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FRagile to AGILE Community (R)Evolution | Civic Europe
Community development

FRagile to AGILE Community (R)Evolution

Community regeneration through civic education and participatory engagement, learning from the past through common heritage valorization to build resilience and co-create sustainable local future


Who is behind this?

Sonja-Barbara Bader

Initiative/future NGO for sustainable community development based on local heritage


Who is joining forces?

Municipality of Ližnjan-Lisignano


Tourist board of Ližnjan-Lisignano


Association Comunita' degli Italiani di Sissano / Italian Community of Sisan


NGO Zvona i Nari, / NGO Istarsko-Ekomuzej iz Vodnjana, / Elementary school M. Demarin Ližnjan/Šišan, Elementary school G. Martinuzzi Šišan


Idea pitch

To reduce division and isolation, residents, NGOs, local government and institutions as local stakeholders need to learn and start co-creating sustainable development contexts. We'll work together, facilitate and promote cross-sectoral bridges and cohesion through a 1st ever citizens engagement academy and 3generational design/use of community regeneration solutions based on local heritage. Personal growth, sense of belonging, participatory engagement will lead to a resilient, smart community.

Where will your project idea take place?

Ližnjan Municipality, its 5 settlements and 4.500 residents in south-east Istria, Croatia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

It is time to give democracy in our area a real chance! In post-communist Croatia, still a young democracy, there is stagnation in local level development. Ližnjan Municipality was established 27 years ago. Residents can vote at national/local elections every 4 years. The turnout is always below 50%. They rarely participate in proposed discussions, never initiate them. Local committees were dissolved by the Municipality, due to members' passivity. A feeling of non-belonging and isolation is especially strong in peripheral settlements gravitating toward Pula-regional center. The Italian minority living in one of the villages is focused on itself. A few active NGOs, young people with no interest in activism, cohesion still an abstraction, that is the „civic desert“ reality we want to change.

Who are you doing it for?

Our partnership is designed to easily reach target groups: 1) Elementary school, 1-4th grade children, families and teachers (2 schools, 4 teachers, 100 children, 300 residents), 2) 5-10 locally based NGOs, 20-40 members, 3) 10-20 municipal employees, officials, 4) 10-30 residents in 5 settlements creating and implementing 3-5 small initiatives, 5) 15-30 participants of the citizens engagement academy, 6) 1 national minority (Italian), 10-20 members, 7) general public informed during the project duration–South Istria region, 5-10.000. Project activities will be jointly organized by the partners in public or NGOs' venues and schools. Guided and facilitated interaction will enable (renewed) dialogue and understanding, different voices to be heard, sparking social change and cohesion.

How do you plan to get there?

All year: Partners meetings. New NGO mentoring, support. Information campaign. Professional filming of project's documentary. 1.½year: kick off events introducing the project & hearing residents' voices; civic engagement academy (CEA) - modular training program; activities with schools/residents–workshops, assignments, meetings and on-line (social media) collection/sharing (photo, documents, stories). 2.½year: CEA participants & project team meet & work with residents on small local initiatives based on their needs. Partners prepare project results. Final event: documentary cinema screening, project results' presentation & dissemination-exhibition of children & residents works, produced publications about project (for children and community), „New local champions CEA graduation ceremony“.

What are the expected results?

The new NGO is now independent and working on future projects, collaboration being its motto. Project partners, team members have gained new knowledge and experience; have formed a durable alliance for sustainable local development. CEAcademy empowered new community champions who developed, implemented and presented with residents new small initiatives. Results of schools/residents collaboration: 3generational knowledge transfer, as approach/tool for different issues; exhibitions, publications, digital materials' collection-concrete and lasting achievements that empowered all involved and encourage new engagement and participation. With the documentary, all serve as inspiration. Democracy, civic engagement, cohesion are charting the course for our community's journey towards new horizons.

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

The opportunity to solve local development stagnation is now. We're committed to create synergies starting with local actors' capacity building, addressing their lack of knowledge on ways of developing and supporting activities in the community. Awakening interest and empowering residents and NGOs will bring fresh locally rooted and oriented perspectives to the table. We're excited about a 1st ever citizens engagement academy possibly taking place in our territory. The same goes for new initiatives that will be implemented thereafter. Involving isolated and disinterested residents and the youngest among us by focusing on heritage, the core of our common identity, in which the spark of social cohesion and participation lie, will help build healthy foundations for our community's new life.

Why is this idea important to you?

In light of the COVID-19 crises, we understand even bigger ones are ahead. We believe the only way for a community to become resilient is to activate civil society and citizens in decision-making, empower all stakeholders developing their ability to cooperate towards sustainable solutions and actions. We are confident that cultural diversity and heritage are two sides of the same coin, a real opportunity for community connection, understanding, regeneration and development. This concept is behind our shared vision and energy, motivating us to start this grassroots social innovation initiative to find local champions in all generations and form new cross-sectoral alliances which will make our community stronger, able and willing to act and adapt, to evolve from fragile to agile.

€ 49970,-

Total budget

€ 49970,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

project administration, management, PR 16400
external experts 6265
small local initiatives implementation costs 6667
workshops and activities with community and school children 1667
documentary production costs 5000
project results-publications, exhibition 5665
coffee breaks, lunches and catering 2500
travel and accommodation costs 1466
office expenses, equipment, accounting 3070
promotion and visibility 1270

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Feedback on relevance, focus and concept of our idea will be appreciated. Advice and critical thought from CE team and other countries' organizations with similar projects and topics, already implemented or in the pipeline. We look forward to future partnerships and collaboration. Thank you all!



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

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