INTERFACE starts: coaching for fragile communities in Europe
How to face last years economic and demografic challenges help to benefit urban and rural communities in Europe?
How to improve the quality of the life of fragile communities in Europe?
The solution is citizen involvement in an innovation and coaching process to acquire entrepreneurial competences: this is the main aim of INTERFACE project.
The concept of the “Fragile Communities” approach stems from Iceland, where this bottom-approach was applied in various communities affected by depopulation. The main idea is to stimulate and activate the community resources, by launching a grassroots process accompanied by coaches and trainers that allow members of communities to find innovative and entrepreneurial solutions for the betterment of their living environment.
The INTERFACE project will also build on the curriculum and training materials that were developed in the FIERE project. It will go further, however, by developing and implementing a long-term coaching programme for community members and representatives of local authorities. The key principle of coaching is a creative process that inspires beneficiaries to maximize their personal and professional potential. The role of the coach is to ask questions and be passionate about helping people pursue their own solutions, ensuring and emphasizing clients’ ownership and responsibility of his/her ideas and solutions. This approach will be crucial, as the focus of INTERFACE project will be on self-empowerment of fragile communities wanting to define and reach their own goals.
INTERFACE partners from Iceland, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Ireland met in September in Nafpaktos (Greece) to kick-off the project. They discussed in particular the characteristics of the fragile communities they are aiming to work with. While Icelandic and Bulgarian rural communities are suffering mainly from depopulation, other communities such as the ones targeted in Sicily need to come to terms with high unemployment rates, and both emigration of young Sicilians and immigration of people from Sub-Saharan countries.
In the first phase of the project INTERFACE partners will take the final decision on the fragile communities, urban and rural, they will cooperate with. Further, the needs and development opportunities of the selected communities will be studied. The resulting “Competence Gap Analysis” will be the basis for all following project activities and outputs:
- A curriculum for community coaches will be prepared, defining the concrete contents to teach, among which the development of project ideas, identification of funding opportunities and application for grants.
- Pilot training of community coaches and organisation of community workshops: in each community, coaches will be selected and trained. Part of the coaches’ training will be the organisation of workshops with other community members and local authorities’ representatives
Learning platform: the INTERFACE project seeks to foster a European-wide cooperation between all participating community coaches. For this purpose, an interactive platform for inspirational exchange of ideas will be developed.
INTERFACE is co-funded by Erasmus+ programme – KA2, Strategic Partnership in the field of Adult education – aiming at supporting the revival of fragile communities across Europe.
The project partnership holds together 6 organisations:
- Byggdastofnun, Icelandic Regional Development Institute (Iceland, coordinator);
- Aitolia S.A. (Greece);
- Tora Consult Ltd. (Bulgaria);
- Tipperary County Council (Ireland);
- Haskolinn a Bifrost (Iceland);
- CESIE (Italy).
Curious to participate and know more about INTERFACE activities? Write an e-mail to: Dorothea Urban: firstname.lastname@example.org.