Lokalna akcijska grupa Zagorje-Sutla
Network of associations Zagor
LAG and Zagor work together on daily bases and also on the activities which strengthen young people in the decision-making process. In 2019 we have been piloting PB in partnership.
Involving the youth in the decision-making process in which youth-related projects would be implemented by the town is called participatory budgeting with youth. The goal of the project is to encourage an active involvement of the youth in the process of decision-making in the local community and strengthen the dialogue between the youth and the decision-makers.
Cities and municipalities of Local Action Group Zagorje-Sutla, Krapina-Zagorje County, Croatia
Young people from rural areas need to be provided with access to the opportunities that are available to young people in urban areas. They recognize different problems in local communities and when asked about the main responsibility for solving youth problems, a third of them believe that they are the ones responsible for solving problems, which indicates a certain dose of self-criticism and represents the potential that if young people have the opportunity to decide things they will actively do so. On the other hand, young people have extremely low trust in local government (according to one survey, 60.4% of young people don't trust the local government) which is a threat to local democracy.
The project targets young people in rural areas and small urban settlements, especially from the deprived and underdeveloped communities. Young people will develop and promote projects and will vote on them and in this way participate in the decision-making process. We expect the participation of at least 500 young people, both young men, and women (15-30 y). Local decision-makers will analyze the proposed projects with young people and help with expert advice in their finalization for voting, also will be in charge of implementation and co-financing the projects. This is an opportunity to create a space for cooperation and dialogue between young people and decision-makers and to deepen the understanding of the needs and interests of young people.
The developed methodology of conducting the PB for youth has several steps:
1. Animation of the youth to take part in the workshops
2. Conducting a participatory workshop
A workshop is consisted of five parts and lasts approximately four hours.
a. What is the budgeting
b. The rules of voting are presented by the team members (will be developed with youth focus group before the workshops so all the PB's are following the same rules)
c. A nomination of the youth developing projects
d. Presenting to the decision-makers to check the eligibility of the projects (are there law obstacles or they are above budget)
e. A final agreement on campaign and voting day
3. The campaign implemented by youngsters proposing the projects
5. The implementation of the winning project
Up to 11 PB's for youth in rural areas.
Up to 25 project ideas, 11 selected for implementation.
Up to 100 youngsters proposing ideas.
Up to 350 youngsters voting on the ideas.
The local community will have more knowledge on youth needs and on participatory budgeting.
Youngsters are more motivated to participate in decision-making processes.
There is enhanced trust between youth and local government, especially decision-makers.
Local democracy is strengthened and more opened to ideas of young people.
Evaluation of the entire process within 11 local communities (includes evaluation with young people and decision makers).
The process of participatory budgeting-PB raises the general quality of life for young people and promotes active citizenship. Young people will develop critical thinking, find solutions to identified problems and democratically set priorities. Having a sense of ownership over the results of the process will make them more motivated for future participation in decision-making and participate more actively in the life of the community. The involved local governments will implement selected projects with and for young people, and thus the mutual trust will be strengthened. The whole community will have the opportunity to see an example of participatory budgeting which can encourage positive processes of greater citizen involvement in decision making.
We strongly believe that the future of rural areas is all about community building, a sense of belonging, developing solutions for a better quality of life, and better opportunities for everyone. We believe that young people are present not just future. The only way to do that is to involve youth and create communities in which they will find their place. On the other hand, the good energy and happiness and successes from PB's piloting gave us even more motivation to go one step further. You can see this energy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NE1-GdiQqg&t=1s
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Implementation of youth projects: 2600€ per project *11 projects=28600€
Workshop costs (materials, refreshments, etc): 150€ per workshop* 11 workshops = 1650€
Election costs (paper for voting, refreshments, venue, etc): 150€ per election*11 = 1650€
Travel costs for project team= on average 15€ per workshop, per election, per person=15€*11*11*3 = 990€
Advertising and public relations = 2000€
Office expenses: 2 organizations*500€ = 1000€
Personnel costs: 4 people*22 events*230€ = 20240€
It would be great to hear your stories of participatory budgeting!
The past few months have been extremely dynamic in our organization, but despite the new journeys ahead of us, we know that we have met all our expectations regarding the project.
First of all, we would like to thank Iliyan from MitOst as well as the entire Foundation for the wonderful and unconditional support they have given us. Without them and their understanding things would be more challenging.
For starters, let’s remind ourselves how it all started. The long-time Head of our organization, Tajana Broz, saw the opportunity to apply for the Civic Europe program in 2020. In uncertainty and anticipation of the results and months of doubt whether we are good enough, the results of the Civic Europe program arrived and our organization as well as the partner organization Mreža udruga Zagor was overwhelmed with enthusiasm.
In March 2021, we started with introductory workshops where young people said how they want the whole process to take place - we agreed on the rules for the next workshops as well as the elections for young people's ideas. Workshops where ideas were developed were held in all 11 municipalities.
In these workshops, we first provided young people with an insight into municipal budgets and talked to them about how budgets are executed and which sections are contained in municipal budgets. After that, the young people started to develop their ideas. The instructions for developing the ideas were simple - the idea must be legal and within the given budget.
Throughout the process of developing ideas, we provided mentorship to young people, and they were the ones who had to research what they needed to realize the idea - from local stakeholders who can help them, ways and places of implementation if it comes to construction, to the prices of certain products and services. After the ideas were developed, the ideas were presented to decision makers so that they could get a direct insight into the needs of young people. They were not allowed to comment on whether they liked the idea, but were in charge of checking the location of the investment (public land and / or space, etc.).
This was followed by a campaign to present the idea and invite young people to vote - equal to those for real elections in which we elect our members of parliament. The campaign took place live as well as on social networks. The campaigns lasted an average of two weeks, followed by a vote of young people aged 14 to 30 living in the municipality.
After the voting and announcement of the winners, the winning ideas were implemented, and young people were involved in the process all the time and additional consultations were held - if something was too expensive, an alternative was sought, if the location did not meet real needs, young people were consulted on new solutions etc.
We are proud of the fact that other municipalities in Croatia have recognized what we are doing and we have established cooperation that will share knowledge and experience with others in the hope of implementing a participatory budget for young people in their communities. In 2022, we will continue the process of participatory budgeting for young people in 11 municipalities, and municipalities will allocate additional funds to implement the winning ideas of young people.
Here you can see a few photos of how the realized ideas look like.
After intense preparation and promotion of the project we started having our workshops. Workshops were held in 11 municipalities with almost 80 young people with amazing ideas. Last workshop and elections we had in July.
Let’s talk about – elected projects
In all, we had 30 ideas in competition for youngsters’ votes.
PREGRADA – Star Trek (Placing a telescope at the chapel of St. Lenart)
By placing a telescope at the chapel of St. Lenart, we want to encourage people to hang out in nature and to observe astronomical phenomena throughout the year. Lenart's stairs would thus become a real Star Trek, and through educational and entertaining workshops everyone can awaken the astronomer in themselves - because the stars are not far away!
KRAPINSKE TOPLICE – SMASH! TOPLICE – Fixing-up a sand volleyball court
Smash! Krapinske Toplice – landscaping the existing sand volleyball court. Arranging the playground involves machine excavation of existing terrain in appropriate dimensions, drainage settlement, and installation of geotextiles, PVC protection from vegetation and a new layer of quartz sand. The goal is to increase the interest of young people in Krapinske Toplice for outdoors activities , allow workouts on open due to epidemiological conditions. Women's volleyball club Toplice and expand sports and tourism facilities Municipality of Krapinske Toplice.
SVETI KRIŽ ZAČRETJE – (with) Kick to the goal
The purpose of the NK Jedinstvo project is to separate all young people and all those who feel young from their computers, tablets, mobile phones and even the bad influence of society and to show them that they can on the field prove how much they are actually worth. With a professional team and the right company to enable them to finally “breathe” and feel free. As part of the project, it is planned to purchase a mobile football wall and a safety net for goals.
TUHELJ – Streetworkout park
The Youth Council of the Municipality of Tuhelj wants to actualize sports in the way of arranging space for outdoor exercise and thus encourage young people to a more active and healthier life. The construction of a street workout park will provide young people with free physical activity and recreation, as well as solving problems such as insufficient activity of people and obesity in general. Through staying outdoors and using the street workout park, a healthier and better way of life and spending free time will be promoted, primarily through socializing and meeting new people.
DESINIĆ - To love volleyball
Project for the construction of a sand volleyball court next to the NK Desinić football field. We want to encourage young people to physical activity and socializing and increase the choice of sports content in Desinić.
ZABOK - LIVE! LOVE! VOLLEYBALL!
The goal of the project is to take money and build a sand volleyball court below the elementary school K. Š. Gjalski in Zabok, as part of Skate Park and thus create a real small sports and recreational paradise.
HUM NA SUTLI - Videž trail
Videž trail is a multi-phase project. The first phase, covered by the funds received from the project "Take the money and make something for young people", includes arranging the existing trail, arranging new trails, setting up markings, setting up trash cans, exercise equipment, etc. The second phase, which, unfortunately, cannot be included in the initial cost estimate, is the arrangement of a rest area on a certain part of the trail. The rest area would be equipped with tables, benches, a barbecue, facilities for children and suitable facilities for gathering people. The third phase is the installation of a lookout on Videž. The second and third phases largely depend on the interest of the people and the attendance of the trail itself. Videž trail is a landscaped walking and cycling trail with accompanying facilities. The plan is to arrange more trails on the Brod - Videž stretch, both shorter, longer and more demanding, with the aim of making them suitable for all age groups. Accompanying content includes weight training devices. The end of each device would be a board with a description and how to perform all possible exercises.
KLANJEC – Catch the light, prolong the day
In the area of the sports playground and children's park in Novi Dvori, we want to provide everyone with a longer time to play by placing decorative poles, lamps and spotlights.
KUMROVEC – Chill room
Young people from Kumrovec decided to arrange the premises of the former locker room and turn them into a space suitable for young people to socialize. The premises will be equipped with furniture and the walls will be painted.
ZAGORSKA SELA – Observatory
An observatory will be set up on a green area without light pollution. An automated telescope will be purchased, which can be operated by both amateurs and professionals - lovers of space objects and phenomena. In addition to the installation of the observatory itself, educational workshops will be held in the coming years.
KRALJEVEC NA SUTLI - Landscaping of the park
Fixing-up a park in front of the primary school in Kraljevec na Sutli. The aim of the project is to enable young people to spend their free time outdoors. As part of the project, benches and swings will be set up and the existing outdoor exercise equipment will be arranged.
In the next Project journey you will find out more about how the realization of ideas went.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many difficulties in everyday life our project is live and kicking!
The first three months of implementation we have spent in intense preparation for giving our project visibility, but also in establishing coordination with towns and municipalities in which the project will be implemented. We have started the project’s Instagram profile, created a web page, and established cooperation with local media. With towns and municipalities, all the dates for implementation are arranged and also they will co-finance the youth ideas selected through participatory budgeting.
Spreading the information and good vibrations about the project enabled unexpected turnout of youngsters to the workshop on rules of participatory budgeting - 21 young people enrolled in the rules discussion. We believe this is a good sign for further activities! Youngsters created the rules of participatory budget so the right of proposing and voting of the ideas will have young people aged (14)15 to 30 coming from the town/municipality in which participatory budget is implemented, and all ideas that are aimed at youth and public use are welcomed.
In April we are starting with the first participatory workshops in 4 municipalities and towns, and are very excited to see the ideas youngsters will propose and select!