Europe’s citizens need a future-proof set of civic competences to manage conflicts, cope with complexity and uncertainty, and comprehend the disruptions to democracy. Civic education has an important role in identifying and enhancing those competences, while civic educators need opportunities to grow, learn and exchange. Above all, civic education in Europe needs to rise to the challenges and expectations the world is posing.

Vision
We envision a future where every European citizen is equipped with the tools and knowledge to actively participate in and fortify democracy. 

Mission
THE CIVICS is committed to empowering citizens and civic educators across Europe. By addressing critical challenges like threats to democracy, climate change impacts, growing polarisation, and divides, we aim to bolster democratic competences, self-efficacy, and resilience. Through understanding diverse civic education realities and cultivating spaces for learning and dialogue, we strive to inspire a continuously evolving, inclusive, and proactive European community.

We do so by

      • Curating spaces for collaborative learning and exchange among citizens, educators, and experts.
      • Assessing the state of civic education, initiating mapping and research to grasp the similarities and differences at both the national and pan-European levels.
      • Forging networking with key players and championing advocacy for policies that drive democratic involvement.
      • Soliciting ideas from all corners of Europe, collaboratively envisioning our path forward towards a more democratic and resilient future on the continent.
      • Piloting, innovation and scaling initiatives that equip citizens to address multifaceted challenges.

Commitment to our values
THE CIVICS is a pan-European NGO with hubs in Bonn, Sofia, and Zagreb. We pride ourselves on a multicultural team ethos, valuing every member irrespective of age, gender, or background. We’re committed to self-reflection, especially regarding equality and sustainability. Our projects prioritise environmental responsibility, aiming for climate neutrality. Through civic education, we address societal conflicts and controversies, emphasising our role in building a more inclusive and democratic society.

We uphold the principles of good governance and accountability within our organisation. We recognise that all our activities demand transparency, ethical conduct, and responsible stewardship of resources. By consistently adhering to these principles, we strive to set an example for the very democratic competences we seek to nurture, ensuring our organisation remains responsive, effective, and trustworthy in the pursuit of our goals.

Code of conduct

Code of ethics

We require the following behaviour from all team members, partners and participants in events organised by THE CIVICS:

Supportive environment We all share responsibility for maintaining a respectful and safe community.
Respect others’ wishes Treat others as they wish to be treated. If you’re unsure, ask.
Use correct pronouns Respect chosen names, pronouns, and genders.
Respect personal space Be considerate of others’ personal space and possessions.
Assume goodwill Act with mutual respect and goodwill. Address misunderstandings and apologise for any harm caused.
No harassment Any harassment, whether physical or verbal, based on characteristics such as sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, race, religion, or class is unacceptable.
Consent Once someone expresses disinterest in further interaction, respect their choice.
No bullying or threats Bullying, intimidation, and threatening communication, either verbally or in writing, is unacceptable.
Leadership responsibility The senior leadership team of THE CIVICS Innovation Hub ensures adherence to the Code of ethics.

Consequences of violation
We encourage everyone to report violations of the Code of ethics. In cases of violations, corrective actions will be taken, which may include disciplinary measures or exclusion from events organised by THE CIVICS.

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub upholds these principles to ensure a welcoming, safe and respectful environment for all team members, partners and participants in our activities.

Any bullying and harassment, whether physical or verbal, is strictly prohibited. If any harassment issues, including sexual harassment, are reported, they will be addressed with utmost seriousness and sensitivity.

If you feel harassed, encounter discriminatory behaviour, or have other concerns, please report them through the complaint process detailed below.

How to report violations
Complaints will be treated with respect, investigated promptly, and resolved transparently. We ensure confidentiality, objectivity, and fairness in the process.

Please address any complaints to complaints@thecivics.eu no later than within a month of the relevant incident.

Conflict of interest

Our organisation is firmly committed to impartial decision-making and ensuring the highest standards of transparency and integrity in all our activities. To uphold these principles, we have established the following Conflict of interest policy:

In all matters concerning THE CIVICS, THE CIVICS and all third parties must avoid both actual conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety. 

  1. Managing directors and employees of THE CIVICS must disclose to their supervisor or to THE CIVICS any interest that they may have in any grant, financial support or other transaction, or in any grant applicant or recipient, considered by THE CIVICS and should not participate in decision-making with respect to that transaction. 
  2. Managing directors and employees of THE CIVICS shall not participate in any decision-making of THE CIVICS with respect to any grant, financial support or other transaction with any person, donee, grant applicant or recipient or business entity with whom the managing director or employee is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment. 
  3. Grant applicants to THE CIVICS shall be required to disclose to THE CIVICS any relationships with THE CIVICS and its affiliates, including managing directors or employees of THE CIVICS. The employees of THE CIVICS shall ensure that the grant application form requires such disclosure. 

Safeguarding of vulnerable groups

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub is committed to maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability, acting in accordance with the core values and guiding principles of THE CIVICS, and promoting these standards and principles. 

‘Safeguarding’ in general terms means protecting people from harm and providing the possibility to live in a safe environment without abuse. The aim is to minimise any negative impact of our actions on the people we try to help, including our team and other people working in the sector. 

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub has very limited direct contact with vulnerable groups of people (adults and children) in the course of its work. 

This document sets out the rules and standards that THE CIVICS will follow in relation to these groups, where necessary. 

Team attitude:
THE CIVICS Innovation Hub team will treat each other and those who work with us with respect and attention, including in terms of origin, gender, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, etc. We will communicate and consult with each other openly and in a way that helps each of us to fulfil our duties and responsibilities accurately and effectively. 

Vulnerable groups (adults and children)
We recognise that all people have the same right to protection from harm, regardless of their gender, culture, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, or ability. 

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub recognises that most often an adult considered vulnerable is unable to fully exercise their rights due to ill physical or mental health, poverty, or is affected by a natural or man-made disaster. 

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub has very limited direct contact with vulnerable adults and children. However, when such contact takes place, the well-being of vulnerable individuals will be paramount to everything we do. 

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub works in alignment with the rights of the child set out in the UN Convention and European legislation.  

All team members, volunteers and trainees who are in a professional relationship with THE CIVICS Innovation Hub and who come into contact with vulnerable groups (adults and children) will be aware of the policy and will help clarify facts and circumstances where necessary. 

All employees of THE CIVICS have a responsibility to react when a person from a vulnerable group is placed at risk as a result of our own actions or those of third parties linked to THE CIVICS Innovation Hub. 

Environment and sustainability

At THE CIVICS Innovation Hub, we are dedicated to lessening our environmental impact and continually enhancing our sustainability practices as an integral part of our long-term strategy. 

We involve all team members in implementing and monitoring this policy to enhance awareness, commitment, and performance. This policy will be reviewed as necessary at team and management  meetings and updated at least once every two years in consultation with all team members and other stakeholders.

In the areas of transportation and travel, we strive to reduce our footprint by offering online events when suitable, choosing event locations with accessible public transportation, encouraging sustainable travel options, and monitoring CO2 emissions linked to travel.

In terms of energy consumption, we aim to reduce energy usage, switch off lights and equipment when not in use, and adjust heating and air conditioning with energy conservation in mind.

We actively evaluate suppliers and their sustainability policies, prioritise environmentally friendly office materials, reduce paper use, and promote digital distribution.

Waste reduction involves reusing materials, reducing waste generation, and sorting waste appropriately. We seek to minimise food waste at events.

Our events and catering practices focus on selecting environmentally responsible venues and caterers, serving vegetarian and vegan food to reduce environmental impact, avoiding single-use packaging, and prioritising sustainable, locally sourced options. We also limit the service of ultra-processed and HFSS food and beverages and avoid products from transnational food corporations with adverse environmental and social effects.

This policy emphasises our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and championing sustainability, both within our organisation and in collaboration with partners and suppliers across our three hubs in Bonn, Sofia and Zagreb.

Monitoring and implementation

The responsible body for the monitoring and implementation of this Code of Conduct is:

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub gGmbH
Anja Ostermann
Bonner Talweg 64
53113 Bonn
E-mail: info@thecivics.eu

In the event of infringements or incidents, the responsible person shall report to the relevant authorities where necessary. 

Data protection policy

Statutes