Community development, Social inclusion

TOGETHER WE'RE STRONGER

To work with the different communities of our village: ethnic, cultural and generational, to achieve an open and tolerant society, rooted in diversity, and achieving sustainable economic growth.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Andreja Cernevsek

Happy Foundation

https://www.lyraplitvice.com/en/responsible-tourism

Croatia

Who is joining forces?

Idea

Idea pitch

Our goals are to
• build bridges between the three different ethnic communities that live and work in our village.
• engender tolerance and support for each other through inclusivity, with a particular focus on empowering women.
• encourage economic activity and local partnerships, working towards sustainable rejuvenation of the village,
• make the village viable and sustainable so that it is attractive to younger generations who could return and settle here.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project would take place in Ličko Petrovo Selo village, in the Lika region of Croatia.

What is the local challenge?

The area of Ličko Petrovo Selo has been made up of mixed ethnicities since the 17th century when Serbian refugees settled here. A once thriving village witnessed increasing tensions in the 20th century between the Croatian majority population and the Serbian minority, which erupted in a series of massacres during WWII. In the 1990s it was here that the conflict between Croats and Serbs started, and across the border in nearby Bihać, a 3 year siege resulted in almost 5,000 people, mainly Muslim, killed or still missing. Many of the local Serbs fled and became refugees, with just a few returning. Now, 25 years later, the scars of these tragedies are still visible in the village, not only on the buildings, which still have bullet ridden facades, but also in profound divisions in the community

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

With our project we can:
- foster diversity and tolerance, building bridges between communities. Our work to end differentiation and discrimination based on social, ethnic, religious and gender differences is already well under way.
- promote female equality, improve the self-esteem of women by raising their economical and social status, inviting them to actively present opinions and regain trust in co-operation possibilities
- assist economic regeneration through the active preservation of heritage, and its commercialisation
- promote learning and working activities to support sustainable touristic and agricultural development
- increase co-operation and improve dialogue amongst the stakeholders; the village, municipality, region and promote the resettlement of the village

Who are you doing it for?

- For all the community of different ethnicities and cultures so that they can overcome their differences, work together and feel incorporated into the future development
- For all women that are neglected and left behind. We want to involve them in educational processes by supporting their heritage and traditional products and bring them to new audiences.
- For the older members of society who need to pass on their knowledge and positive values to younger generations to promote their return, thereby creating a vibrant economy.
- For the region – by promotion of sustainable development of agriculture, heritage and tourism in the area
- For all visitors to the village, so that they leave with a positive experience, and a vision of how enlightened actions can influence change

How do you plan to get there?

Key activities include:
- Organisation of the Forum on Sustainable development to include all relevant stakeholders from the region’s mixed communities (village, municipality, region and government)
- Establishing the initiative for the purchase of ecologically produced agricultural products and help with the organisation of sales and promotion
- Organisation and leadership of a series of workshops and training programmes about gender equality, education for women and teaching about their capabilities
- Publishing of the cultural heritage brochure and promotion of the traditional products and customs of the area
- Presentation of our activities to a wider audiences inside and outside the country to encourage wider support
- Development of an internet platform for information sharing

What are the expected results?

1. The establishment of a culture of acceptance, respect and dignity of every individual, recognising the importance of preserving cultural distinctions and understanding how they enrich our lives
2. We expect an increase in the role of women, and a marked improvement of their status, with recognition of their importance for the community
3. The incentivisation of local farmers to engage in sustainable farming activity through the creation of distribution and selling networks for local produce
4. A repository of information on cultural heritage published in a book about the local customs and heritage, so that it is recorded and also used to promote the area and generate sustainable touristic activity
5. Education of a wider audience with our example of sustainable development

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

For countries to become mature democracies they have to incorporate their minorities in their governance, and accept the differences of beliefs. It is one of its founding principles of Europe, championed since WWII, yet is still 'work in progress' in many places, including in our community.
Gender equality is not only a UN sustainable goal but also one of the key ideas of Europe (European Strategy for Gender Equality 2020-2025).
An unequal development between urban and rural environment, the ageing population and the escape of youth to the cities is a common denominator in Europe.
Our initiative and its goals embrace minorities and recognise their privotal role. Our action oriented policies can resolve difficult situations and move society to self fulfillment and actualisation.

What is your story?

As the Manager of Lyra hotel I am witnessing the inequalities and discrimination that the village is going through all the time ,and I have been vocal about this from the beginning. Sometimes this was to the detriment of me and the hotel.
Nevertheless I believe that every European citizen has the right to live in peace and have an equal chance to prosper and self-fulfill. Whilst we can't choose the environment in which we were born and raised, we definitely can and should influence a change for the better. The idea that people of different nationalities and religions who were fighting a terrifying war only 25 years ago, can finally live in peace and jointly prosper and develop sets an important example for everyone – and we all deserve good and to be Happy.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 65000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel costs: 30.000 EUR
Material costs related to organisation of the workshops and forums: 10.000 EUR
Publishing of the book: 8000 EUR
Creation of internet platform: 7000 EUR
Travel and accommodation: 4000 EUR
Office expenses: 3000 EUR
Public relations: 3000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would welcome opinion and also hear from those that are working on similar fields or have already or a planning to tackle similar problems. We'd love to hear any thoughts and experiences. E.g. how to prepare succesful workshops on gender inclusions, how to conduct intra-generational exchange, etc

Team

Sasok

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

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