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Let's Wake Up Sleeping Valleys | Civic Europe
Community development, The project is touching upon various topics as the

Let's Wake Up Sleeping Valleys

Sleeping valleys - least developed places of our region with a huge brain drain problem, as the whole young generation tries to escape from these places. Can we wake them up and save them?


Who is behind this?

Laura Dittel

Karpatska nadacia (Carpathian Foundation)



Idea pitch

There are places in Slovakia that are massively underdeveloped and have no or low civic engagement. We will give them a chance by finding local HEROES - potential local leaders, with a dream and courage and offer them a unique personalised program supporting their development plans for their communities. The program will consist of a small grant&personal development and mentoring plan involving the best civic practitioners, who already proved to be successful&offering their personal experience.

Where will your project idea take place?

Eastern Slovakia – villages with max. 1500 people, at least 15 km from the nearest district centre

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Our target areas can be described as the least developed regions massively lagging behind the rest of the country. Their population is decreasing and young people (not only) are leaving (typical brain drain). These areas have poor infrastructure, offer limited job opportunities, cultural & social activities, but also lack any kind of civic engagement (no grant supporting civic activity was channelled there in the past 3 years). A lot of these areas were historically important but could not adjust to the new development, industry and labor challenges (all countries have them). Citizens of these places were used to being taken care of during previous regimes. Now they need to become accountable for their lives, their surroundings and their future.

Who are you doing it for?

By identifying future community leaders, we try to engage large target groups of the areas and places they should represent. These places often struggle with the inclusion of the Roma minority and senior citizens, who often feel left out. Also we try to encourage the dialogue between the community and the public institutions. The community has to be included in any discussion about future plans of the municipalities.
In the pilot phase of the project we will be working with 13 potential community leaders, while at least 2 will also receive funding for their projects. The total audience of these leaders is around 4000 people.

How do you plan to get there?

The program is a pilot initiative and its first phase is already completed by research (identification&definition the least developed regions), establishing a small-grant fund of €6000 (€2500/one valley) and launching the first Call for applications for the target areas with 12 app. received.
The program next phase will include: workshop on building a strong community&becoming a leader, networking with other inspiring communities, project development&management training, mentoring of selected local leaders, implementation of the local ideas/projects (funding provided to 2-3 in the pilot phase1+in the future up to 6 depending on the fundraising results) and communication of the best practices / success stories.

What are the expected results?

Eastern Slovakia and its Sleeping valleys will be mobilized by 12 inspiring and highly motivated men&women, who became fully prepared for this task by participating in the education program, being led and advised by qualified and respected mentors and peers and supported by a small grant allowing them to cover most of the necessary expenses in a user friendly way with low administrative burden. Local cross-sectoral partnerships will be built and utilized for local development processes. At least 12 communities will be empowered, networked and involved in a development process that never happened in this region before. More than 4000 people living in the target area will have a hope for a better and prosperous future and take the responsibility for their lives and their communities.

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

Our project is based on mobilisation of local potential, building active citizenship and strengthening democracy in the most passive places. We believe (and our experience confirms) that local communities can be the driving force of the development of the regions, by addressing the key issues of such places, whether it is unemployment, social exclusion and others. However, local communities are usually failing to help themselves without a helping hand and this is where our assistance comes in a form of active identification of local potential leaders, empowerment by mentoring and financial support. Our HEROES will be helped to conduct the dialog across the community, inspire others and build a community group that will be the driving force for the local development in the future.

Why is this idea important to you?

As mentioned earlier, our mission is to lead people and organisations to accept responsibility for themselves, their communities, their region and their future. This requires a constant attention to the regions problems&challenges and design of actual and best working own solutions or based on good practices from others. We involved a group of experts into building our new strategy who identified Sleeping valleys as key places that need our attention in the upcoming years. We believe that we have to serve as facilitators, convener & grantor and give our full support for their empowerment before it will be too late. We are confident that this is our major task for the time being and we will be seeking for every possible support to get this done.

€ 55160,-

Total budget

€ 46660,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Mentoring program – 25 mentors – 10000 EUR
Workshops – 3x3days:
- Lecturers fee – 4500 EUR
- Accommodation – 7080 EUR
- Catering – 1980 EUR
Material and office supplies – 500 EUR
Communication costs – 5000 EUR
Grant scheme for selected leaders – 7500 EUR (will be mached 1:1 from the result of our next fundraising campaign)
Personnel costs (project manager, financial manager, communication manager, grant scheme manager) – 9100 EUR
Office (rent) costs – 1000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

As already mentioned, one of the most valued take-aways for us would be exchange of experience and best practices with skilled co-participants and peers working in similar region&local communities. The possible cross-cultural dialog could offer new perspectives to our problem solving.


Carpathian Foundation - Slovakia

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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