When we collect fundings for single mothers for Christmas, when we offer our expertise by advicing local business, when we develop our own and each other’s competences, we are practicing Active Citizenship. When we engage ourselves in the world around us, when we listen to our fellow human beings to figure out where the need is, when we use our competences and draw on our networks and societies in finding solutions, we are Active Citizens.
In the beginning of 2013 I introduced myself and Active Citizenship to JCI Denmark with the above-mentioned words. Now, eight months later, I have had time to reflext upon that philosophy on the basis of our practical experiences in the organisation. The result of those thoughts and a vast number of talks with JCI members in Denmark and abroad is not a clear cut cementation of my original thoughts but a deeper and more diffuse approach which I am still working on. In other words, it has become more interesting and at the same time more complicated.
Luckily I am a “jaycee” so I accept the challenge! I am still responsible for the implementation of Active Citizenship in JCI Denmark for another 3-4 months. I have always been of the opinion that the smartest way of taming a philosophical problem was to make it concrete so that is what I will do in a series of posts on this blog over the next week. I will analyse some of the project that we are working on in JCI Denmark and work them over with JCI Active Citizenship Framework. If you are a member of JCI you might recognize the priciples as the tools from the JCI Impact Training.
My purpose with the articles is to discuss how we approach our work in JCI. What is the purpose of the projects that we initiate? Should we aim to do a sustainable positive difference? – is it okay if it is simply a temporary positive difference? Do we want to be visible to the world around us? Do we want to create a sense of team spirit in the local chapter? Do we want to create a surge in our activities in the local chapter?
In my opinion, a chapter project doesn’t necessarily have to abide by the protocol of an Active Citizenship project. However, I do feel that it is important that we actively and honestly decide, project by project, what the purpose of the project is. Our time is precious and it should be used with care and good sense so we get maximum impact from our membership, our work and our network.
Active Citizenship is a philosophical and practical approach to our membership of Junior Chamber International. It is a tool that strengthens our projects and make us more visible in our local comunities. Our chances of making projects that actually make a positive difference will grow, when we analyse the society or the community for whom we want to make a difference and find out what they actually need. Sustainability occurs when we critically investigate the most urgent problems in our surroundings, involve partners and benificiaries and through that proces create a sense of ownership for the project. Not only ownership in the local chapter – but ownership in the local community and with relevant partners.
As a countdown to the Danish National Conference in the weekend October 4.-6. you can read about different projects that are currently occupying the minds of local chapters in JCI Denmark. The articles will be posted in Danish as well on the JCI Denmark news site over the next five weeks. I hope that you will read the articles here or on the Danish website and maybe be inspired to participate in a constructive debate in Denmark about Active Citizenship and our work in JCI now and in the future.
Eva, Active Citizenship Director 2013, JCI Danmark