JA slide show
Citizens Participation Week 2012

Since 2005, Citizen Participation Week (CPW) has been highlighting issues relating to people and their communities. This has been done through the promotion of citizen participation where local and regional problems and resolutions are put on the agenda, while the notions of participation and democracy, and the opportunities for active citizenship, involvement and local action are also discussed. The emphasis is also put on good practices. 

The Citizens Participation Week presents a European wide advocacy campaign in 20 countries coordinated by the Central and Eastern European Citizens Network.

You are invited to learn more about Citizen Participation Week 2012 by using links below:

CPW 2012 – members´ activities

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Centers for Civic Initiatives
The activities which took place included:

  • Forums for candidates with local representatives,
  • Websites with pre-elections promises,
  • Reports about the last mandate and the chairman’s period in local communities,
  • Panel discussion with citizens and public experts on local level  and questionnaire for candidates
  • Investigation about citizens’ satisfaction with local administration and communal service (including: water, electricity, roads and waste).

CROATIA - Center for Civil Initiatives
Citizens of the little municipality Grubišno Polje in Croatia were invited by the City Mayor, Mr. Mađeruh to participate in defining the priorities for social development in the municipality. This was an interesting occasion for more than 60 citizens, representatives of CSOs, public local institutions, unemployed citizens, farm owners and other interested citizens to discuss, suggest and plan future projects in their neighbourhood. The project will receive 70% of their funding from the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and 30% from the Municipality. The process of public counselling with citizens is facilitated by the Center for Civil Initiatives.

Citizens of the Croatian town Duga Resa suggested to the City Mayor priorities for the future development of the town. The City Mayor sat in the front row and listened to what the citizens had to suggest and took notes!

CZECH REPUBLIC - Center for community organizing
CCO Eastern Moravia organized three meetings for members from different work groups within the project “Implementation of the processes of social services accessibility planning in ORP Bystřice pod Hostýnem” which has been on-going in this area over past 18 months. The first group was aimed at families, children and young people, the second for seniors and the third group for disabled people.

The engagement of citizens in decision making plays a big part in this project and we made sure that all participants knew that the meetings had been organised during the Citizen Participation Week (CPW). They were informed about the problematic issue of citizen participation, about the importance of public involvement in local activities and about the idea of CPW in general. Moreover, representatives from the municipality were also present so the spirit of citizen participation was spread to higher authorities.

Through CPW in the Czech Republic, CCO Central Moravia organised a survey of the Members of Parliament, Ministers, National Institutions and mass media platforms about their activities in the European Year of Citizens 2013. CPW information is disseminated with this survey.

CZECH REPUBLIC - Agora CE o.p.s.
The promotion of citizen participation during CPW was part of our activities in Georgia and Turkey as well as in the Czech Republic.

GEORGIA - International Association ‘Civitas Georgica’
The 2012 Citizen Participation Week in Georgia was held the week before parliamentary elections on the 1st October. This was a challenge for CPW - on the one hand the public was mobilized and ready for the election but we had to be careful that the civic activities were not considered to be party propaganda.

Taking into account these issues, Civitas Georgica conducted the following activities during 2012 CPW:

  • Seminar on Civic Activism

A seminar was conducted in Akhaltsikhe for students and teachers. A partner organization and member of the CEE CN, Agora CE from Czech Republic also took part in this event. During the seminar the importance of Civic activism and youth participation in decision making was highlighted. This seminar was also the official launch of CPW in Georgia.

  • Student Debate Camp

Civitas Georgica has organized 4 day camp for students from the Georgian Institute of Public Administration - future public officials - on the issues of organization and conducting public debates. 12 students took part in camp. It was organized in the municipality of Patardzeuli, Sagarejo.

  • Strengthening the role of associations

Civitas Georgica launched a new project oriented on strengthening the role of associations in Georgian villages. It will target five municipalities of Georgia and focus on increasing participation in local decision-making

  • Student debating finale - on the way to the Parliament

The final of the debating competition among secondary school students was organized at the Rabati museum. The competition was the final round of a yearlong debating project supported by the Polish and Czech ministries of foreign affairs.

Moreover, partners of Civitas Georgica have organized several events in regions of Georgia related to CPW. For example,  "Guria Youth Club" collected 2000 signatures for petition on the rehabilitation of the city park; "Citizen's League" from Khashuri distributed leaflets among local citizens on their right to participate in local decision making and discussions about the budget; "Lanchkhuti information center" organized special seminars on the rights and procedures of elections for first time voters.

HUNGARY- Hungarian Association for Community Development and Civil College Foundation and Civil College Foundation
Our most important result, that we were able to keep the scale and level of our movement to strengthen citizen participation, while democracy has been strictly and clearly hit in the country in several forms. Hungarian results briefly:

  • A total of 129 programmes/actions were organized all around the country on more than 60 settlements with the cooperation of more than 100 groups/organizations/institutions.
  • CPW focuses were defined during community planning processes, where finally several aspects of social, democratic, community, economic sustainability were framed and later targeted in actions and events.
  • Around 30 events were organized by newly joined organizations, including cooperatives and for-profit companies (!)
  • Related to the forms of activities, much more street actions, flash-mobs were organized in 2012 than the years before.
  • CPW developed from the online aspect as well. All channels were more progressive, modern and up to date, while 4 online campaigns/initiatives were also joining the Week.
  • Media was not enough reflective this year. We had less than 50 more significant media reflections (half of last year’s) which is also very much connected with present Hungarian public conditions.
  • More than 3000 citizens filled our questionnaire about the quality of citizen participation.
  • Several new cooperation, small movements, networking developments were set up/strengthened during CPW 2013 in Hungary.    

POLAND - NGOs Support Centre OWOP
FAYRE OF SOCIAL ECONOMY: Social economy entities had an opportunity to present their activities and offers. They were able to promote themselves, get to know the environment, establish contacts and strengthen cooperation.

NGO’S INITIATIVES FORUM: enabled discussions, exchange of experiences, information and mutual education on the most important issues related to the development of civil society.

A workshop on INFRASTRUCTURE OF COOPERATION - CREATING CONDITIONS FOR SOCIAL ACTIVITY: A training event in the area of the cooperation model between NGO’s and public administration. The model was developed on a national scale in 2011.

Citizens Café under the theme of ‘HOW TO PROMOTE ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IN THE CITY?’

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA - Terra-1530

  1. Public debate on financing political parties and electoral campaigns
  2. Citizens Participation Caravan in five communities from the Straseni district

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ROMANIA - Asociatia CRONO and Social Economy Development Foundation

21st September 2012

  • Workshop on ‘Citizen Participation in social businesses’ organized by the Social

Economy Development Foundation at Craiova. The social entrepreneurs from Craiova discussed their businesses and how to generate citizen participation to contribute towards their funding. One idea that was debated at this workshop was street crowd funding - and this will be tried next month, during the City Days.

26th September 2012 

  • Round table organized by CRONO at Calafat (S-W Romania) on ‘Citizen Participation through philanthropy for salary donations’. The meeting was hosted by Local Action Group Calafat, and the participants (NGO members and volunteers, union leaders, employers, local journalists) debated the legislative initiative of the Coalition for Individual Philanthropy which claims the tax exemption of salary donations.

27th September 2012

  • Round table on ‘Citizens taking a stand in the community’ organized by Brainstorming Consulting Romania at Cumpana. The meeting was hosted by the Town Hall of Cumpana (County of Constanta) and the participants debated their role in taking a stand against anti-social behaviour and the support needed from the public authorities in this respect. The conclusion was that the citizens are prevented from taking attitude in some cases because of the lack of support from the authorities and this should be supplemented through organising and solidarity.

28th September 2012

  • Round table and press conference organized by CRONO at Craiova on citizens’

participation at philanthropy through salary donations.
The meeting was hosted by Dolj County Prefecture, and the participants (NGO members and volunteers, MPs, union leaders, employers, journalists) debated the legislative initiative of the Coalition for Individual Philanthropy which claims the tax exemption of salary donations.

  • Photovoice exposition organized by the public school “Mircea Eliade” in Craiova.

The children from the primary school presented hundreds of pictures to their teachers, parents and neighbours about how they see their community. The exposition was organized in the public park near their school.

The two round tables which were held on the 26th and 28th September were surrounded by the dramatic situation of the bankruptcy of Romanian NGOs due to poor management of Structural Funds by the Romanian authorities. The proposals made by the participants were sent to the Romanian Ministry of Finance to be included in the Fiscal Code.

ROMANIA - Foundation PACT – Partnership for Community Action and Transformation
During this year's Citizens Participation Week a debate was organised on the 28th September by the PACT Foundation – Partnership for Community Action and Transformation (www.fundatiapact.ro) at the Constantin Cantacuzino Technological Highschool in Baicoi, a small city located in Prahova County, in the South of Romania. The topic of the debate was “Citizen Participation during town hall meetings should be compulsory” and was chosen by members of the debating club from the high school.

Baicoi was chosen as the location for this event due to the presence of a new project in the city which started at the beginning of September 2012. The project focuses on developing a community based organisation (CBO) in the city. The purpose of this CBO is to work with the community and to find participatory solutions for its needs and problems. As there is only one visible NGO in Baicoi the CBO aims to develop and reinvigorate the civic spirit in the community as well as engaging in new projects and activities related to social and economic well-being.

Before the debate started Georgiana Cune the Community Development Projects’ Co-ordinator within the PACT Foundation and Istvan Szabo an experienced Community Facilitator, Consultant and Trainer collaborating with the PACT Foundation gave a short presentation about CEE CN and its projects focusing on CPW and the regional meaning. 

The debate was organised in Baicoi with the help of the Constantin Cantacuzino Technological High School and the City Hall. Around 30 participants were involved, including pupils, teachers, parents and other willing members of the community. Both teams presented strong arguments for and against the statement, but in the end – for the sake of the argument – the negation team was declared the winner. However, the young people in Baicoi are eager to engage themselves in community life and contribute to its development, despite the result of the debate.

You can access photos of the event here. The short video attached should give you a good perspective on the course of the event.

Two weeks after the debate we participated in another event, during the European Week for Local Democracy, where we presented the project implemented in Baicoi, and specifically the above-mentioned debate and its larger context during the Citizens Participation Week and the CEE CN framework.

ROMANIA - Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe)
The Resource Center for Public Participation – CeRe joined its European partners in celebrating Citizen Participation Week through an online communication campaign.
Channels used were:

  • CeRe facebook page (over 3,500 friends and subscribers)
  • CeRe’s website (over 2,000 users per month)
  • External NGO-targeted online publication and print media

Methods used were:

  • Daily messages on social media sites to reflect the importance and benefits of citizen involvement in the decision making process
  • A poll to identify why people take action
  • A web-banner to promote citizen participation (online for the entirety of CP week) to be posted online on CeRe’s website and other partner websites
  • A short, 2-minute movie with a motivational campaign to promote the message “You can do it too”
  • Three motivational success stories on citizen participation to be issued online and printed
  • One pop-up window with which CeRe’s website opened during the entire CPW announcing CPW and displaying a motivational message

RUSSIA - Russian Tenant Association

Forum “Initiative citizens “Kirov

  • Demonstration of films

 Films about community development in Kirov
Film about active citizens in Kirov - “The City in which it is desirable to live”

  • Conference  “We – together”

Greetings

  • From the Mayor of the city Vladimir Bikov
  • Representatives from the local Church
  • Representatives of  the city and partners from other Russian cities: Nizniy Novgorod, Perm, Lipetsk

Plenary reports
The Mayor of the city – Bikov, Vladimir – “How to make citizens to be more active: Russian and international experience” 
Prof. Shomina Elena – CEE CN – “Local initiatives and Citizen’ Participation Week”
Lilunege Irene – IFS, Kaunas – “Lutvinia Regional Experience of community Groups”
Hkohklova Tatiana–Warsaw – “Russian-Poland partnership in community field”
Prof. Tetersky Sergey, DIMSY, Moscow

  • Festival of Community Families
  • Round table “Family Kaleidoscope” (30 years of the experience of the Community Centre work)
  • Study tour to different community-groups in Kirov
  • Round table “Perspectives of community development”

SERBIA - Civic Initiatives
Financial and non-financial sustainability of CSOs in times of crisis 
The conference on financial sustainability and good governance in CSOs in times of crisis was held on 28th September in Belgrade. The conference gathered 120 CSOs, both domestic and international donors, state institutions and media. Milena Banović, from the Government Office for Cooperation with Civil Society spoke about the state role in the financial sustainability of CSOs. Kori Udovički, an eminent economist, gave a presentation on the impact of the economic situation on the civil sector in Serbia. The importance of tax policy in the context of financial sustainability of CSOs was the topic of Dragan Golubović, from ECNL, presentation. Dragan Popović, Policy Center Director, stressed transparency, good governance and independence of CSOs as the main factors of their non-financial sustainability, while Mia Vukojević, BCIF Executive Director, spoke about CSOs sustainability from the local donor’s perspective. Marko Košutić, from the Association of Mentally Disabled Persons – Blue Bird, from Kula, served as an example of good practice regarding new models of financing and the diversification of financial sources. 

Consultative Meetings of Signatories of the Civil Society Organizations’ Code of Ethics
On the consultative meeting held in Kragujevac on 25th September representatives of the CSOs which signed and supported the Code of Ethics, discussed mechanisms that can secure its implementation and promotion. This meeting was also an opportunity for exchanging ideas on how to improve good governance in civil society organizations and increase transparency of their work. The common opinion reached during the meeting is that CSOs should work on the promotion and visibility of the Code in the local media, as well as among small local CSOs. CSOs from all parts of the country, as signatories of the Code, agreed that they will continue to promote the Code’s values and principles at the local level. As one of the simplest but most effective ways to increase transparency, CSOs recognized publishing their annual narrative and financial reports and project results on their websites.

V session of professional development for Civic Education Teachers
Within the "Europe through Our Eyes" program, the fifth session of professional development for 21 teachers of Civic Education was held on 29th September in Belgrade. Teachers from Belgrade, Novi Sad, Pancevo and Uzice talked about zero tolerance in schools and prepared to process the same theme in their classrooms with the aim to educate students about the concept of zero tolerance as a possible solution to reduce violence in schools.

Youth Volunteer Actions
Within the “Let’s Create Together” action, the informal youth group “InovARTists” organized the opening of an international exhibition in the new adapted gallery on September 26th 2012. In the scope of this action, young people arranged and revived the space obtained from the City of Belgrade for the use of the association “Living together”. Owing to their dedication and participation of a large number of volunteers, beneficiaries of the day care for persons with developmental disabilities, located at a short distance from the renovated space, now have a place for socializing and for practicing different activities.

Youth organization Collage Collective, in scope of the “Out of sight, out of mind” action, invited all interested young people to propose a visual solution of posters that were printed in large formats. The topic of this competition was to draw attention to the position of children and youth who are living and working on the streets. On the 29th September 2012, in the center of Belgrade, street actions were delivered together with children and youth from the day care centre for involved children.

The two volunteer actions were conducted within the “Youth is the Law” project implemented by Civic Initiatives as the resource centre for the territory of the City of Belgrade. Civic Initiatives provided logistic help and financial support.

SLOVAKIA - Center for Community Organizing
The Center for Community Organizing (CKO) together with the active citizens from our neighbourhoods organised events to gain the attention of local citizens to promote citizen participation, local activism and CP Week. Two local initiative groups from two neighbourhoods actively organized local events in order to increase participation in their neighbourhoods. One nationwide initiative - Open Eyes Slovakia (OOS) was preparing nationwide discussions in different cities on the topic of Citizen Participation and Local Activism.

Of these local initiatives the first one was held in the neighbourhood of Sasova in Banska Bystrica. The community organised a festival called "Leto v Haji" (The Summer Gone). The aim was to get the citizens outside of their homes and to bring attention to a small abandoned park in the heart of the community. On the 20th September, a week before the festival, CKO was in the main square of Banska Bystrica at the Market of Non-governmental Organizations to promote its activities. The day after, as part of the volunteers’ day, volunteers (children form schools) actively invited people to the festival and undertook some research about the local Community Centre. On the 21st September more than 60 pupils were involved in this activity and were spread around the neighbourhood.

On 25th September in order to bring attention to the activities being held in the park the festival organizing team marked the area with tape saying "I don´t like this".  This was a nationwide initiative to encourage people to think about the areas they would like to change in their surroundings. From the 27th September the citizens had a chance to change the park themselves. Together they prepared the park for the festival, voluntarily tidying it and collecting rubbish. For three days the park was full of people and a variety of different activities were held and were attended by citizens from various age groups. Thematic discussions were held every day to enable citizens to discuss the most important issues related to the neighbourhood. All activities were organized in cooperation with local institutions and organizations. During the CPW citizens got together, participated in activities and had fun while also getting to know each other and their own potential within the community. There were many positive reactions with people showing an interest in not just participating in next year’s CPW but on a more permanent basis. The festival got the mark as “the first community festival in Slovakia” and was a big success, involving numerous volunteers and citizens from the neighbourhood, as well attracting people from nearby towns and villages.

The second successful neighbourhood activity was organised by ‘Initiative Zvolen-Zapad’ within their neighbourhood. The activities in Zvolen were held over several days and were far-reaching. Between the 22nd and 30th September activists from the initiative organised the redevelopment of the playground in the neighbourhood, sponsored by the City of Zvolen.

A number of discussions were held on the topic ‘Dogs in the neighbourhood’ as well a discussion between primary school pupils, the vice mayor of the city and several members of the local government and local NGOs where problems and potential solution were highlighted. A discussion was also held on safety in the neighbourhood with local citizens, representatives of the city police and the vice mayor present.

As a result of the dialogue between the local government and citizens a new playground for dogs was opened and shows that co-operation between citizens and local government is possible. Lastly, on the Sunday a social game was organised ‘Man – don’t be angry’ where players took on different roles including citizens, members of the local government, police representatives, teachers etc.

SLOVENIA – Institute for Electronic Participation
Already third year in a row, Institute for Electronic Participation took part in the Citizens Participation Week 2012 by presenting possibilities and advantages of using internet for civic participationactivism and community building at the LUPA NGOs festival in Ljubljana.
A the stand of the Institute for Electronic Participation (INePA), hosted by Centre for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) as a part of the non-governmental organization festival LUPA, visitors and passers-by were informed about e-participation and e-democracy presented in INePA brochure as well Puzzled by Policy project aiming to provide citizens with an engaging and easy-to-use on-line platform, where they can learn about and give their voice to policy issues concerning immigration in the European Union.

UKRAINE – Regional Development Agency
At the end of September (24-30.2012) in the Donbass region Citizens Participation Week was organised. This week was a part of a larger event organised by CEE CN for their partner organisations.

Every year the Citizen Participation Week is highlighting issues that are about people and their communities, and not about the constantly and artificially generated political and media themes.

This year RDA “Donbass” with four partner organizations in local communities Rassypnoye, Krasny Luch, Olkhovatka and Bryanka organized practical informational forums in the format of OPEN SPACE.

Open Space meeting is a new form of citizen activation in small, local and predominantly rural communities. Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. In Open Space meetings and events, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy, group, organization or community that all stakeholders can support and work together to create?

This year for the Open Space meetings during Citizen Participation Week the chosen topic was “My initiatives in solving local key problems”.

Approximately 450 people took part in OS meetings within selected communities.

Results were prepared into outcomes and protocols from the different groups according to the locally identified problems i.e. homelessness, health care for the elderly, improvements in primary education, improvement in rural infrastructure, roads and water supplies and local unemployment.

In November 2012 the manual “Open Space - a tool for citizen activation” will be published for local leaders in Ukrainian.

With the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union Europe-for-citizens-programme