Engaged Citizen

Civic engagement is sustainable and impactful, when it is meaningful. It might require the mastery of certain knowledge, skills, inner and external motivation and some consistency of habits, though. These exercises help mobilising citizens to engage in community activities or initiatives, by supporting them in the development of lifelong civic habits.

Embrace the following challenges, journal them, by using the following hashtags on social media: #communitychallenge #acric

What’s in it for me?
  • I’ll be challenged to (re)discover myself and my own community;
  • I’ll recognize and apply my own strengths in interpersonal and team work;
  • I’ll perform a self-assessment in terms of my community engagement;
  • I’ll engage in civic and communal activities.

You are an inspiration

By completing this challenge, you’ll feel more inspired and motivated to learn in the community

What will I learn?

  • Community engagement;

Instructions

Watch a film or documentary that shows how the actions of one person or a group of persons can have a positive impact on the community.

Suggestions

  1. Pay it Forward (2000);
  2. Erin Brockovich (2000);
  3. Freedom Writers (2007);
  4. Gran Torino (2008);
  5. Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008);
  6. Won’t Back Down (2012);
  7. Dark Waters (2019).

What will I need?

  1. Internet connection, streaming platform;
  2. Television, PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone;
    or
  3. Television
  4. DVD player

What are my thoughts?

What did you feel and learnt after watching the film?
Which part of the film touched you the most? Why?
In one sentence, please explain how you perceive the personal power tied to social change.
Did you have any insights regarding your life, behaviour and relationship with the community? Please write some of those thoughts.

Superpowers

After completing this interesting challenge, you will be able to identify your personal strengths and feel more empowered. You’ll know a tool that can help you and others to gain positive insight about yourselves and attain a desired goal, preferably towards teamwork, community service, communal activities or other plans that you could have in mind.

What will I learn?

  • Leadership (broad sense)

What will I need?

  1. Internet connection;
  2. One of the following devices: PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone;

Instructions

  1. Take the survey on character strengths by VIA Institute
  2. On top of the right corner, please select your language;
  3. Select the top five traits and answer the following questions:
    • How do I use this strength already?
    • In what areas of my life do I use this strength?
    • What other areas in my life could I use it more?
    • What are other ways I could use this strength?
    • What is my plan? What exactly would I like to do? How frequently?
    • When will this happen?
    • What will happen if I achieve my goals?

Activity retrieved from positivepsychology.com

What are your thoughts?

Were you aware that you had so many positive strengths? Do you feel more confident?
Do you consider starting any initiative, taking any action or challenge after seeing the survey’s results?

My neighbourhood map

You’ll identify the public bodies (city hall, county courthouse, public agencies) in the community and understand their scope of activity.

What will I learn?

  • Community Engagement;
  • Digital Communication.

What will I need?

  1. Internet connection;
  2. One of the following devices: PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone
  3. Google Maps
  4. Instructions on How to Add a Pin on Google Maps on PC or Mac: 9 Steps (wikihow.com)
Or
  1. Local paper map of the area (optional);
  2. Pins of different colours (optional);

Instructions

  1. Use a map and pinpoint their premises’ locations in your community.
  2. Investigate and tag the premises’ locations in different colours according to the scope of activity. E.g.: urbanism, culture, environment, transport, social support, etc., using the application Google Maps or a local paper map.
  3. Discuss in a group about what you have found out (optional).

What are your thoughts?

  1. Did you know the range of available services you have in your community?
  2. Did you ever get in contact with any of them?
  3. Did you find out where any specific issue of your community potentially could be handled?

Shaping Together

What will I learn?

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork & Interpersonal Skills
  • Communicatio
  • Community Engagement
  • Flexibility/ Adaptability
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation

Instructions

  1. Attend an assembly session or meeting of a local body of your community, listen and take notes about the topics discussed.

What are your thoughts?

Part 1

  1. What was the topic most discussed?
  2. What was the topic that caught your attention the most?
  3. Did people voice different perspectives on the subjects?
  4. Did you voice your opinion?
  5. What was the outcome or the actions taken?

Part 2

  1. Did people participate a lot in the meeting/assembly? If not, what and how could the situation be improved?
  2. How could you contribute to increasing the citizens’ participation?

Get Inspired

By completing this challenge, you’ll feel more inspired and motivated to learn in the community.

What will I learn?

  • Community Engagement;

Instructions

Listen to one of the following podcasts:

Top 40 Community Development Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021 (feedspot.com)

What will I need?

  • Internet connection;
  • Smartphone or other device;
  • Spotify or iTunes (Optional);

What are your thoughts?

Did you find the podcast interesting?
Did you come up with any idea, approach, strategy or methodology to apply in an initiative or project in your community?
To what extent was it beneficial to you to listen to other perspectives/inputs?

Do you want to climb the ladder?

When you embrace this challenge, you’ll understand the link between human rights and asset-based community development, you’ll understand how the breath of human rights applied to one’s life in the community, you’ll self-assess yourself and you’ll be aware about your own levels of participation in several settings of your life.

What will I learn?

  • Community Engagement

What will I need?

  1. Internet connection;
  2. Miro application;
  3. Instructions;
  4. “The Ladder of Participation”;
Or
  1. Instructions;
  2. “The Ladder of Participation”;
  3. Large sheet of paper, marker pen and scissors;
  4. “Post-its” or small pieces of paper to be taped on a wall;

Instructions

Before the activity:

  1. Do it digitally in the online application Miro or do the activity manually, using a large sheet of paper, a marker pen and scissors;
  2. Draw on paper the 6 signs or select them on Miro: 1. Obstacles, 2. Control, 3. No control, 4. Enabling Factors, 5. Control, 6. No Control;
  3. Print/open the instructions and the “participation ladder”;
During the activity (may be done individually or in groups):
  1. Write what you understand by the term “participation”;
  2. Try to find examples in your own life for as many of the 8 levels as you can from all settings of your life: at home, school or other educational context, clubs, associations, work and with family and friends;
  3. Identify obstacles (things that stop you from moving up the ladder) and enabling factors (things that help them to move up the ladder). Write each idea in a separate “post-it” under the signs selected before on Miro or drawn by hand;
  4. Put the “control” and “no control” headings up on the wall or on the Miro’s board, under the first headings and sort each list into two sub-lists according to whether the statements are about things that you have (or could have) control over, or whether the statements refer to external factors that are out of their control;
  5. Review the positions of the papers in the four lists. Then go on to the evaluation and debriefing.
Activity adapted from “Compass” the manual for human rights education. If you’d like to see more activities under this scope, please refer to “Compass”: manual or human rights education with young people

What are your thoughts?

  1. Did the activity help you think more clearly about the ways you participate in different areas of your life? What surprised you most?
  2. Do you think that citizens’ participation in general is high or low – in your work, club, and community? What are the reasons?
  3. Do you regard low participation as a result mostly of internal (psychological) factors, or mostly as a result of external factors?
  4. How do people feel when they are able to participate in a genuine sense – in other words, when their participation is not just tokenistic?
  5. Would you like to be able to participate at a higher “rung” than they do at the moment? If so, in which areas? What are the reasons for doing so, and what are the reasons against?
  6. Would you like to be able to participate at a lower “rung” than they do at the moment? If so, in which areas? What are the reasons for doing so, and what are the reasons against? Group:
  7. How many people feel they could participate more than they do at present, and how many feel that they will do so? If so, how and when

Heartening Leader

Sometimes we get indecisive about taking the first to get to know someone, especially in a leadership position. We’ll give you some tips to know a leader of a local authority, initiative or organisation.

What will I learn?

  • Teamwork & Interpersonal Skills
  • Communication

Instructions

  1. Choose one public body, service or organisation from your map;
  2. Arrange a meeting, send an email or send a message via a social network about a topic of your concern and which is shared by a group of local members from your community. As an alternative, reach that person at a local event;
  3. Introduce yourself;
  4. Express why you’re interested to get to know him/her better, express admiration or approval about some projects you consider impactful and successful either in your community or at personal level;
  5. Ask the leader what has inspired him/her to be devoted to the cause he is advocating for;
  6. Ask the leader what moments in her/his life, while he was brought up were crucial to take over the role he/she has at the moment;
  7. Ask the leader what has been done concerning an issue of your concern and of the members of your community (optional);
  8. Other questions you feel driven to do.

What are your thoughts?

  1. What did you learn from this experience?
  2. What challenges did you face?
  3. Did this leader share some features or personal stories that inspired you?
  4. Did you get motivated to take action in the future?
  5. What do you need to take stock?