Funky Republic – promoting civic engagement

Short project description

This project aims to provide an answer to an issue encountered over the previous years all throughout the country of Romania – there is no coherent dialogue framework for CSOs, citizens and local authorities -, by establishing and implementing a viable model. We wish to find the formula that will allow authorities to better understand their prerogatives and their citizens’ needs, while also providing the citizens with ways to become more civically engaged within their community and CSOs to better collaborate with one another. Moreover, Funky Citizens wishes to invest in the internal development of the organization, by spearheading a network of local NGOs on a national level, thus creating a framework for implementing, monitoring, and counselling of local CSOs. To do so, the project will start with a double research phase – covering both on mapping and identifying possible candidates for our CSO network and the development of the methodology for local dialogue. Experts will provide their aid for both these endeavors, alongside local authorities from Romania and abroad, CSO members and other stakeholders. Afterwards, this model will be promoted and implemented on a local level, via the established network, all in the name of decision-making transparency and civic engagement. We strive to make our model accessible and easy to implement, for it to be available to all interested entities and to have a great replicability coefficient. Throughout the project, Funky Citizens will act as an umbrella-organization, providing overview, counselling, and feedback to the members of the network, to assure efficiency in implementation. The project features two strategic partners – Bjerkaker Learning Lab (Norway) and RISE Project (Romania).

Key activities:

A6 (L12-26) – Capacity-building for networks through workshops or trainings that support local level involvement.

BLL will aid our network by preparing two working sessions for local development and democratic participation by using working circles, a learning method successfully used in past projects. The funding received covers all costs related to said events, including the expert’s fee and travelling and accommodation.

A7 (L19) – Network work reunion

This activity is designed to bring together all those involved in our project within a working reunion. This is where we will share our experiences, create connections between organizations and give/ receive feedback on the content of our trainings and workshops. It will also help in determining how Activities 8 and 9 will unfold, together with the Local Participation Index, in order to turn it into a real advocacy tool on a local and national level.

Partner’s role:

BLL will decisively contribute with their expertise in the development phase of the materials that will be used in this project, by aiding and feedback, but also with the expertise gained from similar initiatives in the past. The partner will also assist in the implementation of the materials, both by supervising the remote approach, by online communication, as well as through working visits to Romania and through trainings. In the first place, BLL will contribute by providing input in establishing the methodology for research, our project relying on the infusion of experience that the Norwegian partner will bring. The main purpose of this point will be a better understanding of the pre-existing needs on which a successful intervention at local level depends, an area in which BLL was a strong partner in a project carried out between 2014 and 2015 in Riga, Latvia, called “Local Development and democratic participation – the use of study circles.”. In this phase of the project, the communication will take place mostly online, but the project calendar also includes a working visit that will allow the Norwegian partner to contribute, together with the local team, to the development of the methodology. Subsequently, the partner will contribute to the project by providing Funky Citizens input for the development of the guide (ABC of civic participation), which is the main theoretical landmark of this initiative. We will be the beneficiaries of BLL’s knowledge in terms of adult education and building dialogue-based communities. Finally, BLL will assist Funky Citizens by providing input in the launch phase of the theoretical support, thus helping to implement the model to which they initially contributed. This part includes BLL’s participation in a series of events, dedicated to members of the local network that will be created through this project. Thus, they will be able to offer advice and assistance to those who need them most. The amount agreed to cover the fee of the BLL expert involved in the project, plus the costs related to the visits and trainings in which BLL will participate, is 20,000 EUR, covered by the grant.

The project will be running from April 2021 to Spring 2023.

For the Norwegian Partner

BLL/Sturla Bjerkaker