Community development, Systemic impact

Initiate your sustainable community action project

A hub of resources, methodologies, case studies and tips on permissions, funds and legal frameworks that will inspire people to organise and deliver a project in their local community


Who is behind this?

Thaleia Rizou



Who is joining forces?

Perifery of Central Macedonia


Culture for Change


Periphery of Central Macedonia supports the local authorities' education, Culture for Change the dissemination to their members and few funds the education of their beneficiaries in urban deserts


Idea pitch

We’ll address a significant knowledge gap in Greece by creating an accessible platform full of resources that will allow citizens in urban deserts to design cultural, environmental, educational and place-making projects. We’ll collect know-how that would otherwise get lost and include clear, actionable, legal steps on how to get funding and organise an impactful project. We will also train 10 organisations in underprivileged regions on how to use the platform and initiate their first project.

Where will your project idea take place?

Central Macedonia (Greece) region is our main proposal focus, but North Greece in the goal

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

There are two main issues that we want to address: The absence of projects in areas known as “urban deserts” and the current loss of know-how from few projects that do take place, which doesn’t allow locals to replicate successful ideas or create new ones.

This region suffers especially from brain drain, old local authorities often resistant to change and lack of opportunities. Even when social projects are initiated, there is rarely a post-project sustainability plan. The know-how of real case studies is not accessible anywhere in a user-friendly way, to allow locals to feel inspired and confident to navigate local challenges as others have done before them.

All previously invested funds result in short-term initiatives and the organisers can’t pass on their experience.

Who are you doing it for?

Our target group is citizens, local authorities and organisations in 3 types of urban deserts:
1. Villages (population 500-3.000)
2. Big villages (3.000-15.000)
3. Small underprivileged towns (15.000-40.000)
Our beneficiaries will be:
the stakeholders who will share expertise for the platform
the members of the 10 organisations that we will train
the communities they will design projects for
the local authorities who will support us
the wider community around them

The whole range of opinions will be included through participatory research before we launch the platform but also during the training of the 10 organisations. We estimate that around 4.500 citizens will be affected directly by this project and over 40.000 indirectly.

How do you plan to get there?

1) Inform everyone included about our intention and get their support (this step has already been taken) 2) Co-create a participatory research (workshops, interviews, observation) to gather all the steps that projects need in 12 categories (3 types of communities, 4 categories of projects) 3) Design the platform 4) Get feedback from the citizens who will use it 5) Launch the platform and promote it in Greece 6) Open call for citizens/organisations in urban deserts to get trained in the platform 7) Training in 10 different areas in Greece and support with a small amount (200e) or resources (open to your feedback) to initiate their first action through the platform 8) Promote the 10 actions 9) Promote the use of the platform to active citizens, NGOs, municipalities, schools in urban deserts

What are the expected results?

A year from now, citizens in urban deserts (small islands, mountain villages, small cities) will feel empowered to implement a small or big idea in their community. We want people to feel confident to fill a need and to be prepared for the process needed. We want a human-centred system where citizens know that they can use the platform to co-create democracy, to design better communities, to inspire change. Through our personal work over the last 10 years in Greece, we know that the lack of empowerment is greater than the lack of funds. Bureaucracy, corruption and the crisis will not leave us any time soon but their effect on people will become more limited if we are better informed. The local communities will know that there is a platform to find support, ideas and other organisations.

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

Democracy is at the core of our project. We want to understand the main causes that prevent the creation and sustainability of social initiatives at urban deserts. From actively listening to locals, we learnt that there is no lack of ideas, passion or energy from people who want to improve their communities: What’s missing is the expertise that will help them navigate a complicated, bureaucratic environment to find funding and resources for their ideas to become actions.
Democracy starts with sharing knowledge: Our platform will make hard-earned expertise accessible to smaller communities that might not have the means to import and adapt relevant methodologies otherwise. Shared knowledge motivates people and inspires more engagement, leading to more active and informed citizens.

Why is this idea important to you?

The main issue that we face as Youthnest is that we cannot solve social challenges in Greece fast and efficiently. The hardest we work, the more we realise that the issue is more complex. Our experience has shown that the greatest challenge is not the lack of funds, but the lack of systemic connection between information and active citizens. Our proposal reflects one of our strongest ideas for systemic change in active citizenship in Greece. We have followed amazing projects whose influence in the community is short-lived, and precious know-how is lost. The challenges, the legal framework, all the project information is lost and new resources have to be spent for a new one to start from zero. We truly believe that this platform will change the way citizens approach the common future.

€ 57500,-

Total budget

€ 47500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Platform design/host/UX 4.500
Personnel costs (1 Project manager, 1 Process designer, 2 facilitators, 1 researcher & data analyst) 25.000
Travel and accommodation 7.000
Marketing and promotion 7.000
Ideas initiation fund (200 euros per project) 2.000
Office expenses 2.000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Relevant examples from their local context to get inspiration, relevant approaches in their communities to see the practicalities, tips on efficient implementation, communication ideas of the platform in urban deserts, potential challenges and risks. Thank you!



Chrysa Petala

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

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