Social trust makes a big difference. Democratic societies are trusting societies meaning that trust makes democracy work. In Europe the level of social trust is low — in part because populations are diverse. How can we build more social trust and thus strengthen democracy in Europe? There are many theories on social trust but few interventions. Our interdisciplinary team will design and implement social trust interventions that are scientifically proven and easy to copy, to build social capital.
Interventions will take place in countries with lowest social trust levels: Romania, Spain, Bulgaria
Social trust is the dark matter of society; it's very important and yet we don’t focus on it very much. Our idea would bring trust back. By addressing isolation, xenophobia, 'doubting ones neighbour', etc., which lead to corruption and distrust, we want to stop trends that undermine our democracies.
We’ll have a tested and fine tuned, well documented toolkit for building social capital in communities, published under creative commons. We'll have 3 case studies published and 6 partners testing the toolkit in their work. We'll be analysing the results and based on that, working on the next stage.
Our ultimate aim is to collect/develop and use tools and interventions for building bridging social capital. To do this we would have: a research/analysis/mapping phase (looking at high & low trust countries); an ideation phase, considering all possible ideas for tools; a prototype & piloting phase, partners will test the tool/s in their work; results of piloting will be collected, analysed and published for others to copy. the tool/s will be refined. the project prepared for adapting & scaling.
What excites us the most about this project is the opportunity to test theory in real life environments and the focus to scale our outcomes. As an interdisciplinary network we always want to work with new groups and professions while at the same time creating something that joins us all together.
Our primary target group are the citizens of Europe. We will work with communities and local partners in low trust level countries and through scaling the project, involve more partners from different countries, social innovators and the public sector who are motivated but lack tools and support.
We would love to hear from anyone who has experience building bridging social capital; building toolkits; and specific areas/places/partners of low/high trust.