ÉLETFA Segítő Szolgálat Egyesület
In Hungary, we experience that people has drifted apart. We are divided, party politics has divided us. But in a well-functioning democracy everyone should go on towards a common goal. We, civilians are divided due to our political affiliations; our civil organizations are also divided due to their political innervations. There are no meaningful debates between civilians, and our elected politicians mainly hide away from the questions of civilians and from the invitations for debates.
Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hajdú-Bihar county, Romania: Szatmár county, Ukraine: Beregszász
On the Hungarian areas of the project, migration of the population is a serious problem. According to the data of Central Statistical Office (KSH), the number of citizens of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county declines by 1 percent every year. The question of voting on Hungarian parliamentary elections is an eternal debate between Hungarians living in Hungary and Romanians with a Hungarian nationality (dual citizens) living on Romanian areas of the project. The previously mentioned topic of retiring pension is a serious conflict between.Other common challenges: poor public transport, lack of labour mobility, low level of transparency of municipalities.
Our ‘Workers’ Parliament’ project offers the possibility for lower educated citizens to participate in meaningful debates where they can meet people with similar political views and qualifications, and have debates with citizens with radically different views. Our common goal is the creating of the sample program (‘Workers’ Parliament’) which could be extended to several countries in time. With the help of organizing groups, we intend to create groups which could operate on the long run as well, and will be capable of working independently - capable of independent community organization activity. Specific target groups: factory workers, public workers. We would like to reach at least 5 percent of these people, and we will help in the creation of similar groups in at least 10 villages.
1. We will undertake community organizing. With the help of a leading community organizer and an assistant community organizer, group members will use their civil relations and personally look up civilians susceptible to public affairs, and have relationship-building conversations. We will try to find civilians with different opinions in everywhere. 2. Organizing groups and group meetings. In every town or village, where at least 5 active civilians are available, we intend to organize regular group meetings for the inhabitants to discuss their opinions in the form of moderated disputes. Our experienced partner organization, ‘MátészalkaLeaks’ will teach the methodology to the smaller groups.
3. With the help of regular trainings, we will try to adopt normal debate culture. We will offer trainings to people to become a community organizer and fulfil community organization tasks. 4. By creating the ’Workers’ Parliament’, which is a unique initiative in Hungary, a stage for meaningful debates may come into existence, where, with the help of a leading chairman, in a moderated and inclusive atmosphere, even the most quiet people will have the possibility to express their views, raise the questions and problems of their smaller communities, and the representatives of the ’Workers’ Parliament’ may look for the answers and solutions.
According to our idea, there will be mini groups in at least 10 towns and villages where civilians may dispute their opinions on public affairs, and we plan that by this time, with the help of our trainings, civilians will learn how to debate in a meaningful way. We will have a community, the ’Workers’ Parliament’, which discusses the problems of ordinary people in a parliamentary system. People with different opinions may become more accepting towards each other, the basis of „not really strong” trade unions may grow, and due to publicity, vulnerability of employees may decrease, and politicians may become the partners of citizens.
By creating smaller groups, it will be possible for the citizens to express their opinions, participate in disputes, and they may meet decision makers as well. Different trainings may encourage people who may feel more competent in public affairs. We will increase the means at people’s disposal, since they may request for information and make announcements of general interest in these public affairs. Each material of the ‘Workers’ Parliament’ will be public; these could be working papers, support materials for politicians, but for a certain extent, these may also bring pressure. Civilians who participate in the training offered by the project may be ready for active political participation, but they will surely be more open to public affairs.
The owners of the project actively participate in public affairs. They always stand up for people on the margins of society, the members and protégés of MátészalkaLeaks regularly exercise their civil rights, request for information and make announcements of general interest, which serve the whole society. They present the needs of society to the decision makers on the public hearings organized by the town and the county. A preliminary sample research involving 125 people confirms the need for the ‘Workers’ Parliament’, because 75 people consider this as a gap-filling initiative. According to the data of Central Statistical Office (KSH), 1 percent of the inhabitants move from the target area of the program; this could only be stopped, if it is more comfortable to live here.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Rental fee of hall: 2000 EUR
Website: 2000 EUR
Financial management, accounting: 1000 EUR
Wage costs: : 14000 EUR
Advertisements: 1000 EUR
Training activity: 10 occasions: 2000 EUR
Travel expenses: 3000 EUR
Accommodation costs: 1000 EUR
Representation costs: 2000 EUR
‘Workers’ Parliament’ souvenirs: 1500 EUR
Office supplies: 500 EUR
Visual background design elements, ‘Workers’ Parliament’: 1000 EUR
Sound system equipment: 1000 EUR
Larger LCD monitor / TV to present affairs: 800 EUR
We mainly request feedbacks reflecting on extending the ‘Workers’ Parliament’ project to more European countries - namely to make it more international. Furthermore, we happily accept other ideas supporting the realization of the project.