NOW Promising Practices

Social Cohesion in our Communities

#promisingpractices

The series “NOW Promising Practices – Social Cohesion in our Communities” showcases living examples improving social cohesion and youth participation in various communities in Europe and the MENAT region.

Cuckoo’s Nest

Hameln, Germany

Presented by:

Tjark Bartels – Head of District Authority of Hameln-Pyrmont, Germany

> Poster

Initiative:

Rohrsen, a small residential town in Northern Germany, is home to a lot of families with migration background and struggled with exclusion and disadvantages due to financial or social impairment.

Approach:

With the Cuckoo’s Nest, the town of Hameln and the District Authority of Hameln Pyrmont established an initiative almost a decade ago, in order to tackle the issue of social imbalance and to include all the families equally. They rented out an apartment in the area to support people in need: From educational help to care services to language courses, there are various offers that are getting evaluated by potential users regularly.

Result:

Due to popularity and publicity of the project, a lot of institutions and partners have gotten involved over the years, which enables the initiative to offer customised approaches and solutions to the families.

Learnings:

It is crucial to include parents and improve cooperation with them, in order to make social work with children efficient. The participation of beneficiaries (= parents and children) in decision-making and designing projects and thereby making their voices heard as well as appreciation towards cooperation partners proved themselves valuable.


Mobil in the Vally

Zweitälerland, Germany

Presented by:

Pavlos Wacker & Pablo Rebholz

> Poster

Initiative:

“Mobile in the valley” aims to give young people in rural areas access to ride shares in order to be more mobile while reducing the usage of cars in the area.

Approach:

As a result of a survey among youth, a mobile application called “TwoGo” was created, in order to enable people to share rides. Furthermore, a conference was held where all stakeholders including mayors were invited and co-operations with the city as well as local companies were secured.

Result:

Car usage in the valley was reduced and the young people involved got inspired to become politically active and some of them even spoke at various specialist events.

Learnings:

It is essential to have co-operations and networks with relevant actors. Moreover, what needs to be taken into account is the project’s sustainability and continuity, as well as its funding.


Protecting Myself, Protecting Others

Sjenica, Serbia

Presented by:

Maida Kasumovic – Head of Economy and Development Dpt., Municipality of Sjenica

> Poster

Initiative:

The goal was to gather and educate the community, especially young people, on reproductive health as well as protection from and prevention of health issues- regardless of taboos and different backgrounds, overcoming varying levels of knowledge.

Approach:

Visits to 500 secondary-schools by groups of experts in Sjenica: Doctors, psychologists, social workers, municipal staff, teachers. The groups provided information, lectures and trainings and engaged attendees in discussions.

Result:

Raising awareness of importance of gender equality, health care and knowledge about reproductive health. As a consequence, the Gender Equality Council became more visible to fellow citizens and much more preventive medical examinations took place.

Learnings:

In order to overcome traditional taboos, it is crucial to activate a wider community and gain information through focus groups on various topics. Similar projects in the future should also involve fathers to include all the responsible actors for the prevention and care of physical health and also as role model for boys.


Education Fair

Essen, Germany

Presented by:

Lasse Paetz – Founder of Bildungsfestival / Education Fair

> Poster

Initiative:

The education fair is a 4-day network event involving over 100 students from disadvantaged schools, engaging them in project groups. There are 3 thematic tracks for the event: Sustainability, diversity and personal growth.

Approach:

The education fair effectively improves and boosts the student’s confidence in their own ability to achieve their goals by involving them and letting them make contributions to and take responsibility for agenda items like workshops, performances, or organisational matters.

Result:

Positive impact on the students’ self-efficacy, open-mindedness, their behaviour at school and at home and their political interest.

Learnings:

It is crucial to let youth practice and experience responsibility in order for them to grow.


Improving Educational Structures by Civocracy

Lyon, France

Presented by:

Emily McDonnell – Head of Partnerships and Communications, Civocracy

> Poster

Initiative:

Civocracy implemented a project together with the City of Lyon, offering the opportunity to students, teachers and parents to have a say and participate in local education decisions like activities outside of class or child care.

Approach:

Civocracy online platform, including an open forum-style debate and surveys.

Result:

Six major structural changes were made in Lyon.

Learnings:

Young people want to be involved in political decisions that affect their daily lives as well, but they need to know how to participate and also to experience their impact.


Pop Up on Vivid Street

Postojna, Slovenia

Presented by:

Tatjana Hvala – Advocacy Manager BOREO

> Poster

Initiative:

Enabling children and youth participation to make them feel more welcome and included in Postojna, with engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the local environment: Municipal administration, educational facilities and civil society organisations. The long-term goal being an inclusive participation of children in the local community which will result in curious and active young citizens.

Approach:

Festival “Stop on a Lively Street with Youth” with several activities like workshops regarding different topics (e.g. sustainability, communication, tools and skills like woodworking), art installations, sessions of the children’s council, a literary evening, children being tourist guides in the city, a storytelling festival, stage performances, the presentation of the UNICEF dolls.

Result:

Children and youth, planning and implementing the project, working together with the supporting organizations; a lot of attendees and also publicity through media coverage.

Learnings:

It is key to involve all stakeholders and establish an encouraging environment for children so that they can participate and see that their ideas have been taking into account.