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Cohesion through participation

Dealing with the consequences of outward migration and shrinking populations is now a challenge facing organisations throughout Germany. For local associations and initiatives, this means that there are fewer and fewer volunteers willing to take on honorary positions and to be committed to and stand up for others.

The programme "Cohesion through Participation" (CtP) run by the Federal Ministry of the Interior therefore funds projects for democratic participation and against extremism specifically in rural, structurally weak regions. CtP provides target support for associations and initiatives that are regionally based. The aim is to build up and expand existing structures so that associations can make use of these even after their projects have ended. For example, advisors for preventing extremism are being trained and future-proof methods are being developed to motivate more people to take on honorary offices.

Cohesion through Participation

Main focus
Funding projects for democratic participation and against extremism

Federal Ministry of the Interior

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
Regiestelle/Coordinating Office
"Cohesion through Participation"
Friedrichstraße 50
10117 Berlin

Phone: + 49 (0)30 / 254504-441


Website of the Programme

People on the spot can find out, from working in the projects, that their future lies in their own hands and that they actively can shape this future together. Democracy, the cornerstone of the programme, is to be promoted where it arises: at its base. "Cohesion through Participation" is therefore also a programme aimed at preventing right-wing extremism and combatting extremist, anti-constitutional trends.

In the first programme phase (2010 - 2013), 102 projects in East Germany were supported. East Germany continues to be the main focus of funding in the second programme phase. In addition, however, some tried and tested project concepts are being transferred to selected support structures in the West German federal states and various training options are being offered nation-wide. In the second programme phase (2013-2016), funding in the federal programme is available in the following two programme areas:

  • Programme area 1: Establishment and development of skills to strengthen democratic practice in the field of federation and association work

Associations and federations help make up the framework of civil society in our democracy. Their paid and honorary employees strengthen the power of society to defend itself against extremist tendencies by making people aware of discrimination and anti-democratic tendencies and allow citizens to become involved in their institutions. Accordingly, the focus of Programme area 1 is on training people who are active in the work of associations and federations in making their own institutions structures more democratic and creating more opportunities for internal advisory work, conflict management and participation.

  • Programme area 2: Training and networking concepts for people active in rural communities

In rural, structurally weak regions in particular, structures that promote involvement must be supported and consolidated in the long term in order to be able to offset the consequences of outward migration and demographic change. The federal programme funds the development and implementation of training and networking concepts for those people who exercise political and social responsibilities and functions locally. People working in local authority administration, political office-holders and committed people in civil society and business are thus supported in actively tackling questions and problems arising in their region and developing solutions together.

Successfully trialled accompanying measures are used for networking and for the transfer of results in programme areas 1 and 2: coaching as an advisory service for the sponsored projects; supervision, running specialist and network conferences; developing and implementing a communication concept for the presentation of all the results; online advisory services concerning discrimination in sport; drawing up thematically relevant studies and publications.