Oxfordshire Active Citizens 2012
We’re working intensively with 25 local residents and key representatives across four localities in Oxfordshire this year - Barton, North Way and Wood Farm on the edge of Oxford city and the Grimsbury neighbourhood in Banbury.
Participants are immersed in an intensive very applied training which enables them to design, plan and manage social action projects mapped to local needs and priorities. They gain insight and tools for ensuring that everyone is taken into account in their neighbourhoods and included in the opportunities being developed.
The rapidly changing face of many of Oxfordshire’s urban neighbourhoods means that the Active Citizen’s focus on diversity and social inclusion is highly timely.
The core training modules cover:
Identity and inclusion
Diversity and dialogue
Local and global connections
Getting people involved
Project planning, monitoring and evaluating
Budgeting and finance
Using the media
Organising shared events
All participants also have the opportunity to visit the House of Commons with one of our local MPs, Andrew Smith, as well as meet local council officers in Oxford and Banbury.
Four Active Citizens also travelled to Cairo to take part in an international study visit organised by the British Council. They joined Active Citizens from other countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Syria and Pakistan to learn about young Egyptians’ involvement in democracy following the Arab Spring.
Oxford Active Citizens visit Bucharest, Romania
2nd-9th July 2011
In July 2011 a diverse delegation of 11 social activists, community workers and social entrepreneurs from Oxford visited Bucharest, Romania as part of an inter-cultural exchange programme sponsored by the British Council. The Oxford delegation were joined by a group of community activists in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were participants in a parallel educational programme facilitated by Ubuntu Toolbox, a Swedish network promoting mutual learning, diversity and conflict resolution.
We all spent a week learning and working together in Romania, hosted by the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, a think-tank and informal education NGO that was established in 2008 in Bucharest to address issues around social inclusion and civic engagement with Roma and other minorities in Romania.
The Roma are Romania’s second largest ethnic minority according to official figures, following the Hungarians, and are by the far the most socially disadvantaged group in the country. They have at various points been subject to persecution in the course of Romanian history, were enslaved for hundreds of years, suffered terribly in the Holocaust and as recently as the mid 1990s were subject to severe violence in the rural areas.
Many of the Roma continue to be treated as second-class citizens and often live in conditions of abject poverty. Though national statistics show there are 500,000 Roma in Romania out of a total population of just over 20 million, there is broad concensus among many organizations working on the ground that the real number is in fact anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million. These estimates do not include people born of mixed marriages.
During the exchange programme the participants had the opportunity to meet local citizens and activists, policy makers, NGO representatives and media who are all working with the Roma community in different capacities (particularly in the area of non-formal education and civic engagement). The trip was an opportunity for the Active Citizens participants from Romania, Oxford and Sweden to share insights from their local projects and lobbying efforts, stories of common struggles and hopes, and to forge lasting ties.
Photos by Alina Constantinescu and Jackie Nevin
International Exchange Visit - Romanian and Swedish Partners Visit Oxford Active Citizens 15th-22nd June 2011
Our partners from Romania and Sweden also visited us in June 2011.
Roma community activists who work on education, inclusion and environment issues in Ferentari, one of the underdeveloped districts of Bucharest, spent a week in Oxford for the Active Citizens learning exchange visit . The Romanian activists work closely with the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities, supported by the British Council in Bucharest.
Community activists representing a diverse range of ethnicities and communities in Gothenburg, Sweden also took part. They are participators in a parallel educational programme facilitated by Ubuntu Toolbox, a Swedish network promoting mutual learning, diversity and conflict resolution.
What we hoped to achieve as a result of this visit:
- combine existing priorities with developing fresh ideas and approaches
- share experiences and develop ideas with other committed individuals
- develop lasting relationships and learn from community activists and organisations in other countries
- supporting local and global intercultural dialogue in order to strengthen understanding and learning between different communities (both locally and globally)
Oxford Active Citizens 2011
We took part in Active Citizens for the first time last year. Oxford Active Citizens 2011 offered people living and/or working in South East Oxford the chance to share ideas, develop social action projects, whilst reflecting on key issues in their communities. We focused on educational and environmental issues in particular, though other priorities were welcome.
We recruited 25 people from diverse backgrounds from Oxford and surroundings to become part of this worldwide programme. They were local residents active in their communities with strong social networks, also budding social entrepreneurs, community development workers and other front-line staff.
We were partnered with ubuntutoolbox in Sweden and the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities in Romania. The exchange visit helped us reflect on some key issues that are relevant for both the local communities and our international partners representing their own communities.
You can also visit
http://activecitizens.britishcouncil.org to see a full range of the other Active Citizens projects worldwide.
http://www.policycenter.eu/en to find out more about our Romanian partner organisation the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities. Their community activists work on education, inclusion and environmental issues in Ferentari, a Bucharest suburb.
http://ubuntutoolbox.com/en to find out more about our Swedish partner organisation ubuntutoolbox, a network promoting mutual learning, diversity and conflict resolution.