Le ’café associatif’ is a moment for citizenship and it takes place in public. It’s a meeting for
local actors to meet and to discuss together about their projects and perspectives for the
future of the local territory, a place to meet and exchange with people. It promotes intergeneration and mixity, citizenship expression, solidarity and popular education
Mathilde Armengaud is a youth worker with great experience on local development projects, youth participation and issues related to culture and territorial resilience. Aside her numerous engagements in youth work and community volunteering projects,
She’s also a Masters student in architecture.
Structure of the process:
A ’café associatif’ is a public place in which we organise theme meetings and debates or activities, regarding the needs and your organisation approach. The place has to be open to everyone and free of entrance. The ’café associatif’ can run different types of activities (games, manual activities, eco-friendly practises seminar…) but the main goal is to give the opportunity to local people to meet and talk.
On the other hand, the ’café associatif’ can show a real democratic state of mind by organising debates, or meetings to engage projects with local actors for the territory.
The most important is that your event has to go regularly (weekly, twice a month…) to create a habit inside the community and a rendez-vous that you can’t miss!
As you have seen, you can enhance two types of ’café associatif’ or decide to go hybrid. Here is some guidance of how it goes.
1) Café associatif: activities and events
To participate at the activities and events, people have to be adherent to the café. They will pay a democratic price for the activity or you can choose to go on ’free-will price’. The idea is to develop a few activities which are intergenerational, and involve local actors into the process.
For example, in your quarter of residence, there’s
an artist and wishes to develop his activities around pedagogy. You can organise a painting session into your café associatif, involving kids, youth and adults into the activity. The main goal is to create the opportunity for local people to meet and exchange, but also to offer lower-class people the opportunity to discover painting.
In the same way, you can also organise cultural events (photography exhibitions, local music concerts…).
Be creative and also look at the resources you have around you!
2) Café associatif: citizenship and democracy
The ’café associatif’ is mainly used to be a tool to promote proactive democracy in rural areas. This is a place where citizens meet regularly (weekly or monthly) to develop their own initiatives, projects and activities on the territory. The café offers a nice place to talk about different topics for the future development of the territory.
They rely on democratic values and nonviolent communication tools. The coffee place is open to everyone and is a tool to express solidarity, citizenship and inclusion.
Written by: Mathilde Armengaud, RESOPA, France