Iva van Hoek
Društvo DIH - Enakopravni pod mavrico
Due to centralization, the knowledge about LGBT+ topics in Slovene rural areas is scarce. Our loved ones are facing discrimination and mental health problems as a consequence, wondering why their own communities aren’t more inclusive and informed. We want to target LGBT+ people and general public in rural areas, to ensure the safety of first and educate the latter. We will offer our resources to stimulate building empathetic and active local communities that advocate for social justice.
Slovenj Gradec, Rogaška Slatina, Nova Gorica and Idrija, Slovenia
In Slovenia there are many rural areas, where the level of knowledge about LGBT+ topics and safe spaces for them are scarce or non-existent. The periphery is less civically developed and the differences in regions in Slovenia are significant. With the project we want to empower LGBT+ people and offer support for building communities to combat isolation, loneliness and in turn ensure better mental health of LGBT+ individuals. Due to centralization, high levels of homophobia, misinformation and exclusion are omnipresent in rural areas. As well as offering a safe space for individuals we want to contribute to educating the rural population, combating specific prejudices and making the public more empathetic.
Main target group are LGBT+ individuals in rural areas around Slovenia. They differ in age, sexual identity and orientation and come from different socio-economic statues, have different perspectives on human rights, LGBT+ issues, politics and religion. Second target group is the public in rural areas with just as diverse backgrounds. We want to offer initial support to the main target group and provide them with tools for them to continue the activism as well as familiarize the public with LGBT+ issues, which can help create communities and enhance safety. Ensuring safety is crucial, as almost 49 % of participants have experienced violence (99.4 % of those more than once) because of their sexual orientation (Društvo informacijski center Legebitra, 2016).
Our two main areas of work we will be training LGBT+ youth for peer support, and organising “one-day-camps” for locals where we share resources and tools for social activism, mentor each other in developing new activist initiatives and provide financial support.
For reaching new local volunteers we will use the snowball approach. The peer support trainings will be organised in a more formal way, to ensure maximum responsibility and support. Through promotion at local actions, online and in collaboration with local organization and authorities, we will make sure LGBT+ youth are aware of the option of benefitting from peer support for LGBT+ youth by LGBT+ youth.
The one-day-camps will be organised by local youth for local youth using methods of non-formal education like discussion groups, ice-breakers, team assignments, using art, digital tools, timelines, visualization and cocreation of plans.
We will implement 10 one-day-camps, each of which will result in:
- a local group that will work together on an activity that will support the LGBT+ community in their area
- a concrete action plan for the local action including timeframe, promotion, ways to reach out more and budget planning
- stronger network of different local groups and ties to the local authorities and organizations.
LGBT+ people live all around Slovenia, yet our possibilities differ greatly. The project will allow for execution of events in our areas, which will not only combat loneliness of individuals but ease the path to self-acceptance. By providing various resources we will make civic engagement more accessible and share our knowledge to ensure the continuation of activism. We will help civically develop periphery and decentralize LGBT+ content, contributing to a more educated and empathetic public. The goal is to not only create and strengthen communities, but to destigmatize LGBT+ topics in the eyes of the public and enlarge safe spaces that allow further empowerment.
In Slovenia, the LGBT+ community continues to be centralised in Ljubljana, causing the isolation of LGBT+ individuals and the spread of misinformation and homophobia throughout rural areas. Our idea aims to tackle this at a community level by empowering fellow locals to organise LGBT+ groups and activities for ourselves, using trainings in our own areas. In doing so, we hope to create sustainable LGBT+ communities in rural areas which will combat isolation and the spread of misinformation. This will strengthen active citizenship by engaging local LGBT+ individuals in activism and organisation where there previously was none, fostering community and self-acceptance. We believe such activism will increase respect for LGBT+ identities in rural areas, thereby strengthening democracy.
The core team consists of 4 young LGBT+ volunteers who live and come from different local areas and wish to start organising there, the supporting staff of DIH that has 3 years of extensive experience in working with decentralization, youth work and project management, and a network of youth organisations in local areas that will support the project. The volunteers have first-hand experience both as living in a remote homophobic area as well as doing LGBT+ activism within a collective that is still growing.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Peer support personnel costs (mental health professional training and mentoring volunteers): 5000€
Coordination personnel costs (4 local coordinators): 6000€
Design, proofreading, translation and publishing booklets: 7000 €
Logistic costs for one-day-camps: 2000€
Budget for 10 local actions: 8000€
Travel costs: 1.000 €
Office expenses: 1.000 €
We would like to receive feedback on the used approaches, the vision of the project idea, what we did well and what can be done for further improvement in the creation process, management and implementation. Advice or comments of the planned outcome, the benefit and the impact of intended actions.