Project aims at building social cohesion in one of the poorest and most depopulated areas in Croatia, providing concrete services to its impoverished population, and initiating public discussion about possible paths to future sustainable transition of the region. This will be achieved through trainings for the youth, their involvement in volunteer work, and organization of public events.
Banija region (which includes towns of Petrinja and Glina), town of Sisak, City of Zagreb
Main problem that the project aims to tackle is general lack of social cohesion in the area. Additional problems that will be dealt with are lack of access to electricity and lack of access to transport (energy and transport poverty). When it comes to access to electricity, some inhabitants of remote villages do not at all have access to electrical greed (although they had it before the war). When it comes to transport, it should be noted that the public transport is scarce, or completely lacking in many parts of Banija, which puts those without a car in a very hard position.
Project should benefit primarily the most deprived inhabitants of the region: those without access to electrical greed to whom solar electric systems have been donated in previous humanitarian actions; those that do not own a car and are lacking access to public transport ;children that need bicycles for fun or for transport. Project will, naturally, benefit youth that will be involved in trainings on bicyle repairing and solar system maintenance, as they will acquire valuable knowledge and skills. Finally, the project should benefit all the inhabitants of the region through raised social cohesion (within the region) and raised awareness on energy powerty and other problems of the region (outside the region).
Steps in the implementation of the project are the following:
- Announcing collection of old bicycles from citizens of Zagreb and Sisak, which will then be repaired (in Zagreb and Sisak) and sent to inhabitants of Banija
- Establishing free, volunteer based, bicycle workshop in Sisak, with the help of staff of the existing workshop managed by the lead organization in Zagreb
- Announcing courses for youth (from Banija region and Sisak) on bicycle repairing and solar system maintenance which will be held in Sisak
- Implementing trainings that should be finished within 6 months
- Starting from 3rd month of the trainings, participants will be "doing practice" in various places in Banija (repairing bicycles and maintaining solar systems together with training leaders)
- During these "practice-visits", a journalist-photographer will be "embedded" in the group of course participants/volunteers, making photographs for the photo exhibition
- near the end of the project implementaton, two photograhic exhibitions will be opened and public discussions held: one in Zagreb, and one in either Glina, Petrinja or Sisak
Two groups of volunteers trained for repairing bicycles and maintaining solar electric systems (about 10 persons in each group). They will be able to provide services that are already much needed by impoverished population of Banija, and will be even more needed in the context of transition to sustainability, which is a task that will require enormous efforts of whole society in the next two decades. Volunteer work done as a part of the project should contribute to raising social cohesion in the area. Project should trigger broad Public discussion about the shape of future sustainable development of Banija region, through events such as panel discussions. At least 50 residents of Banija will be provided much needed means of transport (bicycle).
Volunteering can by itself be seen as a form of practicing active citizenship. But, in order to encourage and enable project beneficiaries to get more actively involved in decision making processes, trainings that will be implemented as a part of the project (content of which is primarily technical) will include a two days educational module consisting of practical workshops about activism and organization of local advocacy campaigns. In this way we will give to the participants of the training not only technical skills, but also social skills they will need to be agents of transition to sustainable development. This module will also include content that will put skills taught at training in the wider context of sustainable transition
- Eugen Vuković, employee of Zelena akcija (lead organization) and coordinator of its free volunteer-based bicycle workshop (that sent more than 70 donated bike to Banija)
- Faton Berzati, electrical engineer and employee of Zelena akcija, already involved in installing solar systems to Banija inhabitants as a part of Zelena akcija's humanitarian campaign
- Branka Bakšić-Mitić, president of "Ljudi za ljude", NGO that had a key role in coordination of humanitarian aid after 2020 earthquake
- Nemanja Kantar, coordinator of activities for children and youth in "Association Iks" (Petrinja)
- Matea Marić, president of "Coordination of Sisak Youth Organizations", umbrella that coordinates activities of youth NGOs active within Skwhat - youth club in which trainings will take place
Funding requested from Civic Europe
- Staff costs: 12,000 EUR
- Travel costs: 10,000 EUR
- Equipment costs: 6,000 EUR
- Honorariums: 4,000 EUR
- Events costs: 3,000 EUR
We would always like to hear how feasible our idea seems to others, as well as concrete suggestions for improvement. We are particularly interested in comments of those that already have experience of work with population facing serious social and economic deprivation.