Call for proposals: Medium projects
Priority area: Strengthened civil society watchdog/advocacy role
Project duration: 22 May 2023–30 April 2024
Project value: EUR 39.555,50
A democratic system depends on the people participating in it. If people are not involved in the system, it is bound to fail. The prerequisite for a functioning democracy is thus participation, and the prerequisite for participation is knowing the rules of the game. The Carinthian Democratic Station (Koroška demokratična postaja in the Slovene language) is a project promoted by Raum AU – a non-governmental organization operating in the public interest. Their objective is to empower citizens and non-governmental organization for their participation in democratic processes in order to ensure constant, everyday dialogue between local administration and population.
The first highlight of the project is the Empowerment Office, which is available to people and non-governmental organizations for four hours each working day and is intended for providing answers to individual questions. The office is there for anyone facing problems with obtaining various permits who does not know how to tackle the problem, those who want to submit their proposals to decision-makers, organize an event or write a letter, and those who want to know how to interpret a certain law. These are just a few concrete possibilities. Together with the office team, users can learn about new approaches to advocacy and the communication of their content. In other words, users can learn about various tools for navigating democracy, which facilitates their participation in democratic processes.
The second highlight is the Urban Forum, which deals with conducting surveys and analyses as well as holding roundtable discussions, debates, and interventions. The Urban Forum deals with topics pertaining to a broader public, which aim to further explain the logic of the public in democratic societies. It aims to present the positive impact of public participation and interest of the community for participation in these processes.
The Carinthian Democratic Station is an idea and a belief. By utilizing the funds of the Active Citizens Fund Slovenia, we have developed an idea that will last for years. The role of spaces, such as the Carinthian Democratic Station – which our team believes should be part of the public services available in all Slovene municipalities – is thus multi-faceted. The station not only offers assistance to people and non-governmental organizations through the Empowerment Office, which encourages participation in decision-making processes, but also a channel for informal political education for the broader community within the framework of the Urban Forum. Afterall, such education is a prerequisite for each critical citizen’s participation in political processes. The project underlines the need for institutions that would empower people for active participation in decision-making processes, encourage the culture of dialogue, and promote the internalization of the importance of active citizenship.