PRONI - Info Centre for Youth Vukovar
Green Network of Activist Groups (ZMAG)
Technical School Nikola Tesla
Satelit (with Croatian Permaculture, pioneering NGO founded in 1995) is a team of experienced educators on integrative sustainability and participatory teamwork. Contribution: participatory leadership
Vukovar in Croatian means sacrifice, war memories, divided community tied up to the past. Past engulfs the present tightly as 2021 marks 30 years since the city fell.
Mindful of unhealed wounds our group explores a chance to open up a bit more space, a few more hearts to tackle challenges of present-future:climate/biodiversity crisis, consumerist culture, outdated economic model. Our learning circle of community leaders is to co-create a vision: an ecological & peaceful renaissance for Vukovar
Vukovar, Eastern Croatia, confluence of Vuka and Danube rivers
In 1991 Vukovar went from being one of the most prosperous cities in ex-Yugoslavia to bomb shelled rubble devoid of what makes a city. In the words of Siniša Glavašević, Vukovar’s last standing journalist, “The City, that is You.” Silence that followed is still felt.
Many returned. Many didn’t. Next generation grew up with the burden of loss and the weight of belonging to conflicted groups.
November 2021 will mark 30 years since the city fell. Reflections of past dominate and very often cloud the challenges of today and tomorrow. Climate change is felt already, with droughts and floods hitting the region. Ways defined by a consumerist culture don’t support the development of sustainable lifestyle. People’s focus is on the past and there is not enough capacity to deal with what’s coming.
According to the 2011 census 27,683 people live in Vukovar. Before the war the population was ethnically mixed while now Croatian and Serbian groups are dominant groups. Some parts of industry recovered but unemployment is still high, especially among young people. For them it is often difficult to find means to stay. Conflicts motivated by national differences still occur.
Our project will focus mostly on young community leaders and young people with leadership potential. We want to give them a chance to learn about the challenges our world faces today and to build their capacity to respond to them.
It is important to stress that our intention is to foster conversation of resilience and adaptation to a changing environment. Not to impose any kind of external reconciliation practices.
Our walk will take us through four stages of the implementation:
I - INCEPTION PHASE
We will set up team communication and project management protocols. We will define a communication strategy and activity timeline. We will establish contacts with all community stakeholders and external collaborators.
II - LEARNING PHASE
Based on the input provided by PRONI and Nikola Tesla school, with their support Tatavaka, ZMAG and Satelit will design a 5-month educational program. It will focus on local action for responding to climate crisis, forming a vision of a common, sustainable future for Vukovar and gaining management and communication skills needed for translating this vision into concrete community actions. Agroecology will be a prominent theme as food is a connecting factor for people.
III - ACTION PHASE
In learning phase at least 3 groups will be formed, defined by participants needs and interests, around specific climate action themes they chose. Groups will work on implementing their plans, supported by the project team. A toolkit will be devised, documenting the process and providing additional resources for the groups.
IV - REFLECTION PHASE
We will gather for a final event presenting the results of all 3 (or more) direct actions undertaken. Aside from a public event (in accordance with health situation) we will do a reflection circle to evaluate our work.
RESULTS MANIFESTING CHANGE:
• 20 community leaders (majority under 35) gained insight into main challenges of our time complemented by basic skills for responding to them
• at least 3 meaningful and concrete community climate actions prepared and implemented
• at least 50 school children educated on basics of climate change
• 1 toolkit for tackling climate change locally designed and published
• results of local projects presented to at least 80 people from Vukovar and local/regional/national decision-makers
LONGTERM CHANGE: A common vision for a path towards a sustainable future gave inspiration and hope to people, leading to greater engagement in community life. Young leaders bring innovating projects and work together to achieve a peaceful and ecological renaissance in Vukovar.
Focusing primarily on youth, our educational programme is devised with the pivotal purpose of building self-confidence by giving youth a solid ground of skills and experience to stand on.
Participants will get a better understanding of climate crisis marking our time through the Climate Collage game as a collaborative process. They will map the resources of Vukovar community using tools such as “8 Kinds of Community Wealth” and devise strategies on how to protect them through the Fresco of Ecological Renaissance. They will analyse stakeholders influencing local policies shaping their local ecosystem.
They will put this knowledge to use through their own community actions and we will together distil the experience we went through into a manual for tackling climate change on a local level
Our team is a mix of people from Vukovar and other small communities thematically linked to sustainability issues we work on:
Ivana and Dubravka (Tatavaka): 15+ years in project management/(non-)formal education
Goran (PRONI): 20+ years in PRONI & Vukovar Youth Centre
Veljko and Ana (Satelit): (inter)national project and learning experience in sustainability of small rural places
Drazen (ZMAG): 20+ years of research and innovation in regenerating social and food production relationships
Maja (Nikola Tesla school): extensive experience in management of schools’ ecological projects
What brought us together is a sense of hope, grounded in experience we gathered in all of our communities. We have a track record in change making and a seed of vision of a sustainable future in Vukovar.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 25000 EUR
Salaries of team members, all project partners (%)
External services costs: 3000 EUR
Subcontracted external experts (e.g. design of visual identity, collaborators).
Travel costs: 3000 EUR
Costs of travel and stay in Vukovar over 12 months of the project, incl. rent of premises.
Local actions costs: 7000 EUR
Costs of implementing actions devised by community groups.
Communication and administration costs: 7000 EUR
Public events, communication, admin.
We grow through feedback and learning. For this reason, we would be grateful to get advice and experience from the Civic Europe "living practice of democracy" community. Most concretely, we would love to hear the experiences of organisations working in divided, post-conflict communities.