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INTERFACE: Coaching for fragile communities

INTERFACE: Coaching for fragile communities

 

How can we support urban and rural communities in Europe facing economic and demographic challenges? What can such fragile communities do themselves to improve their quality of life? The solution of the Erasmus+ project INTERFACE is to strengthen citizen involvement through a coaching process that enables communities to find innovative and entrepreneurial responses to their specific needs.

 

In fact, “INTERFACE” stands for: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Fragile Communities in Europe”. 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 with participatory workshops, accompanied by coaches and trainers.

Community meeting in Iceland

Community meeting in Iceland

Why community coaching?

The INTERFACE project will also build on the curriculum and training materials on innovative entrepreneurship for regional organisations developed in the FIERE project. It will go further, however, by designing 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 citizens’ ownership and responsibility of their ideas and solutions. This approach will be crucial, as the focus of INTERFACE project will be on self-empowerment of fragile communities that are keen to define and achieve their own goals.

 

What will be the main activities?

The INTERFACE project is being launched by organisations from Iceland, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland and Italy. The partnership will work together on the following outputs:

 

  • Competence Gap Analysis: this report will map the state of the art and compare the need requirements among and within partner countries, existing support and demographics of selected fragile communities, as well as their ideas and foresights for future development.
  • Curriculum for community coaches: will define the concrete contents to teach to future community coaches, including the development of project ideas, identification of funding opportunities and applying for grants.
  • Pilot training of community coaches and organisation of community workshops: in each selected 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 from Iceland, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland and Italy. For this purpose, an interactive platform for inspirational exchange of ideas will be developed.
INTERFACE Partners at Kick-off Meeting in Greece

INTERFACE Partners at Kick-off Meeting in Greece

 

What has been done so far?

INTERFACE partners met in September 2017 in Nafpaktos (Greece) to kick-off the project. During the meeting, they discussed in particular the characteristics of the fragile communities they are aiming to work with.

Currently, the partnership is analysing the demographic, social and economic conditions, existing competences of members and development opportunities in the pre-selected fragile communities. Based on this, each partner will select 3 to 5 urban/rural communities to cooperate with. The resulting “Competence Gap Analysis” will also be the basis for all following project activities and outputs.

 

What next?

In March, INTERFACE partners will meet in Ireland for their second partner meeting to discuss the preliminary results of the Competence Gap Analysis. The Final Results will be presented soon in Local Info Days which will be organised by all partners in their countries.

Another focus of the meeting will be the elaboration of the community coach curriculum and its contents, which is planned to be piloted in the second half of 2018.

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Contact the responsible persons of the INTERFACE partner organisations:

 
 
byggdastofnun

Byggdastofnun, Icelandic Regional Development Institute (Iceland, coordinator):

Kristján Þ. Halldórsson, kristjan@byggdastofnun.is

www.byggdastofnun.is

Aitoliki

Aitolia S.A. (Greece):
Christina Panagiotidis, cpanagiotidi@aitoliki.gr

´╗┐www.aitoliki.gr

 
Tora

Tora Consult Ltd. (Bulgaria):
Todor Todorov, tora.consult@gmail.com

www.toraconsult.com

 
Tipperary
 

Tipperary County Council (Ireland):
Michael Moroney, michael.moroney@tipperarycoco.ie
Angela Sheehan, angela.sheehan@tipperarycoco.ie

www.tipperarycoco.ie

Brifroest University

Haskolinn a Bifrost (Iceland):
Kari Joensen, kari@bifrost.is

www.bifrost.is

 
CESIE

CESIE (Italy):
Dorothea Urban, dorothea.urban@cesie.org

www.cesie.org

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.

 
erasmus plus

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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