Germany is a diverse immigration country. At the same time, the rejection of diversity and racially discriminatory and marginalizing ideas are increasingly normalized and made more socially acceptable in public discourse. It must be countered everywhere directly and locally! With the action-fund ViRaL, we seek to support people who are committed to opposing these tendencies in their environment with courage and creativity, but who so far lacked the resources to do so. We promote anti-racist projects in urban and rural areas, in Western and Eastern Germany, and contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge and strategies to strengthen the recognition of diversity.
ViRaL combines both a financial grant of €5,000 and an accompanying year-long tailored program to empower the grantees to grow, professionalize and implement their project idea with impact. The pilot phase of ViRaL started in March 2018 and ended in December 2019. For the first edition, we selected 10 projects out of 180 applications. So much was set in motion and initiated by ViRaL on the ground! ViRaL has reached over 250,000 people online. With their local projects, the selected groups and associations, had a reach of approx. 50,000 people at the local level.
"Racism is a category of discrimination that affects people in all places and is experienced at all times. The same must apply to our anti-racism work", says Charlotte Bechert, project assistant at ViRaL. The action-fund ViRaL aims to:
The ViRaL action fund focuses above all on cooperation with smaller civil society actors that have recognized the problem of racist exclusion and discrimination in their immediate surroundings and want to develop concrete solutions for overcoming them. ViRaL attaches a particular importance to the local anchoring of projects, that is, the conception of the problem of racism in its local context and its embedding in and cooperation with local structures. ViRaL seeks to reach out with anti-racist counter-narratives to people who have have not yet dealt with the topic, as well as to provide resources and support to those who are targeted by racism and exclusion.
Within an accompanying year-long tailored program, ViRaL supports grantees by sharing our network and infrastructure and offering specifically tailored support and mentoring. Grantees can gain access to legal, technical and financial advice, anti-racist and diversity consulting or communication trainings. Along with local trainings for the grantees, the program invests in digital learning and knowledge dissemination formats (e.g., webinars, podcasts) to produce content that is accessible to anyone on the web.
Citizens For Europe, with its broad network and reputation in civil society, acts as an intermediary between those who will receive funding and large donors. With its structure, it also enables the promotion of informal groups. In addition, Citizens For Europe mobilizes its expertise and network as a civil society player to help monitor the content and strategy of the projects.
In contrast to subsidies with a broad target group, the ViRaL action fund makes it easier for us to check the impact of the funded projects and the fund itself. The funded projects have clearly defined target groups from their immediate environment and are usually anchored themselves in the communities to be reached.
The documentation of the projects’ progress plays a central role in our funded projects. We promote the projects using video, images and texts on social media. Thus, the parties involved increase their visibility and multiply the enlightenment effect of their work.