Across Europe, alarms are ringing out that belief & willingness to participate in democratic life are dwindling. We want to change this.
Using Demos Helsinki's tested Koulu School peer-learning concept, we will give citizens tools to shape the future of our democracies. Two peer-learning festivals, one in Helsinki and one in Prague, will gather together citizens from all walks of life to learn and teach each other skills that enable all to step up to the plate and take democracy into action.
Helsinki, Finland and Prague, Czechia
We believe that democracy is not merely a way of governing, but a way of living. It is not exclusive, but something we all can take part in.
Taking the stage, however, needs the capabilities to do so. The Koulu School for Democracy offers an open space where all can teach and learn these skills.
The Koulu Schools for Democracy will have taught new citizenship skills to around 200 participants in both locations. Not only will the participants be more likely to participate in formal democratic institutions, but they will see democracy as a way of life and spread this message.
The Koulu School is a unique and well tested method of empowering people to share their skills in an effective way. Short teacher trainings developed for the concept gives everyone the tools to give a short lessons.
The most crucial part where the partners’ networks are needed is gathering the right people to attend. The Koulu School is about encounters and about learning together in a very concrete way. Even in the digital world, democracy needs face-to-face encounters.
Koulu School is about setting know-how free. We want to show that learning doesn’t only happen in formal institutions. We have tested this revelation in many contexts from Nepal to Helsinki, but now we would like it to solve one of the biggest issues in our society: boost democratic participation.
At the core of Koulu School for Democracy is that all are welcome to participate.
To help engage groups often left without a voice, we will pay special attention to the following groups: 1) youth 2)migrants & refugees and 3) Areas with low voter-turnout and representation within local government.
What groups do you think the Schools of Democracy should especially focus on? We want to keep participation open to all but would like to specifically target groups that are usually left out in traditional decision-making structures. We would love to hear your ideas!