Active Citizens don't wait around for change to happen...

A young woman sits in front of a group of women holding up a piece of paper. A green filter is applied to the image.

Active Citizen Ana Maria Jessie Serna, working with women from the indigenous Yanakona reservation of Caquiona, Colombia. Image © Pablo Cuellar Bedoya

Active Citizen Ana Maria Jessie Serna, working with women from the indigenous Yanakona reservation of Caquiona, Colombia. Image © Pablo Cuellar Bedoya

They drive the change themselves.

Because change can happen through us, and not just to us.

Active Citizens are people who feel inspired. They are people who feel motivated and empowered to make a difference. People who have the drive and the know-how to make sure ideas don't just remain ideas.

Through our Active Citizens social leadership training programme, we've encouraged hundreds of thousands of people to take action on the issues they care about most. This leads to them taking on some of the biggest social challenges of the 21st century.

"The beauty of Active Citizens is that you realise anything is possible."
Active Citizen, United Kingdom

Here's how we break down Active Citizens and explain how our training programme leads to community-led social development.

From ideas to action...

Anyone can be an Active Citizen.

Active Citizens connects people, supporting them to develop their skills and knowledge to build fairer and more resilient societies.

The most important thing that Active Citizens have in common is that they seek to build trust within and between communities. And they do this with resourcefulness and imagination.

In Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia, Active Citizens has empowered young artists to work with their communities and find ways to create positive change through arts and culture.

In Bangladesh, where menstruation is a taboo subject, they launched a Safe Period project to raise awareness of menstrual hygiene in schools.

And in Syria, Active Citizens developed a network of over 5000 activists to help strengthen civil society and diaspora created by conflict.

Read more stories about what Active Citizens have been doing around the world.

Image © Jasmine Foundation

A group of young women and men stand surrounded by car tyres that have been painted in bright colours. They are smiling to camera.

We call these social action projects...

We want to show people how their actions at a local level can have lasting effects. And social action projects are an important part of making that happen.

Social action projects are carried out for the good of others. They are principled, well-planned and make use of local and global links.

They bring together people, organisations and networks to improve wellbeing for the wider community and those who might otherwise be marginalised.

They could raise awareness of anything from the rights of people living with disabilities to literacy or politics.

Through Active Citizens, we support people to start thinking about how they can work with a community to launch a social action project of their own.

Or, we help people breathe new life into an existing project they might already be involved with.

A pile of litter and leaves sits in front of a blue wall.

The Trindade neighbourhood in Brazil had become a breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitoes. Image © Zuppa Filmes

The Trindade neighbourhood in Brazil had become a breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitoes. Image © Zuppa Filmes

A woman in jeans and a white t-shirt kneels down to the ground to plant a young seedling. The soil is bright orange and looks freshly turned. A wheelbarrow sits in the background.

With the help of 100+ volunteers, Active Citizens transformed a public wasteland area into a community garden, planting flowers to attract mosquito-killing dragonflies. Image © Zuppa Filmes

With the help of 100+ volunteers, Active Citizens transformed a public wasteland area into a community garden, planting flowers to attract mosquito-killing dragonflies. Image © Zuppa Filmes

77 countries around the world

1163 partners and growing

9405 facilitators trained

286,243 Active Citizens trained

Over 11,272 social action projects launched

Figures correct since 2009 to March 2019.

Figures correct since 2009 to March 2019.

Building "rich, human connections"

In Pakistan, the Take a Child to School project has helped to enrol 295,000 marginalised children (correct as of 2019).

In Pakistan, the Take a Child to School project has helped to enrol 295,000 marginalised children (correct as of 2019).

So, how does it all work?

We couldn't deliver the Active Citizens programme without our PARTNERS.

We recruit our partners from a diverse range of global organisations, from grassroots civil society groups to universities. They have a strong influence in their communities. They are also powerful advocates for social justice.

Our partner organisations are responsible for delivering the programme locally.

To do this, they nominate FACILITATORS.Facilitators are individuals who have experience connecting and inspiring their communities to learn, share and take on social issues together. They act as mentors throughout the programme, helping to start and guide conversations where they are needed most.

Once a facilitator has been chosen, they attend our Active Citizens training.

After their training, they can then go on to share and cascade their learning with local PARTICIPANTS. We call our participants Active Citizens. Facilitators guide participants on how to be leaders and change-makers in their communities.

Using their new skills and knowledge, Active Citizens work in their communities to build trust and take meaningful social action.

"When I joined the workshop, I thought I would have nothing to give. By the last day, I discovered I have buried skills and how I can be of great value to help others and change their lives positively."

Image © Al Ethar Humanitarian Foundation

The learning journey

We know that Active Citizens equips people with the skills to mobilise their communities to take action on issues that matter. But, what are these skills? And how do you inspire action?

The Active Citizens learning journey is built around a model we like to call 'the river'.

The river consists of four core modules with a clear set of learning outcomes. It begins by building self-awareness and confidence and ends with flexible ways to plan social action projects.

The river is designed to be inclusive. It can therefore be adapted to suit the needs of different audiences and communities. We use it to help participants explore ideas around themes such as social enterprise, youth, gender and disability.

Let's take a closer look at how it works.

Me

Understanding ourselves, improving self awareness and confidence, and valuing different perspectives

Me and you

Building relationships with others and learning how to use dialogue as a tool for empathy, trust and understanding

We

Improving understanding of communities and identifying interventions to address issues at a local and global level

Social action

Planning a community project and delivering social action using improved social responsibility and leadership skills

Globally connected, locally engaged

Although Active Citizens begin by working locally, we also connect them globally.

We regularly bring Active Citizens together from all corners of the world, both online and face-to-face. By doing this, we're encouraging Active Citizens to share their approaches to help them plan future action.

A large group of people, sitting and standing, smiling and laughing to camera with their arms waving in the air.

Active Citizens from across the globe came together in Bangladesh for an International Study Visit © Christopher Symes

Active Citizens from across the globe came together in Bangladesh for an International Study Visit © Christopher Symes

It's also a way for us to join together people with different beliefs and perspectives to learn from one another.

Through connecting with others, we want Active Citizens to feel inspired to mobilise local, national and even global networks to benefit communities worldwide.

Find out more about Active Citizens

Active Citizens is run by the British Council working with civil society organisations all over the world. The programme began in 2009 and has been delivered in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.


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