Share your story from the lockdown!

As the planet faces the Covid-19 emergency, we are all asked to act responsibly as individuals and as a community. Our societies are going through an unprecedented crisis in Europe in times of peace. The institutions of the European Union and the Member States have taken decisions dictated by the urgency to slow down the spread of the pandemic. We have to change our life to protect ourselves and others. 

Civil society and movements too are adapting to these circumstances. Many organisations were forced to close their centres and stop their activities. Some countries forbid any form of gathering and limited freedom of expression. But many have found creative ways to get re-organised in order to be useful to their communities, to offer social and cultural tools against isolation, to promote policy proposals to face the pandemic with rights and solidarity for all, to support and advocate for the weak and vulnerable, to protest against rights’ violations. Everywhere civic actors are in the front line to witness the precarious situations people suffer from, trying to respond to people’s needs for effective access to rights, to promote the positive public policies and to alert and protest against the negative ones, to react against abuses of power, to put solidarity at the centre of the response to the crisis. Civic space under the lockdown has been seriously narrowed but is still dynamic and alive. 

 This year, the European Civic Forum will illustrate the finding of the Civic Space Watch through the stories of the activists and groups that are at the forefront of the solidarity response amid the COVID-19 crisis. The issue will combine the traditional layout of Activizenship with the analysis emerging from the Civic Space Watch, standing in the crossroad between a magazine and a report from the frontlines. 

See previous issues here.

Are you fighting for fundamental rights?

Are you facing challenges/pressures doing so?

Are you re-organising during the lockdown?

Is your resistance to these challenges/pressures a catalyst factor to engage more citizens in your cause?

Tell us your story!

What’s in?

Selected activists will be invited to a reward ceremony in Brussels in winter 2020, and their stories will be collected in the Activizenship #5 magazine. The case studies of Activizenship #5 will also be at the centre of ECF’s campaigning and advocacy efforts for 2021. The magazine will be disseminated online as well as through local, national and European events and policy discussions, where the activists will be invited to share their stories. The ECF will also rely on the partnership with ARTE TV to reach a wider audience and make the case of the initiatives rewarded. 

Human rights defenders and civic organisations are increasingly under the pressure of democratic backsliding and declining social rights and policies in Europe today (see:Towards an enabling environment for civil society in Europe). While these challenges undermine their space of action, they often galvanise citizens to protect and expand fundamental rights (equality, inclusion, dignity, sustainability and justice) against growing political apathy, consumerism, exclusion and individualisation. Organised civil society and social movements play a crucial role in monitoring, advocating and organizing resistance. And they find increasingly inspiring approaches and strategies to do so.
 
The European Civic Forum observes these trends through the Civic Space Watch, a platform collecting resources on threats to fundamental rights as well as positive initiatives aimed at countering these trends. The platform was launched in early 2018 and has so far gathered over 370 resources from approximately 50 local, national and European organisations in 24 EU countries.
 
This year the European Civic Forum will illustrate the finding of the Civic Space Watch through the stories of the activists and groups that are at the forefront the resistance in the fourth issue of the magazine / report Activizenship #4. Since 2014, the magazine contributes to capturing current trends and transformations affecting civil society environment in Europe and worldwide and connecting ideas and experiences about changing the world from grassroots up. See previous issues here.

Are you fighting for fundamental rights?

Are you facing challenges/pressures doing so?

Is your resistance to these challenges/pressures a catalyst factor to engage more citizens in your cause?

Tell us your story!

What’s in?

Selected activists will be invited to a reward ceremony in Brussels in winter 2019, and their stories will be collected in the Activizenship #4 magazine. The case studies of Activizenship #4 will also be at the centre of ECF’s campaigning and advocacy efforts for 2020. The magazine will be disseminated online as well as through local, national and European events and policy discussions, where the activists will be invited to share their stories. The ECF will also rely on the partnership with ARTE TV to reach a wider audience and make the case of the initiatives rewarded.