Community development

Marathon-like Community Development in Abaúj

To make the expansion and maintenance of the circle of actors thinking about the common goals of micro-regions intriguingly attractive and effective.


Who is behind this?

Bereczky Béla

Association of North Abaúj County Community Developers’ Circle



Idea pitch

In Hungary, we are the first to use the Community Development Marathon method to establish a long-term regional willingness to act. Groups of residents in diverse life situations, organized based on microregions, jointly fight together for local goals from year to year. As a result, the implemented goals affect the developments, and the range of participants is expanding, as they hope for repeated experiences. The method may as well become a model for regional development in microregions in the

Where will your project idea take place?

Northeast Hungary, Gönc District of Borsod-Abaúj Zemplén County

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Apart from a few exceptions, there are no community-based operations in the district; there is a lack of civic presence and civil involvement in the management of affairs. Almost all of the co-operations and partnerships exist merely on paper, and a culture of true dialogue free of higher or lower positions has not been developed. Players present in the district have no knowledge, skills or experience in community planning, even if in some cases there is an intention to do so. The Community Development Marathon implemented in the project aims to establish the culture of community planning in the district by means of an exciting, innovative method. This community planning that will become regular will provide a basis for community-based operation.

Who are you doing it for?

The Abaúj Community Development Marathon is a method the success of which lies in how diverse the range of its participants is. That is why the target group has a broad variety, with entrepreneurs, local government and civil society players present in equal proportions. In addition, the key players are the members of the FÉSZAK circle and the dedicated volunteers around them, who organize and also professionally prepare and implement the community planning program. The first ACDM achievements and committed people and organizations in 2021 will also appear, and of course everyone else is also welcome to join if they live in the area and are willing to be active for the district.

How do you plan to get there?

Our program structure: 1. Out of the organizers of the 1st Abaúj Community Development Marathon and the implementers of winner microprojects, FÉSZAK-KÖR establishes a regional marathon organizing team in the course of a workshop based on a methodology suitable for the participants in all three of our micro-regions. Main objectives: to prepare subsequent marathon(s) realizing regional community planning through expanding the network of potential actors and ideas for implementing possible community goals. This step is key in the long-term survival of the program. 2. The comprehensive planning of the 2nd marathon in 2022 covering all the specific and required tasks (simulating the main event at micro-regional events as well as selecting and preparing the recognized professional mentors) 3. Conducting the 2022 Marathon: in 48 hours, teams made up of the region’s diverse professionals will work on ideas in a community planning situation found achievable during the previous community idea fair with the mentors’ help to develope to the level of implementation. At the end of the 48 hours, the jury will evaluate the winning ideas and winners will receive a community award. 4. Marathon follow-up: helping the implementation of the winning micro-projects, drawing conclusions and involving players drawn in by the micro-projects in the regional community planning preparation workshop team.

What are the expected results?

We hope that as a result of our novel method, “real deal” community planning will be implemented in our three micro-regions. The implementers and beneficiaries of the winning micro-projects serving regional community goals will hopefully be the participants of the subsequent marathon. Hopefully, applying the method of the Estonian social hackathon year after year to aid community development-based rural development in Abaúj will appear as good practice for the development of our micro-regions and as a community planning model in the practices of development players in smaller-larger scope regions. Also, residents taking part in the marathons can have a clear view on the fact that success was brought about by the joint cooperation of people from diverse professions and life situations.

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

The criterion for success: the co-operative participation of both geographically and professionally diverse people. There are ones who don’t like or don’t know how to plan, organize or implement things. That is why urging people to take specific parts in a project will tend to fail. The marathon, on the other hand, is a complex enough challenge to provide a diverse action range for a diverse set of players. That is where the marathon’s compelling power lies. The general development goal of social development projects, including ours, is to improve the quality of life, but inventing its method is not always community-based. However, our community planning marathon believes that community planning is only achieved if all of its phases are characterized by joint implementation.

Why is this idea important to you?

From the beginning, the aim of our organization established in 2007 is to provide micro-regional, community and rural development. Our members’ range represents the population of our micro-region: skilled and agricultural workers, mayor, teacher, disadvantaged people and development professional. In our first 8 years, we implemented development projects focusing on our own northern Abaúj-Micro-region, including a large EU-funded project lasting 3 years. The competencies of our members have always ensured sufficient expertise of our project staff and we have also written our applications ourselves. Now, our concepts have started to involve several micro-regions of Abaúj, but we would be really glad if our concepts could become a model applied throughout the county.

€ 33400,-

Total budget

€ 31000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Personnel costs: 15950 EUR
- Travel costs: 1390 EUR
- Room rental fee: 2200 EUR
- Catering: 6900 EUR
- Accommodation: 4160 EUR
- PR, marketing: 2400 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

To place our idea into a broader context. To examine eligibility for the application criteria.



Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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