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The Community Champion Network: coming to a case-study region near you!

In all applied research projects, it is important to consider the legacy of the research being conducted. In DUST, this is especially important as we deal with topics that directly impact the livelihoods of communities in our case-study regions, and across Europe. This is why we have kicked off a number of activities that intend to create lasting impact among those involved in transitions to greener industries and cleaner energy production.  


One of the ways we seek to make lasting impact in DUST is through our Community Champion Network (CCN) that connects stakeholders working on the ground in our case-study regions. The network involves NGOs, social clubs, collective groups and practitioners that work with communities in each of our Case Study regions. Over the next year, we will constructively build the CCN by identifying suitable stakeholders through our regional connections. The Champions will then be able to join activities held over the course of the next two years, that are designed to create value for them. This means access to workshops, events and courses in the DUST Academy, that seek to strengthen activities where communities are represented in sustainability transitions, and access to our Regional Future Literacy Labs (RFLLs), where imaginations of the future are created with the least-engaged communities, to influence regional policies for just sustainability transitions. 


By creating spaces to share insights and learnings between Champions, the CCN seeks to strengthen the capacities of those working to ensure equal representation in sustainability transitions. This also allows for the results of the project to contribute to the ongoing activities of those involved in the network, turning our outputs into actions. Through the CCN we can connect organisations and communities in our case-study regions, to bring their perspectives closer to decision making. How exactly do we do that? Read on to find out! 


Visibility and Promotion of Champions 

We use our communication channels and connections to stakeholders to promote the activities of Champions and increase their visibility and recognition. We also tell stories based on their interactions with the least-engaged communities in case-study regions, to link our project to the experiences of those impacted by sustainability transitions. 


Networking between Champions 

By creating digital spaces where Champions can communicate to share their perspectives, experiences and learnings, we help to facilitate connections between stakeholders and regions. Through these spaces we encourage Champions to form new collaborations and projects. Networking of this type helps for Champions to identify new working avenues, opportunities and funding sources. 


Peer-to-peer learning activities 

We organise a number of workshops and events for Champions that focus on sharing the expertise of those involved in the network. Here connections are also made to decision makers and outspoken individuals in the case study regions, to give Champions the opportunities to make their voices heard at a policy level. These moments are vital for us, to ensure that we orient our research and experiments to the position and needs of stakeholders in the case-study regions. 


Capacity building workshops 

Building capacities in our case-study regions is a huge part of what the CCN seeks to do. Champions will have access to our Regional Future Literacy Labs (RFLLs) where design-based activities are conducted to create images of the future with community members, that express the perspectives of the least-engaged communities for just sustainability transitions. In the DUST Academy, Champions will also have access to several learning resources; workshops, events, courses, and literature that focus on lessons learnt, good practice and transferability within and across countries.  


In the last few months, we have started to build the CCN in our case-study regions and are open to applications, recommendations and comments on the network. Have something to share with us? Head over to our contact form here: https://www.dustproject.eu/contact  

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