Nascente – Cooperativa de Ação Cultura CRL
Creation of a community currency for Espinho to strengthen small trade and local production, create economic impact and a sense of community. Its creation will be driven by a cross-sectoral cooperation partnership between Nascente, leader, and other relevant local institutions and organizations. Together they will organize a process of participation and involvement of the citizens of Espinho, to shape the management bodies and the currency model.
County of Espinho, District of Aveiro, north of Portugal.
The number of associative organizations does not always correspond to an effective and good quality of civic participation, and above all, making use of models more appropriate to current life. This is the case in Espinho, where participation is attached to traditional models and with a loss of participative democratic experience. In addition to this, the culture of dependence of the citizens of the State, to solve all social and financial the problems. With regard to this project, it is important to say that the proximity of the large city of Porto, about 20 km away, has adverse effects on local commerce due to the attractive factors that the big cities provide, which is the case in Espinho. Finally, the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on local trade and labor income will be big.
Throughout this project different methods of citizen participation and involvement will be employed so that its implementation is democratically participated. This participation has the following objectives: a) Give shape to the executive management bodies and the Community Council Regulation; b) Creation of the currency model; c) Assess the fulfillment of the expected results and the impact generated on the community. The community currency and the methods of citizen involvement and participation are the instruments for reinforcing civic sense, participatory and community democracy. The Community Council will be composed of all users of the community currency - customers, traders and producers - and is the maximum decision-making body taken by consensus.
The Community Council (CC), made up of all citizens who use the currency, will be the highest decision-making body of the project, the privileged way for people to participate, regardless of other moments over time and with specific purposes, always using active participation methodologies. The CC will have as instruments of participation several active methodologies so that the debate and decisions are as participatory as possible. The predictions of citizen participation are as follows: a) Citizens living in the Municipality of Espinho: 3000 (includes 250 Members of the Cooperativa Nascente); b) Local traders: 125; c) Local producers: 20.
The figures indicated are those estimated for a period of 3 years, with quantitative indicators fixed for the different phases and time periods.
1st phase: Organization of a conference with a panel of community currency managers invited among the references of this Project: Brixton Pound / UK, Bristol Pound / UK, Sonantes / France and Talent/Switzerland.
2nd Phase: Organization of activities with stakeholders, using citizen participation and involvement methodologies to structure the management bodies and the Espinho community currency model.
3rd Phase: Organization of a contest to name the currency and design and apply (before the beginning of currency circulation) the impact assessment instruments.
4th Phase: Installation of technical instruments to support currency management and circulation. Design and production of communication media.
5th Phase: Realization of the communication campaign and start of currency circulation.
At the end of the first year, of the three of the project, we want to achieve the following results: local traders: 50; local producers: 5; currency users: 300; number of citizens involved in participation actions: 250; currency in circulation: 45000 units (€ equivalents). The impact, measured by the difference between the results obtained before the implementation of the currency and the end of the first year, through interviews, satisfaction surveys and focus groups are: improving the perception of community currency as a legitimate means of trade; participatory democracy improves the search for solutions closer to citizens' problems; improving the perception of the sense of community. The success will be to make Espinho's community currency a social technology at the service of people.
The exercise of participatory democracy is a good way to demonstrate that people have the power of decision and can exercise it in a democratic way, especially in local issues. This exercise, mediated by motivating and experienced active methodologies, contributes effectively to empower citizens and raise their awareness of the value of democracy. The way in which the project is conceived helps to make citizens aware of the right to participate in community affairs associated with the duty to exercise democracy. Although the subject - currency/money - is one of the most obscure, because it is complex and of lower literacy, even though it is one of the most relevant aspects of social experience. The motto ”Think global, act local” makes sense here as far as democracy is concerned.
On this subject - community currency - I organized a small conference about 6 years ago in a city in the north of Portugal, next to the border with Galicia, whose objective was to advise the local authority on different models and projects for the regeneration of local small businesses, but idea was not accepted. One speaker was a member of the New Economic Foundations /UK. Now, even more equipped with knowledge on the subject and, above all, working in a different organization, in a different city and at a different time, I think there are more conditions to implement this type of projects. On the other hand, satisfaction and personal motivation in bringing an idea based on a concept to a technology at the service of people, in this case, a social technology such as currency.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 27 600,00€
travel costs: 2450,00€
accommodation and subsistence: 1290,00€
service contracts and honoraria:
service providers: 325,00€ (office energy); 675,00€ (tele-communications); 800,00€ (rent office)
equipment: 1245,00€ (Computers and printing machine)
public relations: 900,00€
Sharing ideas with someone with the same content domain project; ideas to generate revenue to maintain and to take forward the project; what are the biggest challenges that the project will face? There may be possible collaborations with other projects from Civic Europe?