Civic education, Community development

Online Communities for rights and democracy

Counteracting the anti-democratic propaganda through online communities for social change

Creators

Who is behind this?

Maria Brestnichka

National Network for Children

http://www.nmd.bg

Bulgaria

Idea

Idea pitch

The aim is to develop and support online communities of activists for democracy, human and child rights, so to be able to counteract the anti-democratic campaigns in Bulgaria. Тhe idea involves providing community development and civic education to online groups of parents, local influencers and NGOs, working for children and families. They will attend specially designed trainings to tackle disinformation, structuring messages and online campaigns defending rights and democracy.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project will support online communities in 10 Bulgarian regions.

What is the local challenge?

The influence of some far-right anti-democratic circles has increased in recent years, manifested through organized attacks on democracy, human and child rights. Disinformation and fake news found ground in our country as media literacy is low and the civil society was not prepared. The disinformation campaign is launched mainly online in social media platforms and it is based on creating social “bubbles”, spreading false news and content. These campaigns successfully are leading to changing attitudes against democracy and rights through people`s fears, but also successfully influencing national policies, stopping long needed reforms. Along with that, there are reported specific cases of lack of action in cases of severe violence against children.

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

The implications of this unprecedented attack on human rights and European values are the need to work actively and together to defend democracy and human and child rights not only through raising awareness, but also through involvement of parents and activists. The development of online communities is building social networks with social norms and beliefs, supporting child rights and helping to straighten the understanding of the democracy. The radicalization of the messages activates not only people misled by the false news, but more parents and citizens. The project will equip them with practical skills to multiply this knowledge among local and professional communities. A key step is to provide opportunities for common and self-driven actions to counteract the anti-democracy movements.

Who are you doing it for?

The main target groups are members of Facebook groups of parents, local influencers and communication officers of NGOs, working for children and families on national level and especially in the above-mentioned regions in Bulgaria. Through the target group we are aiming to create and involve parents, activists, children and young people as supporters of the democratic values and human and child rights. The idea is based on the active involvement of the members of the online communities on two levels: information and raising awareness on child rights and democratic/ European values; and involvement by feedback, creating and sharing content and spreading messages defending and promoting child rights. National group: More than 7700 members; Local groups: 800 members each.

How do you plan to get there?

• Development of training modules. They will contain educational and practical part: the information should contain of basic knowledge about the functioning of social media, nowadays media environment, necessary skills and opportunities for tackling fake news, etc.; Practical part: creation and spreading content; online conversations; dealing with cyber troops and attacks; attracting members of the community etc.
• Organization of 6 training workshops for parents and activists for child rights and democracy.
• Content development and content sharing on child rights topics, the role of the civil society and civil society organizations
• Support and supervision.

What are the expected results?

The implementation of the designed project aims at achieving the following results/outcomes:
 Increased knowledge and skills for community development, citizens’ activation and content creation of 90 participants in the educational workshops. The participants themselves will be able to support other people in their communities and their colleagues.
 Coordination and common actions for counteracting the anti-democratic campaigns and building trust in human rights concept and democracy.
 Supported and developed 10 online communities to counteract propaganda, fake news and promote the child rights;
 Increased awareness on and general knowledge of children rights, and their practical implementation in Bulgaria
 Developed training modules, educational resources and support.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The phenomenon of disinformation is not only isolated in Bulgaria, but also in a number of other European countries, such as Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Lithuania, etc., mostly from the post-Soviet bloc. Even though, the campaigns in Bulgaria are especially active because of the factors mentioned; there are even some still unpublished journalistic investigations that show that Bulgaria is used as “test field” for campaigns against human rights and democracy in the Eastern European countries (which, in a long-term could be used as opportunity for prognosis of their development in other countries). The project aims at increasing the target group capacity to counteract the attacks and equip them with practical skills to multiply this knowledge among local and professional communities.

What is your story?

As an alliance that works towards a society where every child has their own family and enjoys the best opportunities for life and development, the promotion, protection and observing the rights of the child are part of the key principles, that unite us.
We believe that in the modern circumstances the social networks are developing and influencing the attitudes, including those towards children as individuals and right holders.

€ 45900,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 45900,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Total expenses: 45 900 EUR
Staff costs: 18 500
Development of training modules: 2000
Trainers, lector and facilitators: 7200
6 training workshops (travel, accommodation, rent of halls and technical equipment): 10 800
Production of content and promotion materials: 5000
Administrative costs: 2400

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would highly appreciate any advice and opinion on further improvement of our idea. We would also appreciate any advice from experienced members of the Community, who tackled similar problems.

Team

NNC2006

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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