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Larco reloaded | Civic Europe
Community development, Environment and sustainability & rural development

Larco reloaded

Participatory leadership and engagement in a puzzled industrial area. EU's only remaining nickel smelter, its 1,260 workers and their families is at stake. We want to help.


Who is behind this?

Elina Makri

Oikomedia amke



Idea pitch

Where does the solution lie when the efficiency of “the state” and the world of mainstream politics fail? What happens when good will from all parties in a dispute is not enough to solve chronicle problems?
How can the Theory of Change and participatory design and leadership be applied in one of the heaviest industries in the world? Can the ‘Prisoner’s dilemma’ and the theory behind governing the commons, help 1,260 workers and their families in one of the most polluted areas of Greece?

Where will your project idea take place?

In Larymna and Martino, about 130 km N/NE of Athens, Greece.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In Larymna and Martino settlement, for their inhabitants life is unseparately bounded with the existence of the smelting plant. The calendar reflects a point of no return.
There is a constant lack of consensus between decision makers and workers, lack of alternatives and mainstream politics reached their limit. Problems become greater, divisions get deeper.
Larco is a state owned ferro-nickel production company in Greece, the biggest in EU and one of the five largest ferronickel producers in the world. Think of the product as the main raw material of stainless steel. Think of cooking pots, medical equipment, airplanes, spacecrafts, hybrid cars and batteries for TESLA cars. The area is also heavily affected environmentally.

Who are you doing it for?

At this writing, the situation in Larymna and Martino hurts everyone: The inhabitants, the workers and employees of Larco, the taxpayers, the state, the environment.
We aim to involve all sides as outlined in the theory of change: those who will be affected from the immediate changes and plans of the government, the workers and their families, the stakeholders as well as the media.
But most importantly, we do it for the local residents. Participatory Design applications can enable all taking part to be conscious actors as by their participation, they take responsibility and in essence own any solutions that collectively come up.

How do you plan to get there?

Our project is undertaken in tandem with a deep-dive investigation-research and a conflict resolution methodology to serve as a case-study for areas where the life of people is unseparately bound with the existence of a natural resource and its system of process.
Mapping of the decision makers and workers’ representatives as well as stakeholders. As part of the journalistic research, we will be able to gain a deep knowledge of the problems on the ground.
On a 3rd level, we will organize a specific number of laboratories and engage in collective thinking and design. We intend to apply the methods of the Theory of change, define specifically the change we would like to see, the outcomes, the preconditions and the assumptions.

What are the expected results?

-A growing culture of constructive communication in the area for the benefit of the company and its people as a whole.
-Personnel development in terms of social, communication, dialogue skills.
-Improvement of decision making procedures.
-Improvement of collaboration and its significant results in the area.
-Gradual integration of participatory and collective leadership processes in the operational procedures and in the culture of Larco.
-Positive impact in the growing relationship between Larco and the local community.
-Positive environmental protection and social awareness in the local area.
-Awareness of the value of participatory leadership in practice, owned by all stakeholders.

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

We envision implementing an organisation wide-scale consultation conducted with the principles of participatory design which will aim to offer employees and all stakeholders the possibility to engage in constructive conversations and decision making processes. The consultation will be followed by a training in participatory methodologies (“laboratories”), tailored for Larco, which is going to assist in informing a new, more open mindset of communication and conversation. We aim at gradually assisting the integration of such processes in the company and in its various departments supporting a culture of dialogue and more participatory management approaches.
This type of interventions are very much needed in organisational settings in order to allow and bring forth all voices.

Why is this idea important to you?

Because 'vanity' is the first word that comes to mind of an average citizen when talking about direct democracy. Decision centers are far from them and procedures seem complicated. Voting happens once in four years but besides elections, our constitution does not leave much room for direct democracy. In 2015, a plebiscite (failed 'referendum') was organized which left a bitter taste about direct democracy tools and consultation.
Participatory leadership challenges the idea of conventional politics, where solution lies in the hand of a government and a coercive state. Our project also redefines the role of journalists in one of the countries with the highest media avoidance and less trust in the media (only 27% of Greek citizens trust the media). We want to focus on the solutions.

€ 50,-

Total budget

€ 50,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Office expenses: 3.000
Travel and accommodation: 4.000
Personnel Costs (project coordinator, local experts, participatory leadership expert, facilitator - harvester, photographer, administrative assistant, communication specialist, accountant): 33.000
Organization of multiple Laboratories (rent, equipment): 5.000
Website creation: 3.000
Translator: 2.000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How to better bond local social capital in an area with chronicle problems
Experiences from evolving social climates
’Fair’ ways to provide proportionate share of leadership to a wider civic community (supposedly one that not all have the same level of education, age, social background etc).


Elina Makri


Yannis Sarros

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on June 23, 2020

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