Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

STEPS for civic engagement & social participation

Strengthening civic engagement and social participation of volunteers (aged 14-19 years) and children from disadvantaged families.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Madalina Lescai

Fundatia Inima de Copil

http://www.inimadecopil.ro

Romania

Idea

Idea pitch

We are in the SE of Romania, one of the poorest regions.The problems people are facing every day make them less aware of the problems around them, they don’t know how to get involved in their community in order to change smth. Thus, there is almost 0 probability they can educate their children in this respect. Our objective is to change this perspective by involving 10 volunteers who will guide a group of 15 children from disadvantaged families into opportunities for civic and social knowledge.

Where will your project idea take place?

Galati, south -east Romania.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The specific societal challenge that we aim to tackle with our project is to give young adolescents and children from disadvantaged families the knowledge and tools about different institutions active on social, political or civic level, about their role and attributions. With this project we will also empower the young members of our city to know that they can make a difference around them, that their voices are important, the importance of being an active citizen, instead of a passive one.

Who are you doing it for?

-10 teenagers, mainly from high-schools from Galati (14-19 years old) who are coming as volunteers and are involved in projects of our organization
-15 children from the social programs of our organization, coming from underprivileged families

How do you plan to get there?

First, with the help of one staff of the organization who will coordinate them, there will be a series of meetings facilitated by the volunteers with the children from underprivileged areas from Galati. The children will be guided to identify the problems and challenges they are facing (living conditions, the attitude of classmates or teachers, wishes and dreams they do not have access to, decisions in which they want to be involved) or questions they have regarding different state institutions and their role. There will be at least 4 such meetings in which there will be a peer-to-peer transfer of knowledge in terms of identifying problems, debating, argumentation, writing their questions and their need for answers.
They will then decide upon the different institutions they are going to visit, thinking of the ones that have an impact on their lives or the ones they want to find out more about. We estimate there will be at least 8 such visits, during which they will have the opportunity to learn more, ask questions and find out ways in which their problems and voices can be heard at the level of authorities.
The final event will be a round table (physical or online) with representatives of volunteers, children and authorities visited, in order to extract the lessons learned from the project.

What are the expected results?

The 10 teenagers involved in facilitating the multi-stakeholder dialogue proposed in the project between children from their city and diverse institutions, will be also the ones who will support the activation and expression of the 15 children from disadvantaged backgrounds (living in peripheral neighborhoods, with many unfulfilled basic,educational, health needs, from single-parent families, with very low incomes, with legal problems, etc). It is very possible that some of the problems that will arise will not be quickly resolved, but the process of activating children, critical thinking, knowledge of their rights and obligations as citizens is very important. T
Thus all of them will further grow into active citizens of the community.

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

The children involved in the project will become a voice in front of the representatives of some institutions, not only for their families, but also for other children with similar interests to theirs, children and families who face the same daily problems, needs, discrimination without usually the possibility of a dialogue with various state institutions.
The knowledge about civic and social education (information about local authorities, other institutions, decision bodies,etc) and skills (argumentation, debating, identifying problems and searching for solutions, etc) aquired by children and volunteers through the project will represent a long-term gain, that will improve their quality of life.

Why is this idea important to you?

Heart of a Child Foundation is a grass-roots NGO, created and established in Galati since 1996. During all these years we had numerous projects for children and families in need, children with disabilities, in which we worked closely with volunteers. All the members of the team are people living in Galati, with solid experience in social and civic services. We are motivated to implement this project as we know from first-hand experience the need for knowledge in terms of civic engagement and social participation for younger members of society and the need for improved civic cohesion.

€ 15000,-

Total budget

€ 15000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel costs - 10300 euro
Office expenses - 600 euro
Local transport - 500 euro
Hygienic supplies (masks and disinfectants) -500 euro
Resources for meetings - 1200 euro
Administrative costs - 1900 euro

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would appreciate any kind of advice, comment or feedback regarding our idea, as this will help us improve and develop.

Team

Fundatia Inima de Copil

Idea created on April 26, 2021

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