An Introduction to the »Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement« - »National Network for Civil Society«
The BBE is a nationwide network linking organizations and associations from the third sector (non-profit organizations) and civil society, from business and work life and federal and community institutions. The cooperation within the network is based on mutual trust and partnership, relying primarily on dialogue, cooperation and practical stimuli for the promotion of commitment and civic involvement. Everyone involved benefits from the cooperation and moves closer to the common goal.
This common goal is the strengthening of civil society and of civic involvement. The key objective is the improvement of the general legal, organizational and institutional conditions for civic involvement. We want to encourage and support concrete projects for actual practice in civil society, the state and business as well as raise and activate political awareness.
The BBE was founded by the National Council of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001) on 5 June 2002. Today, the BBE has more than 260 member organizations sponsoring and supporting millions of committed citizens in Germany.
We want to intensify the sharing of experience at a national, European and international level and make the findings of academics and research on the topic of civic involvement accessible to a broader public.
We promote civic involvement in all social areas and forms (e.g., in social work and health care, sports, cultural activities, environment, education and academics, politics and business). Civic involvement means holding an honorary office, doing volunteer work or participating in self-help projects. People are involved in clubs, associations, political parties, (civic) foundations, networks, citizens’ initiatives or social movements.
Our work focuses on the model of an active civil society in which citizens play a key role in shaping their communities. We want to strengthen a sense of responsibility for oneself, the involvement and the personal development of our citizens, while creating new opportunities to take part in making societal decisions and in shaping society.
Shaping the Civil Society
Achieving these objectives means breaking down bureaucratic barriers and improving the general legal conditions for involved citizens in the sense of a state which enables and activates its citizens. Organizations and institutions of civil society must also open up further to encompass citizens’ activities and contributions. Moreover, it is essential to promote corporate involvement so that the as-sumption of social responsibility by companies acting as good corporate citizens will grow.
Thematic activities of the network are carried out in project groups. They are kept completely open in the sense of unrestricted networking to enable contributions of content and uncomplicated access for participation.
The project groups work on a broad range of topics and concerns. This is where concrete projects and practical examples of promotion of involvement are developed or launched.