Local action group "SAVA"
Have you ever had a bad day? Perhaps your car didn’t want to start? Everybody and everything occasionally needs a jump start to get into the proactive and creative mode. It’s time to jump start our community with initiative fund for small-scale local projects and workshops on active citizenship and methods of engaging in democracy to create a communal buzz from which local community will emerge rejuvenated. Local citizens for local community!
11 local municipalities in Zagreb county, Croatia: 7 rural areas + 4 town areas
LAG SAVA is active in 11 local communities (4 towns and 7 rural areas) in Zagreb County. Geographically the area is well-connected to the capital city Zagreb, but not so well between local municipalities. Hence, the local communities, particularly rural ones, tend to be isolated and to loose population, especially youth who are attracted to the opportunities of urban life. Many citizens commute daily to Zagreb or local towns and live in local communities only in the evenings or on weekends. There are not many initiatives for citizens, particularly youth, to engage in the active communal life, particularly long-term. Active citizenship often comes only to voting every few years for local/national representatives.
The members of local community will propose their own mini-initiatives to improve the quality of life in their towns/villages. These mini initiatives have a potential to engage local communities in creating small circles that will generate more interest in development of local area. The mini initiatives will be chosen by local juries. The initiators of local actions will be strengthened through workshop cycles on active citizenship and methods of engaging in democracy. In this manner, members will be motivated to engage further in local issues, create their own networks and open a dialogue on the benefits of local community with local municipalities. The local media will carry short talks on active citizenship and implemented initiatives and encourage engagement of wider local community.
We are doing it for the rejuvenation of local communities in which we work. To jump start their curiosity and engagement, we will offer funding of small-scale initiatives in which local schools, unemployed people, farmers, etc. can take part or initiate them. We strongly believe that giving opportunity to locals to detect and solve local issues is the best method. The local communities will have 2 months to put forward their proposals, after which the local jury (5 members strong) in each community will vote for the initiatives that they think are most valid for the improvement of local community. The local municipalities will be included in the selection process, but the majority of jury members will be local citizens from different backgrounds.
1. initiate program and open application for small-scale initiatives (proposed worth of each initiative: 100 Euro to 500 Euro)
2. advertise program through different channels in local communities
3. announce applications for local juries (1 municipal representative, 1 LAG SAVA representative, 3 members of local communities)
4. local juries make decisions
5. workshop cycles for the initiators of selected initiatives in local communities
6. radio talks about active citizenship and methods of engaging in local communities
7. implementation of selected initiatives
8. follow-up on implementations (media, results)
9. advocating local funding in next budget year for the new cycle of small-scale initiatives
Number of local small-scale initiatives proposed, selected and implemented by members of local communities in which LAG SAVA is active. Initiators of those actions are strengthened and empowered through the cycle of workshops. Local communities learned more about active citizenship through radio talks and initiatives. Bigger number of community members interested in the development of local community and active role in it, particularly members who are otherwise not visible or don’t have power to voice their proposals. School students and youth have positive role models in their surroundings.
Youth leaving smaller towns and rural areas for bigger cities is happening not just in our area but in other parts of Croatia and Europe as well. We discussed this with other NGOs who work in similar surroundings and concluded that one of the reasons is the missing link between local action plans and people’s needs, i.e. that the action plans need to come from the people themselves in order to make smaller communities desirable places to live. Opening up dialogue space and giving opportunity to local people to voice their own ideas and implement them in the community is a step that we feel is the right step for communities around the globe. We all need to learn to trust each others that we are willing to work for common good.
Community is all about networks, collaboration and giving a voice to those around us. Community is like a big family. We wish to hear louder voices that are currently silent or very quiet as we strongly believe that every person has particular perspective, vision and talent to help community thrive. As we care for the local communities that are part of us and us of it, we would like them to be great place to live for people of different backgrounds as well as to see more youth staying and recognizing the potential of smaller towns and rural areas.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
LAG SAVA personel costs (2 people): 13.000 euro
Workshop cycles in local communities costs: 6.000 euro
Travel costs: 2.000 euro
Radio talks on active citizenship etc.: 2.000 euro (different local radio stations)
Advertisement and publicity: 2.200 euro
Local juries in local communities: 1.500 euro
Web platform: 300 euro
Small-scale initiative fund: 22.000 euro
How can our idea become better? Do you think it would be possible to implement it in your community? How would you organize local juries? Would you focus initiative fund to specific group in local community? Did we miss a step somewhere, i.e. forgot to include something/someone important?