Democracy and participation, Education

Koulu School for Democracy


Who is behind this?

Johannes Anttila

Demos Helsinki


Who is joining forces?

Institute for Democracy 21


Idea Sketch


Idea pitch

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.

Where will your idea take place?

Helsinki, Finland and Prague, Czechia

Why does Europe need your idea?

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.

What is your impact?

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.

How do you get there?

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.

What is your story?

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.

Who are you doing it for?

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 do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

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!


Johannes Anttila


Idea created on Jan. 19, 2018
Last edit on Jan. 19, 2018

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