Association for civil society development Bonsai
Local Action Group LAG 5
Academy for Political Development
Local Action Group LAG Neretva
https://www.facebook.com/CentarZaMladeDubrovnik/ Dubrovnik Youth Center contributes to the local social, technological and cultural development and inclusion of young people.
Developing and fostering a more tolerant culture, democratic values, and strengthening civic engagement in the youth of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. The idea is to raise the level of political literacy in the youth of different municipalities in the county and allowing them to take an active part in the local community by giving them a chance to engage in participative budgeting and decision-making.
The project will take part in the Dubrovnik-Neretva county, Southern Croatia, population 122,000.
There is a democratic deficit and a lack of political knowledge plaguing the youth, especially in Dubrovnik-Neretva county. High school seniors show limited knowledge of basic political concepts, constitutional and political structure, and a deficit in democratic values. The data indicates that the level of political literacy and knowledge is proportional to the level of democratic beliefs and values. It is crucial to invest in raising the political literacy level in people of all ages, with specific focus on the youth. The upside is that they express a positive attitude towards civic participation and show willingness to participate in solving problems in their environment. The challenge is to educate and engage youth in political and civic participation.
Target group is people aged 16-30. In a study on high-school seniors, southern Croatia ranked at the bottom of the index of overall political knowledge and political literacy, indicating a lack of political education in the educational system. Research showed a high level of nationalism, low tolerance for minority rights, more than 50% expressed homophobic attitudes, 72% a desire to abolish a certain political party/politician, 50% inclined to abolish specific media outlets. They exhibit a lack of interest in politics and a deep political mistrust, causing unwillingness to participate. We believe that raising the level of political literacy and engaging young people is a step toward fostering a more democratic and participative environment that will enable a change in the future.
Educational and simulation program is the first phase. The aim is to help youth better understand decision-making processes, to inform them of civic rights, and enable their active participation in political processes. We will provide participants with knowledge that will help them make informed decisions and have quality participation. We will organize lectures, workshops and decision making simulations covering topics from basic political concepts to different forms of active citizenship.
Decision making simulations will provide an opportunity to test the acquired knowledge and provide experience for real life.
Debates, second phase, will provide participants with a safe space to exercise active listening, argument-based debating, and public speaking. Debates will focus on relevant local and regional topics with participants producing policy brief to be presented on a panel with municipality representatives.
Participative budgeting/decision-making will be the final phase in which participants, in cooperation with representatives of public administrations, will exercise a form of active participation in a democratic process. PB is used mainly within a small geopolitical area as working in small units improves cooperation and equality. The goal is to collect ideas and turn them into feasible small projects to be developed and executed by participants with municipalities.
- Up to 300 young people educated on basic political concepts and simulated decision-making processes
- up to 100 participants took part in structured debates, acquired and practiced techniques of active listening and argument based debating, produced min. 4 policy briefs
- up to 300 young people and representatives of min. 4 municipalities participated in min. 4 PB workshops
- a min. of 4 project ideas targeting the entire county voted, developed and executed
- Local youth are aware of their rights/obligations as citizens, are familiar with decision making processes, and are better equipped for civic engagement in local communities
- Youth county network established
- Enhanced trust between young people and local municipalities
Understanding basic political concepts, how decision-making works and what forms of civic engagement exist are prerequisites for young people to engage in the development of local communities. Decision making simulations will test their knowledge but also prepare them for real life situations. Furthermore, debates enable them to formulate their arguments and express them in a meaningful way and with respect for opposing opinions. Policy briefs will encourage participants to transform their ideas and arguments into meaningful written proposals. This in turn will allow them to engage others constructively. Finally, participative budgeting will help them identify problems and generate solutions through cooperating with peers and municipality representatives.
We are a team of 4 young people motivated to develop our local community. We are all born and/or living in the county in which we wish to implement this idea, therefore well aware of the issues and shortcomings linked to the current youth political (il)literacy and community (un)involvement. Our team consists of 2 political science and international relations MA graduates with experience in political concepts and processes, youth, and education. The executive director and program coordinator of the volunteer center and the association for civil society development is an invaluable member of the team due to her rich work experience, expertise, and drive. The fourth member of our team is a social politics MA graduate which broadens our perspective of social justice, solidarity, and equality.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
9 700 EUR (28%) - PB budget, workshops implementation
6 300 EUR (18%) - travel and accommodation expenses
2 800 EUR (8%) - office costs
1 950 EUR (5.5%) - communication and promotion, social media, and offline promotion
7 050 EUR (20%) - staff expenses, administration, project management
5 250 EUR (15%) - trainers, lecturers fees
1 950 EUR (5.5%) - contingency
Is our project idea clear? Are the expected results logically derived from our action plan? Do you have any suggestions on other methods engaging the youth to participate in the civil society and to raise civic cohesion? What are the technical details we should consider?