The European Citizenship Awards 2016 are a joint initiative between Volonteurope and the European Civic Forum, two European networks which promote active citizenship and recognition of the importance of social justice to the cohesion of communities across Europe. The Awards celebrate the democratic and civic engagement of individuals, organisations, citizens’ groups, media platforms and social enterprises, recognising innovative initiatives and contributions which give real substance to European values, create ownership of public space and improve the lives of our communities in terms of democracy, social justice and universal access to rights.
A judging panel selected four nominees for each categories, following precise rules of procedure and clear selection criteria.
Have a look at the detailed descriptions for each candidate within the four categories and select your favorites. This is where your participation counts. You are now invited to choose your favorite candidate in each category and so give them a chance to be our 2017 Laureates.
MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
- Channel Draw by Gianluca Costantini
The main purpose of Channel Draw is easy to explain: to defend Human rights using drawing as a tool of engagement. Gianluca has been involved in campaigns against censorship, but also against death penalty and torture through the world. Channel Draw’s creator considers that there are borders and limits to his drawings. However he likes to attract attention on the protection of personal dignity and freedom of expression.
- Waynak(Where are you?)
Waynak is a web series launched in the end of 2016, made of 6 episodes that showcase social entrepreneurs working on solutions to tackle the refugee crisis in Europe and in MENA region. Waynak Mobilisation has this very unique characteristic of using both online and offline formats to mobilize citizens. At the beginning of November, the release of the first episode was the perfect time to organize an series of events simultaneously.
- Gazette Debout
An independent media launched a few days after #31March 2016 on the Place de la République in Paris. We have followed the lives of these women and men who were gathering together and advocating for building a new world, named the “Nuitdeboutistes”. It showed another face of Nuit Debout, on the opposite of the violence depicted in mainstream media.
- We Are Here / Here to Support
In 2012, a group of refugees in limbo organized themselves into a collective to visualize the problems they encounter in the Netherlands. Under the banner of ‘We Are Here’ they ask for recognition of their existence and bring the effects and reality of current asylum policies to the foreground of the political agenda. One of their programmes is the Media Academy, which focuses on educating the We Are Here community in journalism so that they can both have a voice themselves in the public discourse about the refugee- and migrant crisis.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE OF THE YEAR
- Makers For Change
Makers For Change is a local NGO based in Strasbourg focusing on refugees and migrants inclusion, fostering the creation of links between communities and facilitating the creation of meaningful projects through the uses of various tools, activities and methodologies such as new technologies, photography, Tours of citizen initiatives or intercultural coffee. In 2016 they have begun a first innovative pilot using a bottom-up and lean start-up approaches called “Make your project”.
- Okus Doma (Taste of Home)
Taste of Home started as a culinary-cultural-research project of the Centre for Peace Studies introducing culture, customs and countries of origin of refugees and migrants in Croatia by recording their memories of home, smells and tastes of their cuisine. This was an experiment in sharing life stories and culinary skills of refugees and people from Croatia. With years, Taste of Home has come to the establishment of a social cooperative.
- BürgerEnergie Berlin eG
Soon a new concessional contract for Berlin’s electricity distribution grid will be deciding on who answers for sustainable grid operations in Germany’s capital over the next decades. We have a unique opportunity: citizens join in our cooperative BürgerEnergie to buy the grid, use profits wisely and shape the future of our energy system. We strive to democratize decision-making in the energy system, empowering citizens to participate in designing the electricity sector.
- The Good Lobby
The Good Lobby is an independent non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers with the dual mission to promote civic engagement while strengthening EU civil society. In 2016, The Good Lobby surveyed 100 Brussels-based advocacy NGOs active across various policy areas to identify their legal and advocacy-related needs. The objective of The Good Lobby is precisely to bridge these gaps by connecting European academics, legal professionals and students on a pro bono basis to support non-governmental organisations working on key social and political issues at the European level.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
- Said Jasser
Mr. Said Jasser is a young Syrian refugee, born in Aleppo. He escaped from civil war and Daesh-Terrorism via the so called Balkan Route and arrived in Germany in November 2015. Since the first after arrival he started to study by his own, using Internet based learning tool and books from public library. Thanks to his efforts he was very soon able to communicate fluidly in German, what allows him to support other refugees from Arabic speaking countries. In August 2016 he asks to join the community interpreting service, run by our NGO with the participation of volunteers originated from about 35 countries.
- Winifred Murphy
For the past 5 years, Winifred Murphy, 62, from Waterloo has dedicated two afternoons every week to providing companionship and support to her peers, many of whom are lonely and isolated. Supported by Volunteering Matters, Winifred is part of telephone befriending service, City Wise. Each week she calls around 30 older people with ages ranging from 65 to 101. Through telephone befriending Winifred has alleviated some of their loneliness, building friendships over the years.
- Wynne Edwards
Wynne has been one of the pillars of the Coalition of UK citizens’ groups in the EU. He set up Fair Deal for Expats, successfully brought the Fair Deal for Expats action against the UK government which was a key part of the legal battle to bring the decision to trigger Article 50 back to parliament and he has been one of the prime movers who has created the Coalition of UK citizens’ groups in the EU. He is a courageous European and he changed his view of the right strategy to adopt during the campaign to make common cause with the fight of EU citizens in the UK in the name of justice.
ACTIVE CITIZENS’ INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
- Welcome! Initiative
The initiative gathers individuals and civil society organizations with the aim to support refugees on the ground, but also to make political pressure on the Croatian and EU institutions to change restrictive migration policies. When the Balkan corridor was open for refugees, Initiative gathered more than 60 civil society organizations, one football club and more than 400 volunteers who gave support to the refugees on the ground on everyday basis.
- Polish Women’s Strike
An independent social movement of angry women (as they called themselves) and supportive men that was launched in Poland. PWS initiated and organised the nationwide protest against government’s plans for a ban on abortions on 3 october 2016. There was the first mass mobilisation of Polish women in defence of their rights. Polish Women’s Strike gathered more than 100,000 participants not only in urban agglomerations but also in smaller towns.
- Žinau, ką renku (Learn before You Vote)
A Lithuanian watchdogging initiative. The idea here is to make young people active watchdogs of pre-electoral and post-electoral period. The key objectives are to foster a dialogue between politicians and citizens (especially young ones), thus stirring up conscious participation and interest in politics and elections. It is a bottom-up initiative formed three years ago but has peaked only in 2016 autumn parliamentary elections.
This is a civil society initiative that developed the idea to provide all EU youth with free Interrail tickets for their 18th birthday and the campaign behind it making this idea a major EU policy proposal. This initiative has achieved to turn a simple idea by students on an Interrail trip into a serious and widely-supported proposal to strengthen European integration.