Democracy and participation, Civic education

Engaging Humenne citizens in better governance

Creators

Who is behind this?

Mária Radváková

Občianska agentúra komunitného rozvoja 1317

https://www.facebook.com/pg/oakr1317/about/?ref=page_internal

Slovakia

Who is joining forces?

Civic association ÚzemnéPlány.sk

http://www.uzemneplany.sk/o-portali-uzemneplany-sk

Slovakia


Interactive School of Urbanism and Spatial Planning, n. o.

https://www.facebook.com/isupbb/about/

Slovakia


Idea

Idea pitch

In 2018 Humenne was the least transparent municipality in Slovakia according to the Transparency International. We want to change this by engaging citizens to learn to love town and care about it. This project aims to engage 3 specific groups (youth, elderly, private sector) in civic education about participatory budgets and civic initiatives. They will be mobilised to increase inclusiveness of awarding sub-grants to applicants within the 2021 Municipal Participapatory Budget and Emotional map.

Where will your project idea take place?

Town of Humenne, 33 000 inhabitants in Northeastern Slovakia and outlying villages

What is the local challenge?

The region is struggling with persistent unemployment due to low investment and remoteness. For decades the town of Humenne has been witnessing low turnout in communal elections, non-transparent municipal government as well as inactivity of its citizens reflecting a long history of acute socioeconomic challenges in the region. While these are complex issues to be resolved, our organisation can support citizens to become more active in influencing the investment in the town’s future by fostering better cooperation with the municipality and harnessing creativity and potential of diverse groups of residents and commuters. Including inter-group cooperation between those citizens that traditionally do not mingle, such as Roma youth and non-Roma or businesspersons and civic activists.

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

The main impetus to formally register was the 2018 municipal election, that saw dramatic removal of the Mayor from her post. As our town the least transparent in Slovakia, this was not only the challenge of the municipal government but also limited interest of citizens to actively shape the town’s future, which stems from lacking understanding how they can take part in municipal governance and propose solutions to its many challenges. One-year project can only focus on a specific segment of the public, that and has a high potential to contribute to immediate impact. In addition to the direct action within shaping municipal budgetary processes based on understanding how participatory governance operates, we are also hoping that the project will increase civic initiatives by various groups.

Who are you doing it for?

The project will target youth, including Roma and non-Roma girls and boys /50+/,senior citizens /50+/and owners of business located in Humenne (10). These main target groups include both residents and commuters, i.e. people who travel to Humenne for work, education and other local services. While we do not consider the municipal parliament members as a direct target group, we aim to include them /25/ in project activities to improve cooperation with target groups. We believe that the target groups have a lot to offer - their time, particular skills and unique perspectives, while the owners of private companies are vital for town but our challenge will be to support them in increasing their local community interest. We hope engaging way of working motivates local deputies to see benefits.

How do you plan to get there?

We identified 3 inter-connected intervention strategies to build mutually beneficial relationship of selected citizens groups and the town of Humenne:1) Non-formal education on civic participation, municipal governance, representation, involvement in a municipal participatory budget by engaging youth (also Roma), elderly and private sector alongside current municipal deputies; followed by subgrants for target groups.2) Dialogue on the criteria and the process of developing and implementing a municipal participatory budget between citizens and the municipal government to increase its inclusiveness and transparency that will be applies to the 2021 Participatory Budget;3) Experience of joint civic initiatives (learning & 2021 Emotional Map) that encourages working across divides and barriers.

What are the expected results?

Following 1-year intervention we are aiming to see:
1) Higher knowledge of targeted youth (including Roma youth), elderly, private sector and municipal deputies about transparent and inclusive municipal governance;
2) Higher knowledge of the target group to design a civic intervention and other associated skills with expert and voluntary contributions (e.g. elderly IT competencies taught by volunteer youth);
3) Civic interventions by target groups
4) Revised criteria and the process of budget allocation for civic interventions within the 2021 Municipal Participatory Budget that demonstrates a high degree of inclusiveness and transparency;
5) 2021 Emotional Map of Humenne designed with broad-based citizens’ participation, including specific target groups.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Citizenship is a mutual relationship and responsibility.We cannot only expect something;we also need to give.Participation, for us, is taking the role of citizens in democracy seriously. It is the foundational value this country won in 1989 by fighting the oppressive paternalistic state that only catered to the interests of the elite.Our organisation and this project now build on the legacy of 1989 - fighting for inclusive democracy and space for all citizens to shape the future of their village, their town, their social group, the entire country and a democratic Europe that we so proudly (re)entered.Our initiative promotes informed and active citizenship that believes in social progress through cooperation and learning. It fights demagogy and bullishness that we've been witnessing lately.

What is your story?

Our idea is based on long-term observation, discussions, direct experience of life in Humenné. Organisation strives to stimulate active engagement of the people who live in and commute to Humenne.We reject doomsday predictions that remote towns far away from the main hubs have no future, and only face more and more out-migration.Through 7 priorities (participation, self-government, public spaces, greenery in the town, sport in the town, employment and volunteerism) we have identified for us, we believe we can mobilise people of all ages, ethnicities (Slovaks, Roma, Ruthenians) and walks of life to contribute to improving life here and around. We cannot do it by ourselves. Mission is continue develop local and national linkages and build on successes of other initiatives and municipalities.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Contribution to office running costs: 3,600
Contribution to project manager salary: 6,600
Contribution towards finance manager salary: 2,000
Capacity building trainings and other meetings: 11,600
Public campaigns and other communication costs: 4,200
Sub-grants for target groups (3): 15,000
Emotional map: 7,000
Indirect cost: 12,200 EUR (24%)
Direct cost: 37,800 EUR (76%)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Should we be successful, we would welcome expert suggestions on engaging groups from remote towns affected by limited socio-economic opportunities. We collected experience from Slovakia, it would be useful to get access to lessons learnt in urban management and dealing with particular issues

Team

Občianska agentúra komunitného rozvoja 1317

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

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