Steps to active citizenship
Active citizenship is for many of us empty slogan and the idea that its not reflected in reality. It is a very old concept, already used by Aristotle and then re-used by John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jacques Rousseau. The main idea of active citizenship is to act independent from state institutions, and to be aware of a common goals.
The main issue in the pursuit of active citizenship is awareness that we live in a community, awareness of the problems, needs and willingness to act. Of course, the action may have different dimensions here, but in my opinion, the highest level is to take our own initiatives, without the impetus from external institutions.
Why am I writing about? Because that’s the issue ofactive citizenship was devoted to the training of young people from Erasmus + project in Malta, where I had the opportunity to participate. Everything with help of TDM2000 Polska is a Polish branch of the TDM2000 network. TDM 2000, promotes personal and professional development of young people aiming to make them active citizens in the societies they live in.
In project we had participants from Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Polish, Romania, Turkey and the UK.
The main topic of the meeting was the impact of non-formal education to the pursuit of social commitment. During training, we had to prepare movies, do interviews with the local people, hosting discussions and participate in special workshops.
The term active citizenship is often blurred. I noticed that the post-communist countries, it has a completely different meaning. Engaging in pro-social projects in Western countries is far higher. More people there are involved in NGOs. In Poland, social activity is still evocative of the „social act” , which was, actually obligatory for everyone, is a pity because now we lose a lot of opportunities because of this.
One of the most interesting examples discussed during training was ” ladder of youth participation”
It shows the degrees of involvement of young people in society. I don’t want to estimate what kind particiaption is better, this ladder shows only the difference between independent initiatives and those controlled by adults.
I hope and Pruszkow(my city) will engage young people more. I must admit that this is one of our main goals this year for our team. On our website we also have the pleasure to host some very young and passionate journalists who, despite his young age, writing great lyrics. In a few days we will have the pleasure to publish the results of the project from our local high school students :)
I personally do not believe in the cristal idea of civil society, but I think we can be closer or move away from the idea. Our webpage P was created just for this idea, and I hope it works well as engine to encourage local society to independently actions and to create new projects for common interest.