The Good Lobby Italia
The Good Lab is an education and incubation program, targeting 8 mid-sized areas of Southern Italy. The project aims at empowering citizens to advocate for their communities’ needs and campaign to make their voices heard by decision makers. We want to bring our project where citizens feel most left out and isolated, such as suburban areas of Italy Southern regions and together with our local partners support these communities in the development of new opportunities.
Eight suburban areas of Italy Southern regions: Sardegna, Calabria, Sicilia, Puglia and Campania
Italy Southern area is the poorest of the country, not only economically speaking, but also in terms of human capital. The endemic presence of organised crime, widespread corruption, opaque politics and the employability struggles, forces many young people to leave and move to Northern Italy or abroad, affecting an already civic-deprived territory of its most valuable resources. Those who stay, especially young ones, feel forgotten by Institutions and decision-makers and withdraw from civic spaces. The key actors and stakeholders of these striving-to-be resilient communities are demanding to be supported to use the right tools, skills and strategies to make themselves heard and counteract the feeling of isolation and powerlessness towards Institutions and policy and decision-making.
The project aims at tackling phenomena such as shrinking and marginalised civic spaces, and citizens feeling of helplessness towards the democratic decision-making process. The project activities (mapping, training and incubation) calls for the active engagement of citizens in the local civic space: participants will be trained on strategic communication, participation and advocacy tools and strategies and later ask to use them in order to develop projects in response to local social matters. Moreover, the initiative foresees to nurture a community-based network made of local professionals, CSOs and active citizens, and to support local projects and movements with mentorships and bursaries up to €2k, aiming at strengthening the community’ social capital and foster active citizenship.
The Good Lab targets young people (aged 16-40) living in suburban communities of Italy Southern regions (such as Salerno, Messina, etc.). This groups are fuelled by social and environmental degradation and feel removed from the flow of innovation and decision-making centres. The abandonment of the public space, the deterioration of its quality, the weakening and fragmentation of the social fabric are spreading phenomena. In order to picture it in figures, we could mention that in 2018, 117.000 local people left these regions to move to northern areas and 42.000 moved abroad, and more than 60% of them are aged 18-40; or that the data on election voter turnout is the lowest of all Italy: 42% compared to 64% in the Northern areas.
> Mapping analysis of the target communities and listing of local actors, and first contact
> Definition of the workshops contents on the basis of the local needs pitched by TGL existing local partners and newly engaged local actors;
> Workshops advertisement and promotion via different channels
> Workshop delivery (2-days) with local and national speakers
> Participant’s draft and development of advocacy projects focused on community issues, throughout the workshop
> Incubation of the most promising advocacy projects: up to 6-months mentorships (online and in person) carried out by pro bono experts, local tutors and TGL team on topics such as project-management, fundraising, people raising, communication, etc.
> Granting a bursary of up to €2.000 to support the incubated projects
We expect to develop local networks of active citizens trained and empowered to advocate for what matters to them and their communities; these networks will also include local stakeholders and experts, becoming local permanent resources. Moreover, providing targeted consultancies and mentorships - carried out up to 6 months by our team and pro bono professionals - and a bursary up to €2.000 - we expect to see groups of local citizens and NGOs advocating for what they care, reaching out to policy and decision makers, triggering social participation and creating civic spaces. We cherish the rise of new grassroots groups and activities enriching the local scenario with human capital and civic skills, and on the long run, tangible changes relating to the social issues of the local communities.
Italy has always been among the Member States with the highest level of trust in the EU. In recent years, however, especially since the financial crisis of 2011, a deep sense of distrust towards the EU institutions has started to spread out, resulting in a drop in the number of Italian voters in the 2019 European elections, in contrast to what happened in the rest of Europe. This disaffection towards Europe was further exacerbated by the health crisis caused by Covid-19, in which many Italians felt abandoned by Europe, as shown by the most recent surveys.
The Good Labs wants to show citizens living in marginalized communities that Europe is not far away and that it is possible to get in touch with the European institutions, represent their interests and make their voices heard.
When Riparte il futuro became The Good Lobby Italia it wanted to shift from being Italy's biggest anti-corruption community to focusing on those issues at corruption’s roots, such as lack of participation, citizens distrust towards Institutions and withdrawal from civic spaces. We believed that by meeting citizens in their communities, especially those living in marginalized areas, and offering both educational opportunities and long-term strategic support, we could nurture a network of engaged activists. Promoting active citizenship we want to help safeguarding democracy - always at risk to be undermined - while making it more open, and spreading a culture of participation and democracy. That’s why TGL educational offer aims at features such as local-tailoring and community-based delivery
Funding requested from Civic Europe
The Good Lab is currently supported by two donors, funding the project for roughly two-third of its budget. The US Embassy in Italy mostly supports the engagement of US speakers, while Open Society Initiative for Europe mainly funds workshops' organization costs.
Our expected major expenses for Civic Europe funding are:
Personnel (project officer): 15.000€
Travels and accommodation: 6.000€
Communication and marketing: 8.000€
Bursary and Incubation activities: 16.000€
Any feedback from the online community is welcomed! We are looking for advice especially relating to the incubation phase and what kind of consultancy do local NGOs based in suburban areas need.