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Our Future, Our Democracy | Civic Europe
Social inclusion

Our Future, Our Democracy

Building Bridges and Empowering Communities through Participation, Collaboration & Social Inclusion


Who is behind this?

Kai Brand-Jacobsen

Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR)



Idea pitch

From the 3 communities of Camarasu, Reghin and Gherla, Our Future fosters grassroots, participatory democracy through dialogues, collaborative forums, inclusion training for local institutions, youth empowerment, creation of the Our Future, Our Democracy Civic Agendas, film festivals and more to empower and engage citizens and institutions to solve local issues and achieve measurable impact on overcoming divisions, improving active citizenship and strengthening democracy.

Where will your project idea take place?

Camarasu, Reghin, Gherla & nationally - comprehensive community engagement + national collaboration

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Camerasu (RO: 77.74%, ROM:15.09%, HU: 7.15%), Reghin (RO: 66.81%, 26.02%, ROM: 6.32%, GER: 0.57%) and Gherla (RO: 76.0%, HU 16.4%, ROM: 3.5%) face low levels of citizens’ trust in local and national government; high levels of school drop outs and youth illiteracy; systemic pockets of poverty and limited job opportunities; social polarisation across identity groups; gender-stereotypes and gender-based violence; low levels of citizens 'hope' and expectations for the future; active discrimination against local Roma community and mistrust across ethnic groups. Local institutions have little to address the challenges facing their communities. The project will improve local citizens, youth and LA engagement to find collaborative approaches to addressing these issues.

Who are you doing it for?

Doing WITH not ‘for’- 5 primary TGs and 4 secondary:
TG1: community representatives and citizens across key identity and social groups. At least 20 per community will be involved in community Round Tables (60 total);
TG2: local government institutions and services: 10x3 in consultations; 20x3 in trainings; 10x3 in Roundtables;
TG3: youth - 60 youth participants per community (180 total)
TG4: local teachers and civic actors (10x3) for teacher/educator training and civic workshops
TG5: 100+ x3 local community members through film festivals and awareness activities

Secondary TGs: at least 30 local/national NGOs; 200+ per webinar x8; state institutions, MPS and Senators (15+); 10+MEPs and EU institutions. The film: at least 5000+ views and be shown in the TIFF Film Festival

How do you plan to get there?

S1. Listen: Consultations, perceptions survey, participatory action research: communities, institutions and citizens analyse the issues in their community;
S2. Connect: Facilitated Democracy Dialogues bring community together across divisions to build trust, mutual understanding and co-create solutions;
S3. Build: Capacity building for local institutions on social inclusion; collaborative problem-solving; improving services and confidence-building; civic education for students on democracy, social inclusion, youth action for change;
S4. Voice: Community Collaborative Democracy Forums, Youth Parliaments
S5: Share: Stories (youth, local democracy), Webinars; ColDem Forums Cluj + Buc; Booklet on Citizenship and Democracy, Film
S6. Advocate: Civic Agendas - LAs, Bucharest and Brussels

What are the expected results?

1. Large numbers of youth in each community feel more empowered to participate, know their voices matter and be involved in democracy; Our Future clubs continue after the project, spread to other parts of Romania and Europe;
2. Trust is measurably improved across ethnic groups;
3. Women & Girls voices are heard and communities have action agendas to target GBV;
4. LGAs and local institutions have improved understanding and capacity for collaborative governance and confidence-building to citizens;
5. Sustainable democratic structures including the Roundtables and Youth Parliaments continue after the duration of the project;
6. The Voices, Stories, Film, Film Festival, Webinars & Advocacy improve understanding of the needs of civic deserts with national institutions, government and EC

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

Local institutions, identity groups and youth will themselves identify the key issues affecting governance, participation and social inclusion (above). Community Dialogue Roundtables will bring citizens and institutions together, engaging people across divisions using facilitated dialogues to improve mutual understanding, build trust and communication, and co-create solutions. Training and civic education for local authorities, teachers and students will help them to address these issues together. Through these processes and local and national Youth Parliaments stakeholders will create ‘Civic Agendas’ which they will then take up with local authorities, national government and Brussels institutions through advocacy trips to address the systemic challenges to democracy in their communities.

Why is this idea important to you?

This project speaks to the deepest commitments and mission of our staff and Institute. We have identified for years the impacts of transition and political and economic developments over the past 30 years and more on our communities. There are 'forgotten' and neglected regions of Romania and Europe more widely where deep, unaddressed social, political and economic issues are giving rise to increasing polarisation and divisions. This is about much more than a simple 'one off' project. We have combined on-the-ground hands-on work in communities to achieve real, measurable and sustainable impact and change with a powerful and visionary approach to multiply this impact at the national and EU levels while bringing about increased collaboration amongst actors in this field nationally.

€ 62800,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Total Staff Costs including Trainers, Community Workers, Facilitators: 32.000
Community Round Tables, Trainings, Youth Trainings: 4000
Community Engagement Visits incl Travel & Accom: 4500
Publications: 4000
Multilingual translations: 1000
Local Youth Parliaments: 1000
National Youth Parliament: 4000
Our Future, Our Democracy Film: 4000
Local Community Film Festivals: 1800
Cluj Democracy Forum: 2000
Bucharest Democracy Forum & Advocacy: 2000
Brussels Advocacy: 2500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would love to know if you are working in these areas and would like to be part of our Collaborative Democracy Forums in Cluj and Bucharest. We'd also love to hear your experiences working in challenging communities to foster authentically participatory processes and inclusive processes!




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

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