Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:41

Study Visit to Czech Republic

Interdiac and Eurodiaconia together with interdiac founder Slezská Diakonie and the local organizer Community centre DEN warmly organized, in the period of 10th – 15th October, in Český Těšín (Czech Republic), the second study visit and workshop: From local action to engagement with the wider society “Input to wider society from local engagement by young people in the neighbourhoods”.

The study visit was a follow up action of the study visit ”Community Engagement – real Participation – Empowerment” organized in Helsinki in collaboration with Helsinki Deaconess Institute, another the founder members of interdiac.

The aim of the study visit was to offer a space to share experience and deepen the understanding of community engagement in Diaconia and Christian social action in light of church related organisations founded after a change of political regime.

The study visit will be aimed at working on the issue of participation and empowerment of ´forgotten young people´ in marginalised local communities. This should contribute to clarifying and elaborating the root concepts for development of local initiatives. Young people will be considered to be the ´experts´ in their own situation and in the main position to carry those initiatives in a long term perspective.

A special focus will be put on developing the culture of voluntary action and the recognition of the developmental dynamics which support voluntary and community engagement. The Moldovan Christian Aid was represented by Veaceslav Luca, program coordinator who actively participated at the study visit together with representatives of other faith-based organisations or churches from 12 countries across Europe. The workshops during the study visit helped the participants to hold a continuous learning process on Diaconia in Community and to learn from local experiences.

The study visit objectives were:

  • Deepening the understanding of concepts such as voluntary action, activism and community engagement in regard to differing local and national contexts in Europe.
  • Continuing to develop and deepen the discussion on the role of diaconia in local neighborhood work.
  • Clarifying and elaborating root concepts and to learn from different contexts.
  • Developing follow up networking, interaction and further initiatives in the field.

During the study visit, participants were able to meet those involved in such projects as:

  • Community centre for Roma people
  • Community centre DEN
  • Projects working with vulnerable groups of young people, homeless people

Community work based diaconia in Czech Republic is seen as new concept that is mainly identified with non- governmental organisations. Non- governmental organisations, including diaconal organizations have started promoting the idea of civil engagement after the change of the political system. Many of the social and diaconal initiatives that have been created have the character of ´institution´. There is an interest of many NGOs in more comprehensive concepts of community development. So we will be able to meet the pioneers introducing the diaconal strategies to combat the issues of social isolation of young people.

Organisations participating in the project are from Armenia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Poland. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot hold responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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