With the new generation of Europe Direct centres due to be established by May 2021, there is a need for the current and future centres to fulfil their tasks of coordinating and networking other EU-related networks in their target areas. To establish some good examples of this, the European Commission Directorate General for Communication has commissioned a programme to pilot how such networking cooperation could look like in the different regions of Europe.
The goal of the pilot is to foster discussions and networking between Europe networks in 8 regions to build regional ‘networks of networks’ and for each region to set local cooperation agreements by end of March 2021.
Together with VO Europe, Democratic Society is working to make the ‘networks of networks’ function truly as a network. Through the provision of a set of workshops and dialogue on the platform Decidim, the participating networks are provided the mechanisms and the opportunities to get to know each other, to understand each other, and create trust in each other.
We are hosting two plenary sessions - the first of which was to open the project and the second to close. Between the plenary sessions, Democratic Society is facilitating four workshops in each of the 8 target areas in the respective local language. The workshops are designed as a series with each having a clear remit and set of outputs that feed into the next, culminating in an agreed plan and a signed agreement for participants.
In this project, we are working with volunteer table hosts who guide small group discussions in the workshops. By working with volunteers, we aim to build capacity and ownership over the process within the networks. To ensure hosting capacity, we created a “Golden Rules” handbook for the practice of facilitation and delivered a training session for volunteers. Further, our local lead facilitators are in close contact with volunteers, to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident to fulfil their role in the workshops.
The workshops take place in the following target areas: Austria (Burgenland, Niederösterreich, Wien), France (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Hungary (Transdanubia), Italy (Piemonte), Poland (Dolnośląskie, Opolskie, Śląskie), Portugal (Centro, Norte), Spain (Castilla y León), and Sweden (Skåne).
In the course of the project, participating networks are given wide-ranging information and time to get to know each other, discuss, reflect, and formulate new ways of cooperation. The result of the project will be Cooperation Agreements in each target area to establish how the current and future Europe Direct centres can fulfil their tasks of coordinating and networking other EU-related networks in their target areas.
Impact and Learning
We will update this section after March 2021.
For further information about this work, please contact Daniela Amann via email firstname.lastname@example.org.