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

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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