The Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations (Hungary) and its project partners: Femijet jane e Ardhmja (Albania) (FJA)/Children Are the Future (CAF), Zentrum für Sozial- und Integrationsprojekte (Austria) CESIP, Forum for Freedom in Education (Croatia), LIFE e.V. (Germany), Vitakultura Association (Hungary), Agenzia Intercultura e Mobilita & Muovimente (Italy), Education Development Center (Latvia), and Public Policy Center (Romania) announced the launch of the Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing Initiative on 1st of January, 2011. The initiative seeks to support European community-based educational grassroots organisations that are able to mobilise their communities and public opinion around issues of marginalisation in education and help the most vulnerable groups of society.
The Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing project gives European citizens active in the field of education and social inclusion the opportunity to interact among themselves, with policy-makers, civil society organization at the local, national and EU level. At the local level it pursues a community-based, participatory approach and seeks to involve a diverse array of educational grassroots organisations that work towards promoting soft factors for local development (culture, creativity, and innovation of citizens) and fostering local wellbeing through formal and informal education. By convening people of diverse social and professional backgrounds, paying particular attention to the perspectives of disenfranchised groups, the project aims to enable those local voices not typically heard to become a part of policy discussions around educational issues, ensuring valuable interaction between EU decision makers and those directly affected by EU policies.
This project is developed and implemented through the cooperation of a number of partner organizations, coming from 8 countries, namely: Albania, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Latvia and Romania. The project sees community level civic activism and the bringing of local voices in EU level policy debates as a transnational challenge within the EU, one that can benefit from comparing different national points of view, by giving the floor directly to persons from different national backgrounds. Ultimately, by benchmarking of successful community based grassroots models for local wellbeing generation, and capturing performance and progress in viable policy recommendations for the local, regional, national and European policy processes, we believe that expertise and good practice can be shared with others across Europe.