Well-being Reconsidered: Empowering Grassroots Organizations: Cross Country Experiences from Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing Initiative

The interconnectedness between social development, well-being, and social justice has so far fallen short of systematic policy prioritizing. In part, this has been due to the lack of a unified approach on how the role of community-based organizations can be strength-ened in bottom-up processes. Scrutinizing this line of thought, the core question we address here is: How can the contribution of grassroots organizations to increasing the quality of life be integrated structurally in efforts to fight against disparities regarding education and social inclusion in the European Union? This inquiry has grown out of a 10-month project entitled Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing, which has brought together not only representatives of civil society from different EU member states, but also local and national authorities, as well as policy-makers engaged at different levels. In various ways, the contents of this volume discuss the challenges and opportunities to reconceptualizing grassroots activism, and the role of community-based organizations in advancing local well-being, in particular through education and social inclusion strategies. Grassroots organizations are defined as “self-organized groups of individuals pursuing common interests through volunteer-based, non-profit organizations, that usually have a low degree of formality but a broader purpose than issue-based self-help groups, community-based organizations or neighborhood associations.” The theoretical and the practical implications involved in acknowledging the crucial work of grassroots organizations are assessed in the refined framework of the capability approach, and the finalrecommendations for policy-makers represent the bridge to transforming these ideas intoconcrete actions.

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