The Common Thing Foundation
Empowering women with no or low experience in sociopolitical sphere from 2 small towns in Silesia region (Poland) and building 2 strong intergenerational women groups through community organising,method that gives voice and power to those less powerful,so they will have tools and competencies to make better and higher visibility in public life,more effectively lobby for issues important for them and their communities and introduce social structural changes-this is our project about.
Project will take place in Bytom and Ruda Śląska–2 towns in Silesian voivodeship, Poland
Silesia is a region characterised by strong mining and patriarchal traditions-role of women is to take care of family and household and her place is at home.Women encounter great challenges to be seen in public area as an expert or a leader.Data presented by Polish sociology during 2nd Congress of Women in Silesian Voivodeship show that women are highly underrepresented in politics at local and regional level.They constitute only 26% of municipality councils,21% of county councils and 30% of regional council.In Bytom and Ruda where we want to realise our project picture is alike.In Bytom only 4 women are councillors (out of 25),in Ruda 8 (out of 25).We want to raise engagement of women in public space,so they will become ambassadors of their communities and fight for equal,just world
Our priority is to empower women from Silesia so they become more visible and influential in public life.
With use of community organising (CO) we want to build diversified,powerful,sustainable women groups from 2 towns in Silesia that will lobby for their rights,represent their needs in municipal politics and lead changes they want to see in their communities by resolving issues important for them.We also want to put emphasis on women education so they will feel stronger and better prepared to take actions.
Thanks to our project women will get competencies to take care of their rights and to protect their surroundings in professional and effective manner.They will became ambassadors of just empowerment in their towns,a voice that cannot be disregarded by local authorities.
Our target group are women from Bytom and Ruda-post-industrial towns in Silesia with long history of coal mining,characterized by high rate of unemployment;crime;low engagement of ordinary citizens in public sphere resulting from unwillingness of local authorities to involve inhabitants in decision-making process,but also from poor participation of people in local matters;low number of NGOs and limited opportunities to cultural or self-development programmes.
In CO we put importance on involving broad range of actors who have or may have interest in certain issue,but also those who may oppose it.Thus our major goal will be to invite to cooperation women with no experience in public activities,women leaders,local authorities,institutions,NGOS (for ex.Emphatic Women League from Bytom)
I.Work with 2 intergenerational women groups in Bytom and Ruda
Project bases on CO method,which is divided into 4 steps:
1. Listening process-community organisers will conduct minimum 200 interviews (one-on-ones) in each town with women,local institutions,authorities
2. Choosing an issue-here non-formal group will be established.It will decide,which issue is the most essential and search for potential solutions
3. Solving an issue-group will conduct social campaign to make changes in their surroundings.It will involve broad range of stakeholders and use various tools (ex.protest,happening)
4. Building sustainable group
II.Supervision of community organisers
III.Educational cycles of trainings
IV.Mini grants realised by women
• at least 400 people interviewed
• 2 intergenerational women groups established in 2 neglected and problematic towns
• 15 active women members in core of each group
• 200 people engaged in activities of each group on ad hoc basis
• 2 social campaigns conducted (one per each group)
• 7 trainings carried out (3 per each group plus one common)
• Women will get feeling of self-agency and power,raise their presence in public life and fight effectively for their issues through regular work with community organiser,trainings,mini grants
• Increase of soft skills (for ex.leadership,negotiation,public speaking) and thematic (for ex.access to public information) competences
• Building network of community organisers and women leaders
Direct democracy is crucial especially nowadays when politics is more and more dominated by right-wing parties,and trust of ordinary citizens in democratic values is impaired.Thus NGOs in the whole Europe,including our Foundation,tend to engage people on all possible levels so to bring back their belief in such values as common good,openness,solidarity.
Community organising is effective tool to achieve that and build responsible,strong and grassroot civic society able to express voice in important matters concerning their environments and introduce social structural changes in local communities.We are determined to expand method in other parts of Silesia and throughout Poland and we believe that proposed project will provide a solid base to strengthening democracy at very local level.
Our mission is to increase awareness of inhabitants,especially women,on grassroots civic involvement and to raise their real impact on activities and decisions concerning district,town,voivodeship and country.
We do not want to exclude men from our projects,but primarily we wish to involve women,in particular from smaller,poorer,more neglected towns so they will know how to care for their issues,be more present in the public and powerful and have impact on decision-making process.
We have achieved many successes.Owing to our work,8 active social initiatives emerged,including one of voivodeship outreach (Silesian Climate Movement gathering about 200 members),50 people became local leaders and above 2000 inhabitants were engaged in different local activities organised by initiatives.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Office expenses (rental, energy,phone and Internet expenses) – 12 months*110 € = 1320 €
Personnel costs (salary of community organiser – 23280 € (2 community organisers x 12 months * 970 €), salary of supervisor – 6600 EUR (550 € * 12 months), salary of coordinator – 4200 (350 € per month), accountant – 12 months * 25 € = 300 €
Trainings (6 stationary trainings * 300 € = 1800 € and one common outbound training 1 * 1600 €) = 3400 €
Mini grants realised by participants - 2000 €
We hope that our idea can inspire the others and maybe even result in future cooperation.
We will be happy to receive constructive feedback :)