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EMPOWER: From Need to Action | Civic Europe
Social inclusion, Youth participation and empowerment

EMPOWER: From Need to Action

Empowerment of vulnerable groups, through soft skills, tools and capacities to identify local problems, design projects and implement local activities in a holistic, collaborative and sustainable way.


Who is behind this?

Henrique Antunes

CXJV - Conexão Jovem Associação



Idea pitch

The inclusion of vulnerable groups (migrants, minorities, and socially excluded) is frequently done by external people, from outside the community. We believe that true change, efficient and sustainable, can only happen if it comes from within the community. For that reason, our project aims at empowering and raising the capacities of these groups so that they can be the agents of change in their communities, from soft skills, to problem identification until project design and implementation.

Where will your project idea take place?


What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The main challenge is to give a voice to vulnerable groups These groups are inside a cycle that is difficult to break. We identify a lack of confidence and self-esteem that hinders their development and active citizenship. Society doesn’t support them nor offer them opportunities to thrive, which leads to more exclusion, more hate and more discrimnation, rather than inclusion.
Our project aims to empower these groups so that they can have a more active role in society. We want to give them the tools, the skills, the competences, and therefore the confidence, for them to contribute to the region with self-developed projects. It will raise their capacities, promote their inclusion, raise trust on these groups, enhance their skills and provide them with personal and professional abilities

Who are you doing it for?

The key target group of our project are all the socially excluded groups of our community, from migrants to ethnic minorities and other socially excluded groups, such as people living in the periphery, people with economical obstacles as well as people with obstacles regarding education, culture, and even mental or physical disabilities. Our focus will be given to the youth sector in these scenarios, taking into account also youngs in a NEET situation, not employed nor in training or education. Nonetheless, we will focus in including people who cannot thrive due to this ongoing wheel of hate and exclusion that keeps these groups from achieving success.

How do you plan to get there?

This project will be implemented in 7 phases/activities:
Dissemination of the project in local entities and sessions with local communities (target audience). Dissemination in Social Networks.
Constitution of 4 project groups, from different communities (7to10 elements) and schedule of actions with each group that will be empowered with training-action.
3-day bootcamp to create a relationship between the members of the group, develop soft skills, identify community problems and resources, identify potential solutions and start planning.
Complementary training: Weekly meetings (3 months) to develop strategies for implementing, managing and monitoring programmed actions. Creation of online groups to monitor, share and suport.
Follow-up: Biweekly meetings (6 months) to strengthen relationships and mitigate conflicts, deepen softskils and management skills, monitoring and evaluation tools for ongoing actions. Online groups continue.
Final meeting with all groups: 2 days of sharing, reflection, evaluation and celebration of the individual and collective path developed. Preparation of the next steps for each project and preparation of the final public presentation.
Final public session with local, public and private organizations, and society in general, promoted by local groups to share the results and with inspiring moments for future replicating actions with their peers.

What are the expected results?

At the end of the project we will have a more cohesive community and less stereotypes and prejudices about these groups. Youngsters will be more confident and empowered to take action in order to promote the changes they need to, and will be role models in their community and major society. They will be able to identify and understand their problems, design projects and implement activities to support the inclusion of their groups/other vulnerable groups. They will show their potential, to collaborate with the community they live in, and show how much value they bring to society, deconstructing the negative stereotypes and prejudice that society has brought upon them. As individuals, they will grow, personally and professionally, and we will be promoting and supporting inclusion.

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

The communities involved will be going through validated methodologies and will be learning on how to identify problems and how to be, themselves, the agents of change they want to see happening. With new skills and specific tools they will be able to make their own decisions.This will substantially strengthen their active citizenship and give them a voice. In parallel, they will be in permanent dialogue with the decision makers on a political level, as they will make their diagnoses and their projects known to local political decision-makers, who will accompany the all process and help to promote the change of these communities, enhancing the future sustainability of these actions.

Why is this idea important to you?

For years, we have been involved in social intervention projects with vulnerable groups and we are aware of the needs and potential of the youngest. Most projects impose a change on vulnerable groups, but our experience leads us to believe that change has to come from within and that collaborative work, that helps personal grouth, strengthen the communities and respect the planet, it's the best way.
Henrique Antunes, president and Project Manager at Conexão Jovem, is a social entrepreneur, trainer and facilitator on the topics of migration and social inclusion for European networks since 2012. Virginia is a sociologist, with 20 years experience in design, implementation and evaluation of social projects, specialized in social tools, entrepreneurship and sustainable collaborative work.

€ 35355,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

For dissemination, initial training, complementary training, mentoring, final meeting and public session, we estimate:

Training development: 19650€
Financial and administrative costs: 3000€
Equipment and consumables: 6000€
Food and Accommodation:4705€
Travel: 1200€
Space rental: 800€

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

All ideas and feedback are welcome! This is a project we wanted to implement for a while now so all the feedback is a great benefit for its implementation.



Idea created on April 25, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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