Initiative Cookbook – Homemade Civic Engagement.

How could we equip people with the needed tools and approaches in order to help them to implement their civil initiative and to stimulate their motivation to becoming civically engaged? How to present the broad topic of project management most realistically and in a hands on way? How to describe idea development, planning, stakeholders, PR, fundraising, financial management facilitated in the least technocratic style? These were our questions in the editors’ team around Heike Fahrun, Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, Eliza Skowron and designer Maxim Neroda.

After many trainings and seminars in different countries we wanted to share and elaborate our experiences and to offer them to other people. That is why the idea for a different project management handbook appeared. Since 2015 and thanks to MitOst and Working Between Cultures we were able to make this vision true by publishing this handbook for German, English, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, and Turkish language readers.

The difference to other handbooks should as well appear in the language. We liked the cookbook metaphor, because cooking is addressing sensuousness and stimulating curiosity and creativity. “What we like, could be liked by others”, we thought, “engagement should be passion and curiosity and only when required, it should have the character of management and method!” Both cooking and civil initiatives can be sensuous, targeted, cooperative and a developing process. They are both learning spaces, have social impact and support the individual development of the involved people.

People in the Focus

For us three things were crucial. In many trainings, coachings, or workshops we experienced, how important the authentic motivation and vision  of each participant is for successful engagement. Tools and techniques need to be facilitated around this vision and need to let enough space for it to appear.

Screenshot Initiativen-Kochbuch
Screenshot Initiative Cookbook

Engagement might be learned by everybody

Second, we experiences, that everybody is able to engage in a successful way. Isn’t the basic assuption behind the idea of civil society and active citizenship that engagement is a competence one might learn, cultivate and develop throughout the whole life and together with other citizens? In this sense, we focused on topics we were convinced that they are practice proven and comprehensive for many people.  We believe in what we were writing and rejected the one or other too academic model.

Engagement is methodological knowledge and an ethical attitude

Third, engagement is a balance between methods’ knowledge and individual attitude regarding to values. Engagement – but for what? Therefore, we presented ethical and democratic aspects of civil engagement in an integrated way.  In example, team management and stakeholder management has a technical and an ethical aspect. Who is at the end allowed or enbaled to participate? How serious do we take diversity and special needs in our local environment? too often these questions come to short in PM trainings. And at the end people regret, but more theoretically – we would like to have done it different and more participatory, but sorry, the circumstances, no resources, no money…

The handbook is published in:

Order it for a reduced price of 3 EUR at: Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung