Spanish Social Licensee training Community Reporters across the world

Intras our Spanish Social Licensee is running the Pals Web TV (Youth empowerment through Community Reporting and Peers Learning) supported by Erasmus+ Capacity Building for Youth project.

In the case of Nepal, Indonesia, Guatemala, Macedonia and Spain disadvantaged young people are less likely to be offered opportunities to build up key competences which our important for employment. Fundación Intras role in the project is to transfer to the partner countries, the knowledge, skills and tools to train Community Reporters, and to support these Community Reporters to train their peers.

The objectives of the project are to:

• Empower the foreign partner organisations working with disadvantaged youth through the transfer of the Community Reporting methodology.

• Promote acquisition and improvement of transversal skills in the area of ICT, innovation, business planning or internationalization.

The project will train 2 youth workers per partner on Community Reporting who afterwards will be in charge of transmitting the knowledge to the Community Learning Pals. Each partner will select 3 young people and train them for the role of Community Learning Pals, teaching them among other things:  Community Reporting techniques, the use of media and TV, ITC, community marketing and promotional technique.

Each partner will organise one pilot training per partner country, during which the Peer Learning Pals will transfer the acquired knowledge to 10 of their peers. In addition each partner will produce one multimedia story per participant- in the format of a TV show. Develop a “Pals TV app”, a mobile application which will contain blogs, videos and posts created by the youngsters participating in the project.

The partners are: Fundación INTRAS (Spain), Coordinator, Association for citizen’s tolerance and cooperation ACTAC (Macedonia), Campaign to Change Nepal (Nepal), Dejavato Foundation (Indonesia) and SODEJU Fundaju (Guatemala)

Germany: Community Reporting as a tool for citizen participation

Foto1As the project coordinator for Cologne within the EU Horizon 2020 project Grow Smarter  it is the city administration’s business to offer the required citizen participation activities. We decided to use the Community Reporting format as the adequate method.

What is Grow Smarter about?

Grow Smarter is an energy efficiency project in which existing technical solutions are combined to prove that it is possible to reach energy saving goals and to function as a best practice example. The project area is mainly the Stegerwald Settlement, part of the Cologne district Mülheim, situated near the Cologne fair and surrounded by railway tracks, a main road and an industrial zone. The housing blocks are mainly owned by one housing company. Sub-projects are for example the energetic renovation of the blocks with new insulation and installing of photovoltaic and heat pumps, the set up of a mobility hub with car sharing and rental bikes and a new way of car parking management. These will be combined in a smart home scenario for an easy use by the tenants.

The challenges we have to face:

This sounds quite exciting, but what we learned from the tenants during a first information event in November 2015 was – despite their approval of the rising living standard – their partial concerns about rent increase, electro smog and misuse of data.

So the question is how to get the tenants to acknowledge the various options of previously unknown new possibilities and to value the positive aspects of the project.

(C) Stadt Koeln

(C) Stadt Koeln

Our answer is to get the people living in the Stegerwald settlement to engage themselves in the project, to deal with the new technical and infrastructural offers and to get in dialog about their experiences with us (the project partners of the Grow Smarter) and amongst themselves. We are going to encourage and support this by offering Community Reporter workshops. The workshops will not only deal with the “regular community reporter stuff”. In addition we want to give the participants a deeper inside into the project for example by inviting project partner for interviews and by trying out the new technical offers. Participants will also be encouraged to come up with their own ideas for a change to a more energy efficient lifestyle.

Thus far in theory! At the moment we are promoting our Community Reporter workshops that are run by the Adult Education Centre. We don’t know yet if we find enough interested participants to implement a Grow Smarter Community Reporter group.

Another challenge we have to face is the concern of project partners about negative reporting. What if Community Reporters focus on – from their point of view – negative aspects of the EU-project? As long as Community Reporters stick to the editorial guidelines we – the project partners of the Grow Smarter project – have to accept this. And furthermore it is a chance for us to learn about the opinions, attitudes and concerns of the people who are affected most by the EU-project Grow Smarter – the tenants of the Stegerwald Settlement.
Therefor we open and offer a dialog between the involved parties. Since the beginning of this year the project coordinator offers a fortnightly open hour in the office of the housing company, situated in the Stegerwald Settlement. Citizens and residents can ask questions and come forward with suggestions concerning the project. These are passed on to and discussed with the project partners under the aspect of implementation.


In one years time we may know if the idea of using the Community Reporter format worked as a tool for citizen participation in our case. We’ll let you know!

Meanwhile we are very interested in your experiences with negative reporting and if it happened how you dealt with it. Please get in touch with us!

City of Cologne
eGovernment and Online-Services

Harald Gellhaus

Dirk Blauhut

Ute Dreiocker

Research on shared value in the Emilia-Romagna District in Italy

Thanks to our partner AICCON at the University of Bologna for this interesting piece of research on shared value in Italy. A summary of the project and its findings can be found below.

Research on shared value in the Emilia-Romagna District in Italy

The creation of a new welfare model implies the involvement of different territorial actors who can contribute to answering unmet social needs. Among the main actors on the scene are the for-profit sector enterprises that undoubtedly play or may play a key role. The purpose of this research was to investigate and highlight how the non-State actors – and especially the for profit enterprises – can contribute to the creation of new welfare services.

This analysis is based on the previous research “Another welfare: generative experiences” (that explored how Third sector organisations contribute to the creation of new welfare services) and on the work of the Social Economy Working Group set up by the Emilia-Romagna Region Ministry for Social Affairs.

The theoretical point of reference has been shared value. It points out that a new way to pursue economic goals is by focusing on social ones. Based on the concept of shared value, the enterprise puts in place strategies, technologies and processes to systematically involve all actors within its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners and suppliers) to get the most of the specific shared value.

In order to fully analyse the concept of shared value, it has been defined in three dimensions:

  • Social value for the community
  • Institutional value
  • Economic value

The research took place from June 2013 and September 2014 and 25 case studies have been selected, 12 of them have been analysed and 7 have been chosen to be further investigated and presented in the final report.

The research project recognized 4 different ways to create shared value:

  1. The first one is the creation of social capital by strong territorial relationships among SMEs and the community. In fact, work inclusion of disadvantaged people in SMEs and educational-training courses, in collaboration with companies, creates a social safeguard through the commercial network. In that way, social inclusion and job introduction of people with disabilities in commercial enterprises allows beneficiaries to enhance their vocational and social skills through the experience, in not-protected places and in very close contact with customers. At the same time, enterprises play an active role in the creation of shared value by sustaining projects aimed at the community wellbeing and through the collaboration with the Third sector to reduce disadvantaged situations.
  2. A second one is related to the establishment of a productive chain between social enterprises and for profit firms. These collaborations guarantee a working activity to disadvantaged people who are integrated in social co-operatives over the time. This enables the achievement of a double goal – decreasing local welfare services and the related costs through the integration of new workers in training while at the same time giving the possibility for the for profit enterprise to create economic value (the production of goods and services), social value (disadvantaged people integration) and institutional value (taking on itself a local social need).
  3. The third one concerns Big co-operatives and for profit enterprises involved in the re-use sector of activity or in the re-distribution of goods within the community through the involvement of the non-profit organisations. In this co-ops and enterprises donate products (either food or other things) that cannot be commercialised anymore. These offered goods are distributed for free to socially and economically disadvantaged people and families. Benefits of this action are both social and environmental. The re-use of surplus contributes to waste reduction and to energy saving reducing the wastefulness of water, energy and soil consumption allowing these resources to be used for the production of food. At the same time, this activity produces an economic saving, allowing non-profit organisations and other institutions to assist poor people in other social projects and policies using the money previously required to buy food. From a social point of view, that allows effectively sustaining vulnerable people responding to their needs involving many different social players in community projects.
  4. The final way to create shared value is represented by Corporate Volunteer Programmes. This is where employees dedicate part of their time to community initiatives. Volunteering pathways are planned together with local non-profit organisations who share goals and operating methods. Corporate volunteering is beneficial at a personal (for each employee), business, and community level. The community and the Third sector can benefit from the stable and structured commitment of new volunteers aimed at reducing local issues by their direct involvement in associations and related projects. Moreover, the collaboration between citizens (employees), enterprises and Third sector will improve social cohesion and community awareness. From the enterprise perspective, these initiatives allow improving corporate reputations and consequently brings a positive economic return. Volunteering experiences also represents training opportunities to empower cross-curricular skills of employees, team building, and employees’ motivation. Indeed, employees have the opportunity to make an effort in sustaining the community improving both their self-confidence and company environment in terms of relationships, team building and business values acceptance.

The full report  can be found here. At the moment the report is in Italian but there are plans to translate it into English.

How Customer-driven public service development functions in Finland

One of our partners in Finland has been exploring how customer driven public service development take place in Finland. This is an area that is growing across Europe as the way that public services are managed and developed changes.   Below is  a short synopsis from  Tuula’s work where she raises questions about  the importance of political involvement. The thesis was published in 2015 and there is a  link to the full thesis at the end of the blog post.

Tuula Jäppinen (1)Customer-driven public service development needs support from political decision-making and change management in Finland

Customer-driven development — even if underpinned by a national or a regional strategy —cannot alone drive changes unless the political decision-making process supports the implementation of service renewal.

“Citizens are increasingly more often included in the discovery phase and the generation of ideas” notes Tuula Jäppinen, an innovation adviser at the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

She goes on to say  that “Citizen-driven development is a common practice in Finnish municipalities, and both the young and the old are eager to participate. Service design as a method makes their conscious and latent needs visible to developers, and new ideas flourish” 

Jäppinen found that  Citizens are eager to participate even in the actual co-production of services, volunteering to help their neighbours and relatives by offering transport, clearing snow, and assisting in shopping. The current public service system does not, however, support such initiative. The development of new service concepts, including the last two phases reality check and implementation, needs to be more closely linked to the decision-making process, .

These findings are from a local service development project, implemented in the towns of Oulu and Kajaani, and in the Kainuu region over the period 2013–2014. This project was carried out as a service design process and was managed by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

Further information:

Tuula Jäppinen, Innovation Adviser, D.Sc. (Admin.), Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities

The full findings can be found here:

Community Reporter’s contribute to Big Lottery consultation

Over 120 stories were collected by reporters which contributed to the Your voice / Our vision consultation held by the Big Lottery. These stories supported the development of the new strategic framework. Thanks to the reporters for their contribution. You can see the film here.

Institute of Community Reporters to train 100 Community Reporters in 10 countries in Europe

People’s Voice Media Institute of Community Reporters will be training 100 Community Reporters across 10 countries to capture the stories of people’s experience of social investment and social innovation. The reporters will join the European Network of Community Reporters.

The Innovative Social Investment: Strengthening communities in Europe (InnoSI) project is a consortium led by the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit based at Manchester Metropolitan University. They are joined by nine other universities from across Europe and a group of impact partners led by the Euclid Network.

The consortium is embarking on a major research and innovation project looking at how innovative social investment policies can strengthen communities in Europe. The project, funded by the European Commission and lasting 30 months, asks important questions about how European welfare systems designed to protect against twentieth century social and economic risks need to change in the twenty first century.

The project director, Professor Chris Fox, stressed that this is not a traditional research project:

Understanding the experiences of people across Europe who are on the receiving end of social policies is key to our project. That’s why we will be working with People’s Voice Media recruiting 100 community reporters from across Europe and training them so that they can report the experiences of their communities.

The InnoSI project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.