Democracy and participation, Civic education

Human rights defenders across the country

Opening HCLU regional offices across Hungary to foster civic engagement and strengthen the protection of human rights

Creators

Who is behind this?

Kapronczay Stefánia

Társaság a Szabadságjogokért (TASZ) / Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)

https://tasz.hu/

Hungary

Idea

Idea pitch

Outside of Budapest small groups or lonely activists stand up for their community without the support network of a vibrant civil society. This project strives to foster civic engagement through supporting these groups with our special knowledge as well as contribute to the HCLU’s work tackling local human rights issues. The HCLU will bring know-your-rights and strategy-and-tactics trainings to the chosen locality, hire a local staff member, and provide free legal counseling to active citizens.

Where will your project idea take place?

The location is to be decided, however we are looking for a city with no human rights organizations.

What is the local challenge?

While there is a vibrant civil society in Budapest, there is very little of this in other regions. In Budapest the organizations could create a support network and stand up for the values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality. However, even in major cities outside of Budapest civil society is rather weak. In addition, research has shown that civic activism also concentrates in the capital city. Therefore, groups aiming to foster civic engagement, have a smaller chance of generating impact. Based on our experience, our specialized knowledge can make the difference for them. During the past three election campaigns, we have provided nonpartisan legal support, the groups’ feedback confirmed that our trainings provided added value to the impact of their work.

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

We plan two types of activities. First, we plan to provide know-your-rights and strategy-and-tactics trainings to activists groups across the country. As our outreach strategy we will develop a database of organizations based on interviews, media research, and the official civil society database. Through these trainings, we aim to provide essential legal and practical knowledge necessary for these organizations to participate in public life and thus foster active citizenship. Second, the HCLU plans to open three regional offices (one in 2021), in order to bring our legal counseling and trainings closer to the citizens. The offices serve two goals, strengthening civic engagement locally as well as strengthening HCLU’s work on democracy and the protection of fundamental rights.

Who are you doing it for?

As a human rights organization, we have experience working with communities who feel excluded. We plan to reach local civic organizations through a three-pronged approach: (1) reaching out to our already existing partners, (2) conducting media research to identify locally active groups, (3) building on the official civil society organizations’ database identify groups that are active in our topics. We would like to map out the active civil society groups this way.

How do you plan to get there?

- Developing our outreach strategy and offer our trainings and legal counseling to the partners
- Provide trainings and legal aid
- Continue to develop our trainings and collect feedback from our partners
- Make a decision on the location of our first regional office based on the experience from the activities above
- Open the regional office
- Continue to build relationships with local civil society organizations, providing them with formal trainings and legal counseling

What are the expected results?

Success looks like local groups being empowered to generate impact based on the legal and practical knowledge received by the HCLU. Success looks like our partners developing campaigns in which they can involve local citizens and advocate successfully. At the location of our regional office, success would be if citizens sought our legal counselling service, if local civil society groups would regularly come for trainings and advice for their campaigns and if the HCLU’s strategy would be enriched by this experience.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The long-term expected impact is a strengthened belief in active citizenship in Hungary as a consequence of the pressure by and the successful activities of better informed and more aware citizens working together. This will contribute to strengthened democracies in Europe as a vibrant and diverse civil society is key to democracy to prevail.
Our initiative will broaden the popular base of civil society. We will involve new initiatives and movements into our already existing networks and partnerships thus broadening the represented citizens. Their increased capacity and skills in public policymaking will empower them to participate in the shaping of public policies on local, national and European levels.

What is your story?

CSOs play a vital role in the upholding of democratic values, defending individual freedoms and dignity and in supporting vulnerable groups on the local and national levels. At the time, the worldwide phenomenon of closing civil space has entered Europe, the collaboration of civil society actors is key as a response. This can be further enhanced with the involvement of newly emerging initiatives both in cities and in rural areas.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

personnel costs 30,000 EUR
office expenses 5,000 EUR
travel and accommodation costs 3,000 EUR
events and trainings 3,000 EUR
contracts, attorneys 4,000 EUR
public relations and communication 5,000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any feedbacks and best practices of the community on how to establish a network of rural/regional hubs is interesting for us.

Team

TASZ-HCLU

SKapronczay

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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