Elliniki Etairia Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage
Association of Cephalonians and Ithacans of Piraeus
The Heritage of Taste
Our NGO and our leading partner have well established partnerships of various kinds on the island that we can make use of, including the 3 municipalities of Cephalonia (Sami, Lixouri and Argostoli).
In Greece it is really common to witness people complaining about the state of public spaces. Well, usually they are right to do so.
Piggy Bank Army shall give locals the opportunity to change public space the way they need to by crowdsourcing their skills. Through providing creative capacity building activities depending on the issue that needs fixing (eg carpentry) or ones that can generate revenue in a sense of revolving crowdfunding, it will activate communities around selected sites.
Lixouri, Argostoli and other villages of the island of Cephalonia (Western Greece)
In Greece the vast majority of the country’s population resides in Athens, Thessaloniki and a couple big cities. Therefore, it makes sense that central development plans and financial policies revolve almost exclusively around those places. Having this in mind, it is easy to understand why it is common for people of Cephalonia, an island disconnected from mainland, to feel excluded and in many cases abandoned by the state policy makers. The issues that Cephalonia faces are apparent to its residents who think they can do nothing but feel helpless since it is their understanding that nobody cares about their island. Piggy Bank Army is not just a project that will assist in alleviating these issues but also help people engage and actively participate in their island development.
Piggy Bank Army will crowdsource local expertise and voluntary work to create a revenue that will assist volunteers themselves to reclaim and reuse neglected urban landmarks in a way they want. After mapping their needs, the program will steadily commence on building a community of active citizens that wish to make a difference in their surroundings and through mini events inspire them to keep acting on their own. The project’s target is, after having a part of its masterplan materialized, to gradually start moving away from the community so that people are able to continue with their own powers unaffected of external parameters. Piggy Bank Army then will be able to recommence on a different place, thus enlarging its volunteer database and creating a domino like effect of civic engagement.
Main target groups are:
Locals – the main population of the island is fragmented between the small cities of Argostoli, Lixouri and a vast amount of tiny villages. Occasionally there is conflict between regions
Former Inhabitants – most people born on the island after the 60s have relocated to seek work opportunities in Athens. Many of them return for the holiday season
Seniors – the biggest percentage of local population
People with disabilities – locals or visitors, the mountain terrain of the island is not friendly to people with movement or other disabilities
Children – from the “Sotiros” orphanage and local schools
Tourists – many people love going to the island for vacation, however once they get used to the natural beauty they complain about the lack of activities provided
Mapping – detection of the needs of locals regarding the urban fabric
Masterplan Creation–use of the mapping results, cooperation with locals, authorities and related experts to make a masterplan with gratuated budget to be gradually implemented
Kickoff event–start mini events to enhance civic participation of the selected target groups, attract volunteers and start generating in kind revenue
Platform–creation of online platform that will document the volunteers’ names and expertise, inform people of upcoming events, state how much revenue has been generated and the grade of masterplan implementation
Mini events–originally by expert facilitators, later locals take over and host their own events, attract more volunteers and extra revenue
Masterplan–gradual implementation, evaluation
Expected results may vary depending on the needs of the community and the opportunities provided. For instance, it could be upgrading equipment of a public square, or reusing an old building turning it to a school or even restoring a site that is somehow valuable for the community. What is most important though is that the island will be kept out of hibernation in wintertime, providing locals plenty of opportunities to upgrade their skills (or just socialize) and at the same time actively reclaim their urban surroundings. In numbers we expect to attract as volunteers: 20 seniors, 20 children, 30 former inhabitants, 10 locals not fitting in other categories and 30 tourists. Events will be accessible for people with disabilities, their numbers are included in the aforementioned categories.
In many European countries, especially in the south, lots of people believe that it is the richest countries that dictate decisions and policies, therefore their luck of trust makes them hostile towards Europe.
By participating in this program, people will find themselves on the other side of the equation, where they are the ones in charge of decision making. They will be able to understand how things actually work and gain the skill to evaluate policy decisions by grasping all different aspects and possible conflicts that contribute on specific outcomes. So, even if on occasion they are correct to challenge authorities, they will be able to better understand the reasons behind policies and find a way to act accordingly, in a way an active citizen should.
During these past five years that we have been facilitating projects all around Greece, the general public had always been supportive. People have always been distinguishing between us volunteers and the state that is often unable to act the way we do. What is more interesting though is that many of them were often inspired by our work and asked us if there was any way they could be of assistance. Piggy Bank Army is the project that has been created to satisfy this need and a way of proving our appreciation for this support. A stepping stone to encourage active citizenship and help people bring the change they need to, not by providing mentoring but by leading with examples and then allowing them to take over.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Travel / accommodation–€5.000
Digital platform (design, set up etc)–€2.000
Because of the project’s nature, some mapping, consulting and facilitation experts have decided to assist pro bono thus reducing the requested budget
Any kind of feedback is always welcome! We would also appreciate comments of people in the community letting us know if they resonate in any way with our vision and if they are aware of any related social crowdsourcing best practices.