European Community Organizing Network (ECON)

Mission and Guiding Values of ECON

  • The mission of ECON is to promote, support, and expand community organizing in Europe.
  • ECON is guided by the values of justice, compassion, democratic participation, and appreciation for ethnic, racial, and spiritual diversity.  It promotes community organizing in a variety of forms.

Community Organizing

Community organizing is a democratically-governed long-term process by which people are brought together to act in their common self-interest to identify community problems and solutions, and to take action by engaging existing power structures to make those solutions a reality.

4 steps of community organizing process:

  • Systematically listening to residents and citizens in order to select and prioritize problems and visions
  • Identifying potential solutions, and the people and institutions that can make those solutions possible
  • Take action to solve problems by engaging those people and institutions identified through negotiation, using confrontation and pressure when necessary
  • Build large, sustainable, and democratic groups capable of addressing numerous problems, needs, and wishes in the community

ECON Members, National Representatives, and Coordinating Team

  • Bosnia: Tuzla Community Foundation – Jasmina Mustacevic
  • Germany: Forum Community Organizing – Sven Gramstadt
  • Hungary: Dorcas Aid – Barnabas Balogh
  • Moldova: Association of Citizens with Initiative, Contact Cahul – Sofia Ursul
  • Poland: Bona Fides – Grzegorz Wojkowski
  • Romania:  Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe),
    Romanian Association for Counseling and Support – Nicoleta Chirita
  • Slovakia:  Center for Community Organizing – Milan Kajo Zboril
  • Sweden:  St. Johannes Parish Norrkoping – Maria Bard
  • Ukraine:  Opora L’viv – Iryna Shvets

ECON Coordinating Team

Nicoleta Chirita, Paul Cromwell, Chuck Hirt, Grzegorz Wojkowski, Milan Kajo Zboril

ECON also works with organizations in Bulgaria, Croatia, and France


ECON was established in January, 2008 following three European-wide, four-day community organizing trainings held at the Le Pont Center in Paris.

Partial List of Activities

  • Four-Day Annual Meeting and Training (2010 Debrecen, Hungary; 2011 Szczecin, Poland)
  • USA Community Organizer Trainer and Consultant Visits in cooperation with the Center for Community Change (2009 Don Elmer in Ukraine and Germany; 2010 & 2011 Dave Beckwith in Poland and Slovakia;  2010 Ed Shurna in Romania; 2011 Joe Szakos in Hungary; 2011 James Mumm in Bosnia, Moldova, and Romania; 2011 Cris Doby and Margie Fine in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia)
  • Exchange Visits 2009-2012 supported by EU Grundtvig Program (eight visits and three common trainings/meetings involving organizations from Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania)
  • Youth Trainings 2009 and 2010 supported by EU Youth in Action Program
  • Professional Exchange Program 2012-2013 supported by US State Department (28 Europeans to USA for five weeks and 17 Americans to Europe for three weeks)
  • Assisting local organizations with training, consulting, and fundraising; ECON website (new website currently under construction); ECON Facebook page; best practices collection; and training materials translated into numerous languages.

For More Information

  • Reverend Paul Cromwell: ECON, Forum Community Organizing, PaulAllanCromwell [at]
  • Milan (Kajo) Zboril: ECON, Slovak Center for Community Organizing, Kajo [at]
  • Nicolete Chirita, ECON, Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe), Nicoleta [at]
  • Chuck Hirt: ECON, Slovak Center for Community Organizing, Chuck [at]
  • European Community Organizing Network

ECOS Training Programm

Einige der Netzwerkpartner_innen haben die European Community Organizing School (ECOS) initiiert.
Bericht über das 2nd partner meeting in Dresden, Germany.

ECON Fundraising Workshop

ECON Fundraising Workshop from ViraFilms on Vimeo.

How to organize – a snapshot of a community organizing training