ECF is one of the partners of CitizensLab, a project creating the opportunity for local actors of change to create a new European network. The aim is to strengthen and connect active citizens from all sectors that are passionate about their local community. They engage in finding innovative solutions to challenges in their neighbourhoods – be it as volunteers or in their jobs.
Who are the active founding members of the CitizensLab network?
The network is open to people living in one of the EU member states or Turkey. Citizens involved in local initiatives or organisations, NGOs and representatives of municipalities (policy-makers, local council members or the administration) and national or supra-national organisations as well as social entrepreneurs can become a member.
Experts from different sectors (Practitioners, Community artists, Activists, Social entrepreneurs, Political scientists, Academics, Policy-makers and Door openers) have now selected the first 30 members of the network. Among them are our own Idea Makers and R&D grantees (from the Idea Camp) and Tandem participants.
The first two CitizensLab meetings will take place in Berlin (23 - 26 June 2016) and Brussels (March 2017). The kick-off meeting in Berlin will lay the foundation of a network where active citizens can come together and connect. They will exchange knowledge and learn from their peers to strengthen the quality and impact of their local work. This European network can also serve to increase the influence on decision-making processes and policies on different levels.
In the beginning of 2017, an additional 20 members will be selected to become part of the network and meet in March 2017.
In between the two network meetings, members can engage in different ways to keep the network alive and meaningful:
- Use mobility grants to visit another member of the network to further foster peer-to-peer learning or to participate in a conference or a forum.
- Receive small grants to develop creative ideas to implement activities/projects locally in partnership with the network members
- Get the support and mentoring of the network members as well as from the experts of the Steering Group.
Why a European network of local actors of change?
The European Union has been accompanied and shaped by a critical and constructive civil society from its beginning. Besides organisations and networks acting on a European level and European Think Tanks, there is a strong civil society that does not primarily advocate Europe or the European Union, but is rather engaged in concrete activities on a local level.
Local initiatives have the potential to become social innovations that generate at the same time social change and a transformation of local and national institutional frameworks that can be then disseminated throughout Europe.
This personal involvement led by a sense of responsibility for the common good, increases solidarity among citizens and the sustainability of our society.
CitizensLab is a concrete opportunity to strengthen actors of change as multipliers, to deepen the local impact of their work and to connect them in a European movement.
Citizens Lab is implemented by MitOst in cooperation with Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the European Cultural Foundation.