CEBSD was the main partner for the CEE Citizens Network’s project “Citizens Acting and Learning for Local Democracy in Europe – CALLDE” funded by EU Lifelong Learning Programme. The project, which ran from November 1, 2010 – October 31, 2011 aimed to expand and disseminate practical knowledge about local citizen participation in Central and Eastern Europe in comparison with Western Europe.
Guided by civil society experts and activists, a mapping of local community participation was conducted across post-communist countries as well as a few selected Western European countries. The mapping’s results were publicised in print and online, and they will inform civic action in two areas:
- they will help to design innovative and effective forms of citizen involvement in local democracy
- they will be used for training and capacity building of citizens and community workers in post-communist and Western countries.
It was the first phase of the study as process of being developed into a second phase including cross cutting chapters and additional case country studies.
Central to the capacity building within this project was a “Citizen Participation University” (CPU) in the summer of 2011; a four day event for up to 50 participants from the CEE Citizens Network and CEBSD. The education offered through lectures, workshops and exercises were based on the results of the action mapping exercise. The University focused on better informing participants about the current situation of local democracy and it served to jointly prepare training material for citizens and community workers. In so doing the University aimed to:
- provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on local democracy and citizen participation as a critical area of democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe and provide comparison with Western Europe
- create new tools for civil society public outreach, capacity-building and advocacy efforts to strengthen local democracy.
The final activity within CALLDE project was the Citizen Participation Week (CPW) which was held the last week of September. This event was conducted in all participating countries and involved over 30,000 citizens across Europe. The event allowed CEE Citizens Network and CEBSD member organizations to test ideas from CPU and transferred them to individual local contexts.
To learn more about CALLDE project, please visit www.callde.eu.