This project proposes to expand and disseminate practical knowledge about local citizen participation in Central and Eastern Europe not least in comparison with Western Europe. Guided by civil society experts and activists, a mapping of local community participation will be conducted across post-communist countries as well as a few selected Western European countries . The mapping’s results will be publicized 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 works in post-communist and Western countries
Central to the capacity building within this project will be a “Citizen Participation University” (CPU) in the summer of 2011; a four day event for up to 50 participants from the Citizens Network and the Combined European Bureau for Social Development. The education offered through lectures, workshops and exercises will be based on the results of the action mapping exercise. The University will focus on better informing participants about the current situation of local democracy and it will serve to jointly prepare training material for citizens and community workers. In so doing the University aims 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 will be Citizen Participation Week (CPW) which is held the last week of September. This event will be conducted in all participating countries and will involve over 30000 citizens across Europe. The event will allow member organizations to test ideas from the University, transferred to individual local contexts.
Read the full project document