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Aiming for a new generation of active, conscious and confident citizens

Makers of the future. Active citizenship practices to engage young people in models of an inclusive and sustainable economy

A future to trust

We are in a moment of deep crisis, not only economical but also environmental and social, and a general feeling of distrust is accompanied by a loss of values. Moreover, global wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, creating a deep feeling of inequality. Italy is obviously not excluded from this phenomenon: 1 in 4 people are close to the poverty threshold and risk social exclusion. Social tensions are on the rise and immigration makes them even more extreme. However, an alternative, sustainable and inclusive development model is still possible: for this reason we want to reach out to young people, aiming to give hope through solutions, practices and positive experiences. This initiative has been made possible by the support of the Italian Agency for International Development and Cooperation and by a network of thirteen partners, who already use their own skills and experiences to carry out models of economy and sustainability in the local area.

We intend to shape a new generation of citizens, conscious and keen to commit personally in order to build a more equal and sustainable future, without letting fear, rejection and disillusion take over. Alternative economic processes do exist, it is all about starting to talk about them and giving them value. And then finally to get stuck in, because all of us can play an important role in promoting change. 
We do it through different initiatives and tools, starting from educational paths for 2,000 students and 250 teachers in 11 Italian cities, North to South, and training courses for future communication specialists and journalists on how to communicate in an effective way on sustainable development.
Students, businesses and local associations, supported by the project staff, join forces to deliver promotional events on sustainable economy in seven cities. These experiences of co-project management, devised to enhance the skills of all the participants involved, will merge into a multimedia digital document. By means of a digital campaign run together with the business newspaper Sole 24 Ore, we will describe 50 experiences of social innovation, success stories of sustainable female entrepreneurship coming from Italy and countries all over the world. Twelve of these stories of change will be collected in an e-book and presented to the citizens during a public event.

Within this context, inclusion is a crucial topic for us, above all during such a time when intense social tensions trigger discriminatory processes and intolerance: according to the European Security Observatory, 38% of young people between 18 to 29 years old consider immigrants a threat. In order to foster social integration, we promote the exchange and knowledge of success stories of inclusive economy through workshops for young Italians, migrants and asylum seekers, a call for projects of migrants associations who want to launch a business (three among these proposals will be supported in the phase of concept definition) and exchange panels to raise successful alternative entrepreneurial experiences, that will then be selected and collected in one publication.

The stories that the project intends to put in the spotlight are a great resource, since they demonstrate how fairness and sustainability can represent a concrete answer to the social crisis that we are now going through. Our challenge is to show that a model of inclusive development is really possible and encourage citizens to take an active part in this process. Only through awareness and conscious action can solutions be found for positive change, both as ambitious as necessary in this complex society in which we live. 
The project is promoted in partnership with Sole 24 Ore, C.I.E.S Onlus, Equo Garantito, Fondazione Progetto Arca, Casa delle AgriCulture, Ingegneria Senza Frontiere, Associazione Sunugal, Comune di Varese, Comune di Andrano, Università dell’Insubria, Cooperativa E’ Nostra, Leroy Merlin Italia.


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