Cecilia Lohasz is Alumni of the international program ViabilityNet 3.0. Since graduating in geography, Cecilia has worked for an environmental NGO addressing energy policy in Hungary. “Energy policy can often be very abstract. I felt I wanted to do something in my free time that reflects issues that are important for me like climate change, sustainable living and community life and I wanted to see concrete changes in the city,” says Cecilia. Seven years ago, she and a group of friends founded an association called Valyo, the city and the river, which aims to transform the Danube embankment in Budapest into a livelier public space.Read More
ViabilityNet 3.0 is a program supporting community leaders in Central and Eastern Europe. The year-long program includes four meetings, four study visits. We also provide participants with community project grants and mentoring to strengthen their efforts and make their projects sustainable.
What is happening in our participants’ communities in different parts of Europe?
ViabilityNet program’s third meeting was held in the beautiful mountains of Fagaras and focused on assets and impacts. Gradually, through the homework tasks, participants are now almost finished with their research on the resilience of their communities. Under the heading RESOURCE ROBUSTNESS, they described the resources in their communities and the quantity and quality of those resources. They also looked at the quality of the learning process and the innovativeness and the connectedness in their communities, which is called ADAPTIVE CAPACITY.
In many European countries, you can find organizations not unlike Via Foundation that are supporting local communities. In 2017, we set out to form a “CEE network” to forge connections with these likeminded organizations.
The social issues we are facing today go beyond national borders and it is clear that all European countries, and the organizations within them, are dealing with similar problems: integration of minorities and refugees, societies divided between urban liberals and rural conservatives and threats to fragile East European democracies, to name some of the most pressing.
We have opened a call for another round of ViabilityNet 3.0, through which we support people who are engaged in communities in Central and Eastern Europe – and their ideas. If you are considering filling out an application but you’re still unsure whether ViabilityNet is a good fit for you, these thoughts from Zuzana Šrůmová, a participant of this year’s program, may help you decide.
A year ago a friend of mine said to me: “Zuzko, I really think that you should apply to this program. What you are doing and what you want to do in the future are exactly what this program is all about. I was one of the participants in the last round and it was really great.”
The house of ideas, Mokrinhouse, located in the tiny village of Mokrin in north Serbia, hosted the second meeting of our ViabilityNet 3.0 program.
Mokrin’s past development is typical of rural villages in Central and Eastern Europe. It was lively in the early 20th century, particularly because the Orient Express had a stop here to resupply water to the train’s steam engine, which enabled people to trade between Istanbul and Paris. And then at the end of the 20th century, Mokrin suffered a drastic decline in population.
In the ViabilityNet 3.0 program we are training 14 community leaders from the Central and Eastern European region to support them in the development of more resilient communities. The participants have their own community projects, which you can see here in more detail , and have the chance to participate in four meetings to learn theory and new skills and exchange ideas during the year-long process. The first meeting took place in August 2017 in Slovakia, where we started to become familiar with the concept of resilience.