Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

What is your goodwill gesture?

Building a higher understanding and pro-activeness among youth towards creating a kinder, warmer, and open society by starting a circle of actions, which contribute to better learning and living.


Who is behind this?

Sonja Čandek

TiPovej, Institute for creative society


Who is joining forces?

The Friends of Youth Association of Ljubljana


We are two project partners but our project partnership plans to integrate external institutions (schools, youth centres and municipalities).


Idea pitch

Lack of community spirit, individualism and rise of mental health problems in youngsters provoked us to increase performance of goodwill gestures, raise the morale and sense of community. Activating young people to join and co-create spaces of interaction
and acceptance where they will get power and the responsibility to shape their own lives
and living spaces. Goodwill gestures campain provokes youngsters to take part in recommended challenges, starting a cycle of actions and good impacts.

Where will your project idea take place?

Ljubljana, Slovenia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Through appreciative inquiry interviews we asked young people "What is good and can be even better". With most youth programs focusing on individual growth, career success and personal brand building, community spirit, activism and projects benefiting community are often lacking. We ask young people to be the change and lead us forward into a brighter future, but we don't often teach them how to do that. When one learns to care form himself alone on a daily basis, it is hard to later on, be attentive toward others. That is why we want to show young people the importance of goodwill actions in their everyday life and how participating and engaging on a smaller level can prepair you for bigger challenges and can lead towards taking active role in your community and the society as a whole.

Who are you doing it for?

Ljubljana has around 60.000 young inhabitants of which only a quarter are participants of youth organizations or youth programs. With our project, we wish to connect with youngsters (aged 14 – 25) who are not yet actively participating in non-formal activities. We wish to reach two main target groups: youngsters who come from rural parts of the city with poorer infrastructure and less opportunities. As well as young people who come from economically stable households but suffer from the lack of social skills, narrow horizons or very low motivation and diligence to actively participate and contribute to their own lives as well as life of others in a positive way.

How do you plan to get there?

The goodwill gestures project has 4 main steps:

1. Promotional campaign and open invitation for all youth.

2. Educational activities are opportunity for in-depth work with selected young people prepared by precious experts. Execution of workshop will take place in smaller groups (Introductory and content based - Ecology and circular economy; Personal capacity building; Youth activism and political literacy; Future skills) and a final joint event.

3.Implementaion of five goodwill gestures (Share your knowledge; Recycle/upcycle; Learn differently; Participate in decision-making processes; Perform a random act of kindness), posted on city of learning platform and confirmed by digital learning badges, community building and good actions movement creation as well as impact exploration.

4. The final part of the project is creating of good practice model, which has three steps. Action research throughout the project, creation of good practice model and dissemination to relevant partners and stakeholders. Youth and their supporters will become the role model and young ambassadors of the project.

What are the expected results?

Direct: 100 committed and empowered young people, who are more competent, knowledgeable, sensitive and proactive in their local community; higher engagement of youth - not yet a part of non-formal educational programs; 500 goodwill gestures performed and published on the City platform. Indirect: Growth of communal spirit, formation of new live and online communities, start-up initiatives born from the gestures; positive atmosphere in the city, intergenerational collaboration; local business and people involvement; good practice model - transferable to any city or region.

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

Our activities will provide participants with knowledge about important institutions, programs, laws and issues in which they can contribute and actively participate in. Through methods like debating, round table, interactive cafes and online goodwill gesture movement we will show young people that you can start to engage in topics you are passionate about firstly on a smaller scale (your neighbourhood, school) and later on by joining non-formal programs, companies and form initiatives that will help enrich the lives and environments of bigger communities. The core of the project is making the positive change in the state of mind of humans - that they alone can influence their active participation and that they can make a difference even if the society around them is trying to prevent it.

Why is this idea important to you?

Sonja Čandek – Social pedagogue, project leader, program leader for City incubator and School for Life. I wish to activate our youth to make a difference in their communities.
Urška Česnik, Psychologist and youth worker, coordinates City of learning platform. I believe focusing on the positive can help us promote mental health and encourage active citizenship.
Tanja Povšič – Preschool children educator, mediator, youth advocate, 15 year working with children youth and parents. My mission is to empower youngsters to take charge of their future.
Petra Zega – Sociologist, children rights activist, children’s parliaments organizer, OPIN community for e- participation of yout. I aim to hear the voice of youth and create safe space for their realization.

€ 28000,-

Total budget

€ 28000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Management: leading partner – 500 EUR per month (6000 total), participating partner – 250 EUR per month (3000 total).
Trainings: material expenses - 50 EUR per workshop (1250 total); trainers fee - 150 EUR per workshop (3750 total); rent costs – 80 EUR per workshop (2000 total); refreshments – 40 EUR per workshop (1000 total)
Communication and promotion: social media expert - 250 EUR per month (3000 total); website expenses – 208 EUR per month (2500 total)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How does idea sound? How to make it unique since we know that there are many similar initiatives? How to address promotion for target groups in a way that it will also provoke political engagement not only goodwill gestures? Is there something missing in the “big picture” sense?



Idea created on April 14, 2021
Last edit on April 22, 2021

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