Community development, Personal development of young women

‘‘This is who I am’ Exploring your self-identity”

Women’s personal growth for community growth – a supportive program for young women to develop their full personal capacity, embracing tradition and modernity.


Who is behind this?

Teresa Marsh

Kulturni centar Harmica (Harmica Cultural Centre)



Idea pitch

Living in Velika Gorica, a ‘civic desert’ just outside of Zagreb, with 55% of the population rural residents and 45% urban, one of the challenges is the conflict between two ways of living – traditional and modern. Young women in this environment find it difficult to realise their true aspirations owing to conflicting values of local society. We propose to provide training and activities to help these young women be more personally embodied, self-aware and equipped to make individual choices.

Where will your project idea take place?

Our project will take place in Velika Gorica, a small town near Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Velika Gorica has a population which is 55% rural and 45% urban which has two conflicting influences and ways of living, the traditional style and belief that women should marry, have children and work in the field, and the modern view of women as being in many things equal to men. Our target group is young women between the age of 18 and 30 many of whom are influenced by this situation and do not feel capable of overcoming the more traditional views to be able to realise their own potential. The local community is lacking in supportive initiatives that would enable these young women to be more self-confident, self-aware and able to be autonomous and to realise their full potential as women and as citizens. This same problem is found in many areas of Croatia.

Who are you doing it for?

The program is to be developed for women aged 18 to 30 in Velika Gorica, where 51.5% of the total population are female, and will be open to women from other parts of Croatia facing similar issues. These women, at the threshold of a fully mature life, are finishing their education, finding their first job, starting a family or business or deciding to continue their education. These life orienting events can prove very stressful when the expectations of their family or community are at variance with the desires or possibilities of a young woman. Our program is intended to prepare these women to deal with this situation and to feel strong or assertive enough to overcome such obstacles in order to achieve their personal goals in life.

How do you plan to get there?

Our specific steps will be:
- Finalise plan - dates, event localities, explore and agree topics with local women, confirm speakers, including our contacts from Spain, Italy and UK
- Create program, print, distribute and publish via Facebook and Instagram
- Carry out activities:
Monthly lectures, workshops or panel discussions:
a) Body – make your appearance more suitable to you – fashion, body language, self-esteem, etc.
b) Mind – become more self-oriented – what are my rights, decision making, etc
c) Heart – self-realisation – communication skills, discovering one’s talents, impact of thoughts on feelings, etc.
- Weekend trip to UK on Fashion awareness (FAD UK)
- Complete evaluation questionnaires and follow up
- Brochure to share with non-participants and final reports

What are the expected results?

We envisage that a year from now, when the project has been completed, we will have provided education and training to at least 20 young women from Velika Gorica and many more from around Croatia (maybe 100s), to enable them to be more self-confident, self-aware and ready to face up to the social challenges of the environment in which they live. Success for us will be the positive feedback provided in the completed questionnaires at the end of the project, continued contact with the majority of the participants, and hopefully specific examples of young women who have taken the decisive step to go for the career that they want. Empowerment of these young women will mean empowerment of the local community and more women able to take an active part in civic society.

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

We believe that a person who is more self-aware and self-fulfilled is more likely to be active in the processes of democracy at the local and community level. The more one is personally developed, the greater the benefits for the community as a whole. A young woman who does not succeed in finding her own way to establish her unique lifestyle, that embraces both traditional and modern values, is in danger of losing her integrity. Our idea will connect these women with women from other parts of Croatia and neighbouring countries of Europe, who will provide their own example of being active women in society who have achieved their goals and self-realisation. This will enable the participants to gain a wider perspective and be encouraged to be more active in their own community.

Why is this idea important to you?

The team members who live in Velika Gorica are very aware of the situation in their home town and the problems this gives rise to in their own friends and relations. In addition, we all strongly believe that these women need help on the road to emancipation and self-realisation, and that this change is necessary not just for the good of Velika Gorica but for Croatia as a whole. Women in particular, because of their personal qualities, are very capable and we believe they are a force that needs to be better developed and prepared to take the country into the 21st Century and beyond, and to develop Croatia as an active member of the European Union.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Office and administrative expenses: 2,000€
Travel and accommodation costs: (2 international speakers x 3,000€) = 6,000€
Public relations: 2,000€
Personnel costs:
Project manager/ coordinator: (12 months x 1000€ = 12,000€)
Administration: (12 months x 250€ = 3,000€)
Speakers: (3 international x 2000€ + 12 national x 500€ = 12,000€)
Weekend activities including weekend in London: 12,000€
Refreshment costs during lectures: 1,000€

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would appreciate feedback of any kind on our idea and advice on how we can improve it, also any ideas as to future projects that we could carry out together with other similar organisations both in Croatia and in other countries, and openness to future partnerships.


Harmica Cultural Centre


Ivna Ivanković

Idea created on May 25, 2020
Last edit on May 26, 2020

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