Democracy and participation, Education, EU literacy

The European Civics Academy winner

Creators

Who is behind this?

Alberto Alemanno

The Good Lobby

http://www.thegoodlobby.eu

Spain

Who is joining forces?

Access info Europe

http://www.access-info.org

Spain


European Alternatives

https://euroalter.com

Germany


dataRADA

http://datarada.eu

Estonia


Idea Sketch | Proposal

Proposal

Idea pitch

The idea is a pan-European and traveling advocacy school empowering citizens to bring systemic change at local and EU level, acting alone or in tandem with civil society organisations. By building on the methodology designed by The Good Lobby, the School offers 2-day workshops aimed at training & connecting the participants with NGOs. The aim is foster new, unconventional forms of collaboration aimed at protecting & fostering the civic space both locally and transnationally.

Where will your idea take place?

Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia & Warsaw to then scale it up to more cities and countries

Why does Europe need your idea?

The European Civics Academy aims at educating a new generation of active European citizens on the avenues of participatory democracy that exist at different levels and training them to master tools of civic participation, such as lobbying techniques and strategies. European citizens will learn how to master 'the lobbying toolbox' and create connections with the different civil actors in their field of policy, thus to gain a voice in the public debate and increase pluralism. The aim is foster new, unconventional forms of collaboration aimed at protecting & fostering the civic space both locally and transnationally. Active citizens might be able to reinvigorate the process of European integration, bring more people in the policy process and thus contribute to the emergence of a transn democracy

What is your impact?

This project aims at increasing civic empowerment and spreading a culture of participatory democracy. Within year 1, we expect citizens to be more aware of the concrete avenues of public participation, and collaborate with local and transnational NGOs, in different European countries as well as at the EU level. We aim a training 500 citizens in 10 european countries, to monitor them after the training and support them in case they decide to take action and put in practice what they have learned during the Advocacy School, so to represent their point of view in the policy process. The ideal outcome is to stimulate a social movement of active citizens, that strategically challenges the status quo.

How do you get there?

1. Partnership with local NGOs, educational institutions, companies and other local actors;
2. Publish call & select participants with local partners to maximize diversity & bring together (often for the first time!) diverse local actors;
3. Skill-based workshop on advocacy skills combined with experiential learning: participants will launch local/cross-EU campaigns possibly supported by unconventional coalitions;
4. Evaluation of civic actions & impact on participants’ perceptions of the policy process;
5. Post training monitoring and mentorship to support activists who wants to start public interest advocacy.

What is your story?

I am an academic committed to equalizing political power and influence in Europe and beyond by mobilizing citizen experts and connecting to civil society. I have been involved in dozens of pan-European campaigns aimed at systemic change. Today I run The Good Lobby (TGL), the first organisation devoted to popularizing & democratizing the various channels of participatory democracy in Europe. During the years I have built a team of passionate volunteers that support the TGL’s mission. We connect experts and ordinary citizens with NGOs that need their pro bono advice to pursue their public interest missions. Hence, TGL was born to organise, train and facilitate connections among civic actors committed for the public good.

Who are you doing it for?

Main beneficiaries are citizens - be they professionals, academics, students, job-seekers or just concerned citizens - willing to gain a greater voice by working alone or in tandem with local NGOs. Also NGOs that engage in advocacy & other participatory mechanisms at local and EU level are going to benefit from the European Civics Academy. More in general, by paving the way for more citizens’ engagement and empowerment, public institutions and policy makers will benefit a lot from increased pluralism of the points of view represented and from higher awareness of the policy process itself.

What makes your idea stand apart?

The European Civics Academy leverages on the The Good Lobby’s methodology that has already been tested in 14 different countries and has trained more than 600 citizens to the practice of the ‘citizen lobbying’. The methodology enshrines: a) an illustration of the avenues of democratic participation existing both at the EU and local level; b) the practice of the essential lobbying strategies and tequiches in use in commercial lobbying practice; c ) a genuine connection with local and European civil actors to exchange practices and experiences of advocacy; d) the possibility to be part of a wider network of civil society organisations, professionals and academics committed in the public debate; e) guidance and support when an actual advocacy campaign starts.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 500000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding granted from Advocate Europe

Major expenses

See Excel file

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We would like to hear what the community thinks about the prospect of taking and offer EU activism workshops across Europe and learn what causes they would like to pursue afterwards.

Project Journey

Road to impact

So long farewell auf wiedersehen goodbye!

After having visited sixteen countries, delivered almost twenty workshops, trained close to six hundred citizens and engaged with approximately two hundred civil society organizations, The Good Lobby is set to conclude this year-long marvelous journey.

The final part of our project brought us far, actually the furthest we ever been travelling to: Ukraine. On July 11th The Good Lobby was invited by the Ukrainian Pro Bono Club to deliver a workshop in Kiev before an audience composed of lawyers, young pro bono professionals and NGOs. This event gave us the opportunity to better understand what does lobby means outside the European Union and to connect with a vibrant community of active social entrepreneurs. 

Our journey continued in Bilbao (Spain), where The Good Lobby organized its Lobbying Summer Academy. The Lobbying Summer Academy is a high-level yet informal conversation on the future of interest representation at times of new power structures. It brings together a wide community of stakeholders, ranging from corporate lobbyists (both in-house and consultants), campaigners, academics/researchers, activists, foundations representatives, entrepreneurs, students, journalists, elected officials as well as public servants interested in new forms of influence, mobilization and lobbying. The Academy was also an opportunity for The Good Lobby to invite the local partners we worked with during the year and further build their capacity in advocacy. 

Finally, The Good Lobby have been invited to run a workshop in the framework of the ECL Youth Ambassadors Summer School Programme. The ECL is The Association of European Cancer Leagues, a non-profit, pan-European umbrella organisation of national and regional cancer societies. This event was animated by Alex Makela, Senior Fellow at The Good Lobby and expert of social media tools for NGOs. It took place on Saturday August 31th in Ljubljana.

The Good Lobby on Sept. 11, 2019
Road to impact

Keep up with The Good Lobby!

Shortly before the European elections, our European Civics Academy stopped in two Romanian cities: Cluj and Timisoara. We turned to a young audience and we teamed up with a local organisation, the Social DOers, to speak about what really matters in Europe and encourage those youngsters to cast their ballot.

Parallel to Romania, we offered a workshop within the international seminar dedicated to the topic of lowering the voting age in Tallinn, in Estonia. The right to vote is a key element of participation in democratic processes. Participation in the democratic process is of utmost importance for our society and the right to vote and to be elected are key elements of citizenship. We have triggered the debate around lowering the voting age to the age of 16 by discussing how young people can feel more empowered in decision-making by making use of other instruments of participations others than voting.

In May, before and after the elections, we were in Germany, at the technical university of Dresden, and in France, on the occasion of the European Lab in Lyon. On election day, the whole TGL team was in front of the parliament, to participate live in this important moment for European democracy and spread the message of TGL through games and a live quiz.

On June 3rd, we wanted to offer an opportunity for debate and analysis of the European elections and discuss how the results could have an impact on civil society and citizen participation. Professors, professional consultants and activists came together to unpack the elections and answer all questions from the public at the Europe House in The Hague.

Shortly after The Hague, our team reached Lisbon. More than 50 people attended our workshop, making it one of the most interactive and memorable of our tour.

It was exciting to be reunited in Belgrade with the team of Advocate Europe before the end of this fantastic journey. We still have few stops left, we will cross the borders of the European Union to go to Ukraine, we will stop in Bilbao for the Lobbying Summer Academy and we will close our European Civics Academy tour in Ljubljana!

 

The Good Lobby on July 7, 2019
Road to impact

Two months, five countries: starting the year at full speed!

Our European Civics Academy kicked off the new year at full speed. Between February and March, The Good Lobby ran workshops in six different countries, meeting old and new partners and more than 200 potential citizen lobbyists.

Our first workshop of the year had a special focus on how to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, hosted by our French partner, ProBono Lab. This powerful, yet underused, instrument is available to citizens to access the documents of national governments and European institutions. Lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Helen Darbishire, freedom of information activist from Access Info, and our Head of Partnership & Education, Andrea Boccuni, explained how to make the most of this powerful tool in an advocacy strategy. Check out the pictures here.

Before leaving France's capital, we met with a group of engaged students and offered a workshop at HEC Paris, encouraging them to cast their ballot in the European Elections in May: that's the first step every citizen lobbyist should take!

TGL is always on the road, but its home is in Europe's capital: Brussels. We came back home to host "Social Media for Change", a two-hour, skills-based workshop at TownHall Europe. Jointly led by our founder, Alberto Alemanno, and Alexander Mäkelä, a former public policy associate at Facebook, the workshop equipped more than 100 citizens with the necessary tools to become more effective and responsible digital users. Here you find the photo gallery. 

Right after our Brussels event, TGL's European Civics Academy was back on the road. We presented the TGL Civil Lobbying Toolbox through various interesting projects to students, NGOs representatives and professionals, as well as ordinary citizens interested in lobbying and advocacy. The event was opened by Eszter Kotlár, PR Public Relations Officer of the European Parliament, with a presentation on the European election campaign.

After Budapest, we headed to Germany, where Manuela Mio, our Partnership and Education officer, ran a workshop on citizen lobbying at the Generation Europe Conference. Youth workers from 15 countries from North to South, East and West of Europe worked in groups to develop strategies on how to include lobbying in their work and stepped into the (good) lobbyist shoes. 

We closed March with a stop in Rome. Our Italian Citizen Lobbying Workshop was hosted by SIOI, the Italian Society for International Organisation and aimed at sharing the tools and techniques that can make the action of civil society in the European area more incisive. Most importantly, we encouraged young people to vote and participate in politics and public life.

Two months, five countries, and this is just half of the journey! Follow us along the road and stay tuned for a new update on our workshops in Romania, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and Ukraine while celebrating the highest turnout for the European Elections in 20 years...and a brand new logo!

 

The Good Lobby on June 10, 2019
Road to impact

Citizens lobbyists: fasten your seatbelt, the journey shall begin!

 

“The journey is long but the goal is in each step”, with this spirit we have started our European Civics Academy tour in 2018, which brought us to three different destinations: Prague, Oslo and Zagreb. 

Our first Citizen Lobbying Conference & Workshop in the Czech Republic has been organised in collaboration with OSF Prague, an organisation which embraces TGL's mission of civic empowerment. Teaming up with like-minded organisations like OSF allowed us to reach out to a large number of local NGOs willing to learn how to become citizen lobbyists. In our workshops, we aim at involving different types of experts: lobbyists, lawyers, academics, institutions officials and professionals whose expertise can be useful to strenghten grassroots advocacy efforts. With this event, we gathered professors working on participatory democracy from local universities, pro bono lawyers, public affairs experts and the Czech Government Commissioner for Human Rights. Each one of these individuals shared her/his insights on the state of citizens advocacy in the Czech context. A new Czech Legal Toolkit was presented in collaboration with DLA Piper, giving participants an opportunity to learn about accessible legal tools to advocate public good. 

On the basis of TGL's Citizen Lobbying Toolkit presented by our Head of Partnership and Education, Andrea Boccuni, the participants elaborated a series of interesting projects. It's an easy-to-use methodology that provides CSOs and citizens with the necessary tools to build a proper advocacy campaign, based on Alberto Alemanno's book “Lobbying for Change – Find your Voice to Create a Better Society”. Sometimes pictures speak better than words: take a look to the event's album

After Prague, we headed north: direction Oslo!  TGL ran a Citizen Lobbying Workshop as part of the  Ashoka Hello Nordics, a project offering entrepreneurs an accelerator program with the aim to significantly scale up their activities. On December 4th, Andrea Boccuni was among the trainers helping social entrepreneurs to upgrade their projects in the Nordic region. The workshop included some training on how to master 'the lobbying toolbox' and create connections with the different civil actors in their field of policy, thus to gain a voice in the public debate.

On December 6th, TGL landed in Zagreb! Our European Civics Academy in partnership with Hrvatsko društvo lobista - HDL - the Croatian Society of Lobbyists - brought Citizen Lobbiyng to Croatia. Following the format we offered in Prague, we involved several key actors. This time, we welcomed a representative of the European Commission Representation in Croatia and the Minister of European and Foreign Affairs in Croatia. We had the chance to partner up for the first time with the Croatian Society of Lobbyists, willing to offer new perspectives on lobbying in the EU. Igor Vidačak, associate professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb animated a panel on how to empower citizens and CSOs for more effective lobbying in the processes of national and European policy making. Once again, TGL's citizen lobbying toolkit encouraged local activists and simple citizens to try out new avenues of public participation, and collaborate with local and transnational NGOs. Here some pictures of the day.

We closed our eventful 2018 with The Good Lobby Awards Ceremony, celebrating citizens and organizations advocating for social change across Europe. Their stories will inspire us in the next steps of our journey. In 2019 our European Civics Academy will open its doors to citizens and organisations in Paris, Budapest, Brussels, scaling up to many more cities!   

In taking a journey, there's always room for growth and improvement. Our European Civics Academy will soon present itself on video. This will amplify our impact across Europe, involving and activating many more future citizen lobbyists. STAY TUNED! 

The Good Lobby on Feb. 2, 2019

Why this idea?

A diverse and colourful choir of opinions, ideas and joint solutions reflecting the interests and needs of citizens is key to the democratic process. Using a unique capacity-building approach, the European Civics Academy provides training for “citizens’ lobbying”. This one-day school enables groups and individuals who want to effect change to make their voice heard for the common good, to push for change and to navigate their issues in the policy context.

Team

eLabEurope

The Good Lobby

Lamin

Idea created on Jan. 9, 2018
Last edit on Sept. 11, 2018

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