The 2020 elections revealed an ugly truth, the radicalized vote grew a lot in the rural areas of Leiria. This is a symptom of lack of tolerance and community view, and we believe that has happened because rural habitants feel unseen and unheard. To counter that we want to build a community that has culture as the common ground, where rural and urban young people share experience and learn from each other and have the opportunity to share their ideas with local decision-makers in an informal tone
Maceira, town in Leiria
With this project, we aim to create spaces for dialogue between groups of young people, political decision-makers, and change-makers. We aim to tackle problems such as cultural differences, differences in access to resources, tolerance, and good coexistence.
We want to address youth political disengagement and lack of trust in the leaders of our region because youth often have negative opinions about their leaders and become discontent and distant. Young people feel that their opinions are not taken into account.
From the side of the decision-makers, we want to show them the cultural diversity and the importance of involving the youth in the decision process by creating new forms of mobilization that emphasize the power of embracing youth potential to achieve civic cohesion.
The key target group is young people from 18 to 30 years old residents in Leiria’s Municipality, either living in the urban/suburban area or in the rural area of the municipality.
Characterizing the urban youngsters: They have easier access to infrastructures, information, and opportunities. They are literate in arts and culture on a national and international level but lack knowledge of the diversity of their own region.
Characterizing rural youngsters: They are frequently employed in industrial jobs which makes their involvement in civic and cultural life scarce. Adding to the fact that opportunities are often provided in the urban area which makes this group feels undermined and forgotten by public entities. On the upside, they are resourceful and have a great sense of community.
We’ll do 4 workshops about 4 dimensions of culture: sports and leisure, material and immaterial heritage, festive and popular events, and performing arts. In each workshop, we are going to count on the presence of participants from both areas, one good practice representative and a local decision-maker.
First, the good practice representative gives a talk to set the tone for the workshop. This will be an inspirational moment and sharing of the experienced related to the potentialities of the rural space.
Second groups will debate in round tables to understand the dreams and demands of all sides; Then we use team-building methods to build relationships because building trust and understanding is an essential part of the change process. The process will be moderated and will have a local decision-maker making small interventions.
After the debate of the needs and problems of the participant it’s time to think about solutions. Participants will be divided in groups and will make an idea lab based on sprint design methodologies, the good practice representative will aid the groups and ideas will be pitched to the decision-maker.
All these events will be documented and closely observed by a researcher that will process the data. From these events, a group of young people will be selected to be the ambassadors of the ideas and to present them at the municipal assembly.
At the end of the project, an improvement of coexistence between people in the village and city, promotion of good neighborhood routines, cooperation and tolerance will be visible. The participants will become aware of the points they have in common and bring them together as a community, as well as new synergies will form.
From these synergies a group commitment will emerge to apply at least one innovative solution with the support of the Collippo association and in partnership with the city council. By giving an opportunity to voice their opinions the participants will demonstrate their willingness and ability to foster positive change. By exchanging good practices and thoughts they also become more likely to defend democracy and gain a greater sense of community.
The main strategy to give youth a voice is to have a partnership with the municipality, to ensure that we will have a policymaker in every session, that compromises to listen directly to the testimonies and the solutions made by the participants first hand.
On the other hand, we aim to create and facilitate a solutions lab based on print design methods, that assembles all ideas discussed, to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture and raise cooperation levels.
By creating a network based on trust and taking the political makers of their offices to informal spaces, we create a new dynamic communication where the participants can feel at the same level. Giving the participants an opportunity to negotiate directly with the policymakers.
We are a young team that has a close relation to the rural area where the project will be, we grew up and lived there for our first young adult years, we know the problems of the area. In the last years, we’ve moved to the city and our work in Collippo has been mainly directed to city until now. We want to give back and work in the area we’ve grown up in and this is a starting point in the cohesion and opportunities that we want to bring to all the municipality territory.
The project coordinators are:
Flávia de Sousa, 28 - Degree in Design, has experience with youth work and non-formal learning methodologies.
Nádia Martins, 29 - Degree in Social Work and post-graduation in Social Politics. Has experience with social research and will take care of treating the data from each event
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs 15000
Travel and accommodation 1000
PR and communication 3000
Video and photo freelancer 2000
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