Through >>>

practicing active citizenship, emergence, locally driven approaches, holistic learning, process-orientation, empowered facilitation, as well as leading by example, cultivating belonging and genuine partnerships.

Our Principles

Engaged individuals contribute to positive social change at the community level because they have experienced their self-efficacy. We see all engaged parties of our activities as free-thinking individuals, members of their community, and citizens of their country. Thus, enhancing individuals’ skills and capacities to become active citizens ultimately empowers communities and broader society.

I learned the main principles of adult education and creating a safe and positive learning environment, as well as added great techniques to my toolbox. I learned how effective and motivating informal learning and facilitation could be, and I decided to give my students a similar experience. I co-facilitated a training for my peer mentors, which is a new activity and a huge step forward for me!

Emergence refers to the ability to self-organize in a time of change and to draw creative and innovative responses to a disruption in the status quo. Organizational flexibility and adaptability are particularly valuable for working in contexts undergoing constant changes, such as the field of active citizenship.

I was trying to figure out how to live with the uncertainty. Will I go back to Ukraine soon? Should I look for a job in Germany right now? Am I ready for long-term work commitments when I am already busy with a German course, 4 hours per day, taking care of my elderly mom and our publishing company, and making explanatory YouTube videos on German bureaucracy for Ukrainians? It seemed like quite a lot of work already. So, I was happy to enroll in the Fellowship to be able to continue the activities I had in my pre-war life.

We have deep respect and appreciation of the local realities in which we work at all times. We apply a context-sensitive approach to foster active citizenship, which entails locally-led and meaningful capacity development and a space in which people can become active in their own context.

...I read about Vidnova and applied. I thought that it would be an excellent chance for me to just do what I plan to do with some support, not only financial, but also the support that you give us during our meetings and coaching, and all this to feel you belong, that you are not separated from everybody. After reading the description, I understood that the program fits my situation.

Holistic learning acknowledges all aspects of a person’s learning journey. It is interactive, practice-oriented, and uses many different learning activities, allowing participants to experience the effects of their actions immediately and directly. We aim to support program participants’ whole personalities, including intellectual, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and spiritual levels.

I came across horizontal school exactly at the right time because I was about to leave my job and wanted to dive deeper into facilitation. I joined the training quite spontaneously, and I didn’t regret it! It made me realize how much my inner attitude matters as a facilitator. The conversations with practitioners in different fields were the most valuable thing for me. It was also amazing to learn from experienced facilitators who each have their own style. The training has made me more confident and shifted how I approach events – plus all the fun and practical tools I learned. Thank you, horizontal school.

Fostering active citizenship is as much about the outcome as the process. Staying engaged over a long period and involving participants in multiple formats can amplify the impact of active citizenship programs and grow an organization’s sphere of influence. Embracing a process-oriented approach means being ready for continuous adjustments based on our complex world’s changing needs and challenges.

I don’t know how long I will be in the program now. It’s for half a year, and maybe it will be a year. For me, it’s essential to prove my capability to be a manager and a leader on my own, without my usual professional surroundings. I have enough experience, skills, and talent to manage complicated situations independently. So, is this about emancipation? Yeah.

Empowering style of facilitation encourages participants to take an active role in their learning outcomes, allowing them to experience self-efficacy in a safe environment. Empowering facilitators validate the learner’s experiences and act less as teachers and more as hosts who seek to draw out and build upon existing knowledge from the participants.

I was very impressed by our facilitators, and I am sure that in my practice, I will be more practical and think about how to make any element interactive and involve more and more participants. It surprised me to find out how many ways there are to involve participants, and you don't need to use any difficult tools, so you can freely work with people who are not advanced in online trainings and seminars.

Demonstrating a leadership style that promotes a strong feedback culture and communicates openness and a spirit of inclusivity to partners and community members.

Civic Europe was a very pleasant experience – we did not have such a wonderful partnership relationship with a donor since the pre-EU days! They acted more like a partner than a donor. This was felt from the correspondence onward. Everything was smooth and pleasant. For example, coffee with Civic Europe was lovely, insightful, and constructive. This starkly contrasts with EU-funded projects, where there is much less care for numerous aspects of the project, including the beneficiaries, whereas here, great emphasis is put on the beneficiaries. The donor understands and cares.

Cultivating a sense of belonging through mindful practices can help build a strong community. This augments an organization’s impact beyond carrying out projects or initiatives.

We are amazed how Civic Europe managed to make us all feel like a part of a big family that is well supported.

Active citizenship programs become more sustainable when they can influence the broader context in which they operate. This means not only focusing on the individual participants or single projects but understanding them as embedded in a wider community, socio-political, and temporal context.

Toolbox helped our team not only understand the importance of teamwork, civic education, and facilitating social change, but also rethink our work, create an efficient structure, and understand long-term strategy.

Equal partnerships benefit all sides. They value all partners’ knowledge and experience, promote mutual learning, and set positive examples for others.

I am proud that our way of approaching and learning with partners and participants was valued and appreciated so much that many promised to take it as an example for their own doing.

Trust is the key to our work with individuals, partners, teams, and wider networks. With more than 20 years of experience in fostering active citizenship across many countries in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, we have reaffirmed that trust is essential for collaboration, creative thinking, and productivity. Trusting mutual values, beliefs, and a common purpose towards sparking social change is the foundation of all our relationships.

[…] We all felt that the Civic Europe team trusted us to do our job well, which motivated us a great deal.

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