Democracy and participation, Community development

Think BIG in a SMALL TOWN

Every town can be a city

Creators

Who is behind this?

Žaneta Vávrová

The Broumov Region Development Agency (Agentura pro rozvoj Broumovska, z.s.)

https://www.klasterbroumov.cz/

Czech Republic

Who is joining forces?

Strategic Council of the Broumov Region (Strategická rada regionu Broumovsko, o.p.s.)

Czech Republic


Strategic Council of the Broumov Region is a platform for transversal cooperation between municipalities and other organisations within the region.

Idea

Idea pitch

Broumov is a small historical town in a wonderful landscape near Czech–Polish border. We feel Broumov’s great potential as a “big small” European centre, and we work on this vision since 2004. However, part of our community is still injured by historical events (referring mainly to WW2) and by lack of self-confident. Some of our neighbours don’t believe in future of our hometown, in democracy, and don’t believe that anyone can change the place where he/she lives. We want to bridging these gaps.

Where will your project idea take place?

Broumov, in Northeast Czechia, near the border with Poland.

What is the local challenge?

The Broumov region was affected by shift of population and its development in the post-war period was therefore specific. New inhabitants are not so strongly connected with region and some groups of post-war incomers are not fully engaged into local processes of administration and decision making. Also a location of the region and current socioeconomic situation affects societal cohesion. Particular challenges in our region are: population ageing and depopulation (both regarding to emigration and low birth rate), unemployment (higher than national average) and lower level of education, which come to “mental peripheralization.” We try to fill the gap between locals and try to raise their education level with good practise examples. This could positively affect situation mentioned above.

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

We organize a lot of projects focused in education and democracy. E. g. we initialized “Broumov Discussion”, every-year conference based on democratic dialogue, which discussed important issues as confidence, peace, courage or European identity. The participants of these projects are usually people who likes dialogue, who take care about democracy and who are active. But there are still many people in Broumov, who are “passive”, who don’t see the opportunities that democracy brings to us. Sometimes these people hate our activities and we feel a polarization. We want to change this situation through dialogue outside the “comfort zone”. Moreover we advocate on system level changes (like strengthening subsidiarity etc.).

Who are you doing it for?

We want to put together the polarized sides of our communities by several meetings –– led by experienced facilitator and held at the places which are comfortable for our target group. The meeting will be opened to anyone, it will be informal in order to feel free. We want to establish a dialogue about opinions and cooperation. This we consider as a way to find understanding, to show that democracy is a discussion and everyone is a part of it.

To support this idea, as a result of discussion with our target group, we will prepare together a small project. What it will be about will be surprise also for us.

Also we will organize discussions with experts to share best practices focused on the topics bridging above mentioned gaps. This could be also very helpful in preparing the events.

How do you plan to get there?

Our project has 4 parts:
1.A series of 3 discussion of experts from other regions and from universities based on sharing the best practices in bridging the gaps.
2.A series of 3 events organizing in various places which are friendly for our target groups: we will go e.g. to the community around football stadium, school or popular club in Broumov. We want to minimalize barriers and start dialogue.
3.Finally, we will organize little experiment: show to our audience, that they can change the things around us by being active. Together we choose one small thing in the town, which we improved. It could be e.g. the old wall with new facade. The point is that the audience will have a direct influence on change.
4.At the end of the project, we will prepare a research to describe project impact.

What are the expected results?

We have a long-term vision that Broumov and its region would be self-confident and open minded. We want to create a space for dialogue where everyone is feeling safety. We are thinking in a long-term, so we expected the changes through months, years and more – we believe that people in our target groups could change their mindset closer to democracy, dialogue, respect for other opinions and moreover to believe in the future of our town – small town which can be a city (in a philosophic way, not by building skyscrapers). The change of mindset is a long-term process. But we are used to be patient.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

It is simple: We are Europeans. If we strengthen democracy in our region, we contribute to strengthen democracy in the Europe we are part of it. We are used to think in European dimension in many our projects. Moreover Broumov has its European roots: it has been a place where people meet in history – Germans, Czechs, Polish. Broumov is located in a border region, so we have a close relation with our Poland friends. We want to show to the world that also a small town with complicated history and location on “periphery” could be a centre of ideas, culture and education – not only in Czech context, but also in a Europe dimension. Broumov as a great place for citizens and inspirational place for visitors from all over the Europe. The town which can be a city.

What is your story?

We are democrats and we consider dialogue as a pillar of democracy – base from which can grew up a self-confident and open-minded society. This is leitmotiv of many our projects. But there are a few barriers to run a good dialogue: some stereotypes, ignorance, missing respect and understanding. We feel that sometimes it means to go out from our “comfort zone” and it could be difficult for everyone in polarized society. It's a challenge for both sides.

€ 40340,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 40340,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Activities:
Discussions with experts 2100 EUR
Discussions with locals 3000 EUR
Small project developed from discussions 1000 EUR
Research 2000 EUR
Illustrations 1200 EUR
Online/offline communication 1740 EUR

Overhead:
Project manager 6000 EUR
Program manager 4800 EUR
Moderator of expert debats 1200 EUR
Facilitator for public events 2400 EUR
Production/technicians 3600 EUR
Analytics 3600 EUR
PR and communication 1800 EUR
Accounting 2400 EUR
Accomodation, travel etc. 3500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would be happy to receive any advice or suggestion regarding our project. We also would like to share our existing experience with community development and you will be welcome in Broumov.

Team

APRB

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

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