo


This partnership is composed by FGS and 4 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) integrated in Polytechnic Institutes of 4 different territories of Portugal:Beja, Bragança, Santarém and Viana do Castelo.


Idea pitch

What role do education processes play in building a sense of citizenship? We share the common desire to find ways in which present and future societies can create a citizenship built on educational processes based on democracy and participation. Considering students and local actors as key elements in their communities, we propose a methodological change, by designing plans of action in a collaborative way, where teachers and students are involved in promoting democratic competencies.

Where will your project idea take place?

In 4 decentralized territories: Bragança, Viana do Castelo(north), Santarém(centre) and Beja(south).

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

We are going to work in 4 sparsely populated territories. Although these territories have large differences from each other, their Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are one of the main centres of local development.
Pressured by their peripheral situation, these territories face problems related to democratic participation and awareness of (global) citizenship, specifically young people. Low rates of participation in HEI life and decision and, therefore, in the local community, are a problem that we aim to address. Involving young people in these institutions by promoting collaboration between different actors (teachers, other professionals, students), who usually don't work together as equals, will be important to propose structural changes in the institutions and in the communities.

Who are you doing it for?

It is paramount to reflect on the dimensions of democracy and participation in society. By proposing practices of involvement and collaboration in the educational communities of the different territories, this project aims to work with teachers, students, but also, families and schools connected to HEI and other educational agents, such as NGOs and local associations. The involvement and effective participation of students through collaborative processes alongside teachers, when elaborating the plans of action, will be central for the process. These plans of action will begin by leading diagnosis processes in the four territories.
This will involve, per territory: 40 students;10 Teachers and other professionals of the HEI;Partners in the local community, identified in the diagnosis phase.

How do you plan to get there?

This idea is based on participatory and democratic methodologies and will include:1)Creating a mixed working group on “participation and democracy”, composed by teachers, students and professionals inside each of the 4 institutions, which aims to establish relationships and promote a joint work between these different actors.2)Designing a participative and collaborative diagnosis process (4 in total) in the HEI communities, about democratic and civic participation in the HEI life and territory.3)Developing a collective plan of action (4 on total) that will be carried out in the HEI communities, connecting, when possible, to the rest of the local community. | The 4 territories will have regular meetings, so they can share and organize collectively what has been learned during the process.

What are the expected results?

We expect that these students will be capable and more confident when exposing their ideas and developing actions that have a direct impact on their HEI and local community.
We expect to make a difference in the way superior institutions involve their students, as a structural measure that promotes different teaching and learning methods, as an important step for social transformation of our society. Students and teachers will be capable of working together, contributing for more democratic and participative HEI.
On the long term, we intend that these students, as future teachers and social educators, become key multipliers who are capable of thinking critically and acting together towards a local and global society based on participation, democracy, equity and social justice.

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

Democratic participation and awareness of an active and critical citizenship (focused on the dialectic between local and global issues) among young people are the main challenges identified in order to enhance civic engagement. To address this challenges we will:Promote the involvement of students in the HEI life and their community, through their participation in a diagnosis process, which will allow them to make their voices heard;Promote collaboration between different actors in the HEI: teachers, other professionals, students and families;Create plans of action, designed collaboratively, that establish connections to each local community;Use participative and collaborative methodologies that allow students and the community to learn more about democracy, valuing their own experience.

Why is this idea important to you?

The vision of an holistic profile of higher education students, whose skills comprise not only knowledge and technical competences, but also critical thinking, active citizenship and the understanding of local and global phenomena, valuing equity, sustainability and social justice, is the idea that has brought us together. Challenging different actors from the HEI to work together in a collaborative way, specifically to promote an active role of students, is something unusual in the portuguese panorama, especially in HEI. Having the opportunity to experiment it and share our experience process with others is something that comes to us as crucial, especifically when these experiences are local and based on the challenges posed by each context in a complex and changing world.

€ 89202,-

Total budget

€ 47567,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Project team (7 professionals from 5 institutions) 73 280 EUR (Civic Europe: 35 700 EUR); - Communication 2 300 EUR (Civic Europe: 2 300 EUR);
- Other services 2 100 EUR (Civic Europe: 2 100 EUR);
- Office expenses 1 800 EUR (Civic Europe: 1 800 EUR);
- Travel and accommodation 1 612 EUR (Civic Europe: 1 612 EUR);
- Indirect costs 8 110 EUR (Civic Europe: 4 055 EUR)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How to promote horizontal collaboration between different actors of HEI? How to deal with authority relationships that grow within these institutions? How to evaluate projects that require longer interactions? Why and what for? What could be the fundamental learnings of this kind of process?


Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira

Teresa Gonçalves

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

Write comment