Democracy and participation, Civic education

VoiceXpress

Giving voice to small town and village communities

Creators

Who is behind this?

Todor Yavorov

"Grajdanite"

http://www.citizensapp.org/

Bulgaria

Who is joining forces?

Grajdanite

http://citizensapp.org

Bulgaria


Idea

Idea pitch

A vlog platform that addresses democratic issues in small towns and villages. VoiceXpress empowers citizens to discuss social issues within their communities and educate on democratic topics, engage with like-minded people, and reach national audiences to get critical mass for a positive change.

Where will your project idea take place?

Due to the digital nature of VoiceXpress targets all small towns and cities in Bulgaria.

What is the local challenge?

In small town and village communities people can’t reach a critical mass to accomplish positive democratic change regardless if they are trying to address issues or to educate on a topic. 5 examples:

LGBT are often seen as incompatible among locals and people with “odd” views are ignored, labelled and feel like outsiders.

Segregation of Roma children in class, a problem often neglected by local authorities and media.

Independent journalists and activists are often easily censored.

People don't know their democratic rights and obligations.

As a result people find solutions in migration to cities and even other countries. In addition, not being able to solve locally social issues leads to suffocation and decay of democratic principles in small communities, thus, in Europe.

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

VoiceXpress activates democracy and citizens' engagement in several ways. First, this is an online platform and as such it guarantees that the voice of small community members will be heard on a national scale. Second, the platform will detect and attract role models including such from small cities and villages to vlog on different topics and so to set the right example. Third, the platform will promote, paid and organically, vlogs in order to get more reach and support from online audiences. Fourth, VoiceXpress will be a place to meet like-minded people whenever that is not possible within small communities. And fifth, by having a tool where you can educate or discuss democratic issues will bring local community members closer to each other.

Who are you doing it for?

VoiceXpress targets several groups in small towns and villages:

1) LGBT people that need support for being different and small communities
2) Independent journalists and whistleblowers censored by local media/neglected by local authorities
3) People from 7 to 29 years that need education on democratic principles
4) Advocates of democracy who are willing to educate on basic principles, rights and obligations
5) People such as Roma who are discriminated and need information on how to solve the problems

By creating an open for everyone platform and attracting locals to vlog on certain topics and issues within small towns and villages VoiceXpress will set the right prerequisites for a positive impact on democracy in small communities.

How do you plan to get there?

We can divide the steps in 3 main categories: product, marketing and routine.

Product:
We need to design and code a website with video infrastructure for vlogging. Our team has already done projects with similar specifications and we can do it by our own.

Marketing:
We plan to use mostly digital channels to reach audiences and detect the right partners to start off.

Routine:
Work closely with the vloggers to get them onboard and provide maximum support to spread their content to the right audience and traction.

What are the expected results?

At VoiceExpress' first birthday we wish the get the following traction:

- 100k+ registered vloggers from small towns and cities
- 500k+ vlogs addressing democratic issues in communities and educating people on basic principles
- 3mln+ engaged citizens nationwide
- Media transparency to independent local journalists
- Community members will be brought closer together by understanding each other
- But most of all we want build a platform to enable and empower local community members to express relevant democratic cases and find support

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Every aspect of VoiceExpress is directly affecting democracy among small communities. To be more specific, our project focuses on transparency, bringing different community members closer, representation, participation, equality, unification and education on democratic topics.

Still the big part of the population in Bulgaria lives in small towns and villages. Still this part the population that has the lowest democracy level and the least amount of tools with which to raise the level. Succeeding to strengthen democracy on a local community level will raise the overall democratic level of Europe.

What is your story?

We believe that all communities need a better understanding of democracy, digital tools for participation and contemporary ways to express views and address social issues. Speaking of small towns and villages they need the above more than ever. Personally for us it is important to raise the level of democracy in any geography no matter how well you live. Only then we can have cohesive active citizenship throughout the country and in Europe.

Another reason for our motivation is that 5 years of experience with social initiatives gives our team the right prerequisite to build on and empower active citizenship additionally.

€ 37500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 37500,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Over a 12+ month period of time the rough estimation of major expenses would be:

Salaries to code the platform - 12,000 EUR
IT services (AWS, transactional emails, etc.) - 2,000 EUR
Marketing saleries - 12,000 EUR
Ads - 2,000 EUR
Vloggers fee - 8,000 EUR
A kick-off event - 1,000 EUR
Printed materials/branded accessories - 500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

From our own experience we know that projects like this could morph a in the beginning and could even pivot at a point. We welcome advice on community building, grassroots and the overall concept of VoiceXpress.

Team

contacts@citizensapp.org

Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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