- CASE SLOVAKIA
After the regional elections in November 2013, a Neo-fascist was elected as the head of the region and the fear from extremism became real. Although the elections were democratic, many people felt that it required a significant response was needed. One response to this situation was the creation of broad based platform who were inspired by the US initiated Not In Our Town. For the first time in the city’s recent history, a broad base of representatives of a variety of approximately twenty groups came together to address this new situation. With limited financial support, they carried out a few community activities based on the anti-extremists’ values such as tolerance, understanding and love.
The Not In Our Town platform started as a reactive iniciative but throughtout the years slowly evolved into the professional and effective counter violent extremism program with the clear goals, including mobilisation and campaigning as one of the strongest and most visible actions.
This case is therefore about effective use of political organising in the social justice campaigns.
- CASE POLAND
Over a decade Bona Fides Civic Association has been involving inhabitants so that they could take part in the decision-making process concerning city of Katowice and its particular districts. Comparing Katowice now with Katowice from a few years ago, a great progress in this area has been noticed. However, we still observe a tendency that the most active are few non-governmental organisations and some individuals, “ordinary inhabitants” are usually passive.
We had been looking for various methods, which would enable us to activate more people in Katowice. After a few years of searching and gaining experience in the United States and from our colleagues from European Community Organising Network, in 2011 we started Community Organizing programme. Its main goal is to form local citizens into strong and sustainable neighbourhood groups able to cope with numerous local issues, which affect their communities. Through trainings and regular work with community organiser, local leaders learn how to actively influence public decision-making and change effectively their surroundings. Thanks to community organising method up to date a number of achievements have been gained, to begin with building a parking lot in Ścigały and Kukuczki Housing Estate and skate point in Burowiec district, renovation of one of the roads located in the center point of Kokociniec Housing Estate, first ever meeting with local councillors and representatives of auxiliary council units in Załęże district and to end with withholding forced evictions in Borki Housing Estate. We believe that finally we found a way to give voice to the ones less active in public sphere.
In January 2013 we decided to support inhabitants in Kukuczki Housing Estate in Katowice. The group was established in March 2013 by a paid community organiser who conducted around 120 one-on-ones in the housing estate, both with inhabitants and representatives of different institutions working in the area. In the beginning the initiative consisted of 5 active members, and now there are approximately 10 persons involved in regular activities.
- CASE HUNGARY
In the civic culture the sign and the guarantee of the success is building new organizations, having a high number of members, the capability for mobilizing people and issues won. In the upcoming cases, we present the outcomes of this work through successful campaigns and issues won, followed by a more detailed account of the methodology of community organizing, in large part also through personal accounts. The successes achieved on the field of community organizing proved that community organizers play an important role in the Hungarian civil sphere, and they are indispensable for more and more organizations to undertake the objective of enforcing community interests.