YOUROPIA CULTURAL ASSOCIATION
The RURAL is being left behind. Its voice fades out, struggling to reach urban administrations. People lost motivation, stuck between waiting for a Government they don’t trust anymore and daring to ignite initiatives with inadequate resources. It’s time to get out of this stagnation, make their voice heard, (re)discover active participation and pave a “rural route” that starts from community-cohesion, moves to capacity building, explores political dialogue, reach civic engagement and spirals up!
The project will be held in the rural area of Oviedo, Asturias, a country region in northern Spain.
This region faces two main societal challenges:
On the democratic level, the rural communities are underrepresented and their citizens feel not heard. They don’t have enough influence in the local government and this situation discourages the community to take action in local issues. This is both cause and consequence of the polarization between rural population and urban-centred administration.
Regarding societal cohesion, the local community lacks in democratic culture. Most issues are delegated to the administration, which tends to provide solutions that poorly match the characteristics of the social fabric. This leads to a community that doesn’t engage in participatory processes and to a shortage of opportunities to work together and strengthen links among different social groups.
In order to move from a passive to a vibrant society, SPIRAL UP aims to boost the motivation not only to take action in local issues, but also to initiate a constructive dialogue with the administration.
The identification and organisation of resources (human, economic or otherwise), the capacity building of key actors, and the use of a structured-dialogue methodology will encourage cross-sector collaborations and will amplify the rural voice. Likewise, the promotion and practice of small-scale direct democracy will contribute to tackle the polarisation amid social and political forces.
Furthermore, specific actions targeting social cohesion will assure that all the perspectives are considered and reinforce the sense of belonging, necessary for civic engagement.
In the rural area, there are diverse identities and many people feel excluded (newcomers, immigrants, LGBTIQ community, etc.). Our idea addresses different sectors and make them work together on participatory processes, so as to strengthen their sense of belonging and their democratic muscle.
To do so, it is important to acknowledge the differences, but focus on the issues they have in common and what unites them as a community.Although the entire local population will benefit from the project, we will reach out to entities and key figures who are already active in the community and bring people together. We will specifically address community leaders such as neighbourhood associations’ representatives, district councils, teachers, priests, union leaders and social workers, amongst others
Review of the SOCIO-CULTURAL ANALYSIS and PREPARATION.
RE-ACTIVATION: connection with key figures, networking, contact with local administration.
COMMUNITY COHESION: meeting with different social groups, informal gatherings,l workshops, debates and round-tables;
CAPACITY BUILDING: Training Course for Multipliers on active participation and civic engagement.
DEMOCRACY LABS: pilot Participatory Budgeting (call for proposals, selection, implementation and follow-up) and self-directed local initiatives (practice stage of the TC).
STRUCTURED DIALOGUE: selection of the topics, setting of the agenda, meetings, conclusions and monitoring.
EVALUATION with local community and municipality.
“SPIRALING UP”: definition of next steps for the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the project.
Currently we can make the most of the momentum achieved throughout two years of local work with this rural community: so far, we have raised awareness about civic engagement and facilitated the channels towards a deeper democracy.
Thanks to SPIRAL UP we will be able to prepare and empower the population to be active citizens. This project will be the further step for individuals and organizations to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to emerge as protagonists and definitively transform their passive participation into active social engagement.
Within a year, this rural community will be ready to promote and uphold participatory processes autonomously and capable of keeping a constructive dialogue with the local administration. Rural voice will be heard and will have greater impact.
People in rural areas of the EU have fewer opportunities as result of movements towards urban centres or aging of the population. The European Commission pointed out that these phenomena impact on access to education, job prospects or quality of public services. According to Eurostat, the risk of poverty affects 27% of rural population.
Spiral Up will help the rural community to claim their rights and actively react to the current issues.
The project has been designed taking into account the recommendations of the European Rural Parliament campaign, the Youth Strategy and the Cycle VII of the Structured Dialogue of the EU, about participation of the rural communities.
Moreover, the International Labour Organisation states that the SDGs 1.2, 2.3 y 8.2 relate strongly to the rural sphere.
The mission behind Spiral Up is to promote and facilitate participatory processes as well as encourage active citizenship (which is also a main aim of our entity). The current Covid-19 Health Crisis and some political changes in the territory prevent from improving civic engagement in areas where we have already started a process.
Being part of a European-level project will help us re-orienting this process, and the economic support will be essential to have a better and stronger impact through a long-term project. We will develop new ideas together with the different actors in order to motivate the civil society, address the gap and disagreement between local government and rural citizens, and eventually improve social cohesion.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Networking, communication, project implementation and local actions: 22.000€
External workshops: 5.000€
Training Course on participation (empowering mltipliers) and traineeship management: 6.000€
Participatory budget: 8.000€
Marketing, community management and graphic design: 3.000€
Inspiring ideas and examples of dynamization and civic engagement in the rural areas, as well as methodologies that can be adapted and implemented in this reality are more than welcome. Also improvements based on previous experiences and networking proposals can be extremely enriching for us.