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L.E.A.P. the Local Environmental Action Practice | Civic Europe
Environment and sustainability, Community development

L.E.A.P. the Local Environmental Action Practice

Engage local communities in Gorski Kotar to LEAP forward, blend wisdom and energy to hack the malpractice and thrive on green economy


Who is behind this?

Sandra Vlašić

Terra Hub


Who is joining forces?

Propuh jdoo


Bez Granica Rijeka


Adrianor Connect


Close involvement of local administration, the Municipalities of Lokve, Skrad and Mrkopalj, the Association of the Retired and PINS - local business incubator and development agency.


Idea pitch

What is wrong in green paradise? Lush forests, White Rocks, Devil’s Passage, the land of bear, wolf and lynx but also of elderly, sleeping ambitions, abandoned villages and youth who dream of a better future elsewhere. Gorski Kotar desperately needs local action to thrive. A blend of elderly wisdom and energy of youth can hack the perils of bad governance and harmful practices. Experienced mentors shall help local communities to take action and make the leap to a sustainable future.

Where will your project idea take place?

The target area of the project is Gorski Kotar, a mountainous region in western/central Croatia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Despite its extraordinary natural and historic heritage, the target region is underdeveloped and afflicted by numerous challenges, both socio-economic (depopulation, ageing, unemployment) and environmental depletion/degradation of natural resources (anthropogenic and natural causes). The region is also characterized by a passivity of the local population, as well as weak social cohesion and minority related issues (presence of Roma communities).
The population is in large part unaware of possibilities to use climate action and local natural heritage to improve quality of life, as well as unskilled for policy/civic/entrepreneurial action.

Who are you doing it for?

The following have been identified as target groups:
- Elderly - the region is significantly older in its demographics and specific methods and actions as well as partners have been onboarded in order to ensure inclusion of tradition and knowledge that elderly people in the region have
- Youth - a large number of youth leaves the region and does not choose to stay and an active civic life and engagement, rooting youth in the economy and decision making in the region is crucial for its future
Gender equality will be given special attention horizontally throughout all project activities, while minority members (Roma) will be included whenever this will be feasible. Adjustments will be considered for such target groups that might have specific weaknesses.

How do you plan to get there?

The projects has several targets:
1. “The better future is at home!” - meetings and events to raise the awareness about the project, motivate local residents and scout for local ideas, with a special focus on the target groups.
2. Policy lab - workshops to boost practical skills for local strategy/policy action, using innovative coaching methods such as design thinking and user design.
3. Hackathon – open competition (offline and online ) for green entrepreneurial, civic action and policy ideas, with experienced mentors
4. Follow up local actions – initiatives awarded through the hackathon will be provided with experts’ support to ensure an effective transition from idea to action
5. Ideas for the future - a closing event showcasing ideas/projects/actions developed within the project

What are the expected results?

The overall expected result is the increased capacity for civic action and green-entrepreneurship within the local community. The project aims to:
-raise the awareness and strengthen local ownership of development policy and action in the region
-produce 5-10 policy proposals related to environment protection and green economy in the target region
-develop 5-10 actions (entrepreneurship and non for profit) with potential to generate jobs/profit in the target region
provide mentorship and support for 10-20 action initiatives, entrepreneurship/civic actions in all sectors with a goal of a green economic development in the region
-provide 100 hours of mentoring and support for local action implementation based on best awarded solutions
-increase participation of socially excluded.

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

We propose 3 support methods for local participatory development, strengthening local ideas, co-creating policy solutions and of individual and group action: an interactive policy lab on climate change and green jobs; a hackathon to further support solutions and entrepreneurship ideas; and follow-up mentorship and support to local actions. Our goal is combating climate change and developing good practices for a resilient and green economy. A combination of capacity building, infusing skills and knowledge, providing space for inter-sectoral and inter-generational collaboration we create an enabling environment for local ideas, incentives and actions for a sustainable local development policy and action.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our mission is to create a better future at home in Gorski Kotar.
Innovative technologies and civic action must not be available only in urban areas, but most importantly to underdeveloped and passive regions, which abound in potential but lack the skills and knowledge to actively influence their own lives. Gorski Kotar is such a region, which could hugely benefit from a change in mentality and serve as example for other regions in Croatia and the neighbouring countries which face similar challenges.
Our aim is to contribute to the transition of Gorski Kotar from “problem” to “positive example” by transforming the passive mentality of the residents of Gorski Kotar and the perception of the region within the local community and in the general public.

€ 52000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

personnel: 24.960
travel and accommodation: 5.000
policy labs + hackatons (5) + townhall meetings (5): 15.540
indirect: 4.500
own personnel time: 2.000
total 52.000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any good experiences how to successfully mix and organise collaboration between elderly and youth given analogue and digital mode of work? Any good stories of similar collaborations to share? How youth can be successfully kept at home when it's rural, abandoned but abundant with green wonders?


Sandra Vlasic


Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on May 26, 2020

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