'Trava' ("трава", Russian for 'grass') is a civic education platform based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where we collaborate to figure out how society works and learn how we can self-organize, be independent from state & corporation interests and come up with collective solutions for complex problems and challenges.
the context:

words like 'commons' and 'solidarity' carry baggage from a troubling soviet legacy

co-operative housing and businesses are legal entities

the average income in Russia is €500; in Saint Petersburg it would be €650, but you can live on €550 easily (€200 — room in the center, €2 — lunch)

for comparison, my parents are retirees in a small city, living in their own flat and a 'dacha' house in the countryside: growing 50% of their food, living for €300 per month

in Saint Petersburg we have: foodsharing, anarchist bars & cafes (2), charity shops (4), freemarkets, urban gardens (2), public community flats (>20) and scientists: EU, HSE
our audience:

urban, political, social activists, human rights advocates, researchers, people involved in various social/charity projects or running small lifestyle businesses → exchange, networking, discussions → broadening their social impact, increasing sustainability or expanding/creating more ambitious projects

people who are not yet involved but have a desire for change → lectures, discussions, excursions, courses → achieving greater understanding of particular issues, joining or starting a project
№1: discussions; public talks; workshops in bars, cafes, studios or parks; and excursions drawing attention to social, political, cultural and environmental issues

№2: internal education: civic, grassroots and p2p education – workshops, gatherings, media and developing horizontal power structures

№3: projects and campaigns done internally or initiated with other people

№4: media: videos, longreads, reports, maps

№5: reclaiming the city and bringing the discussions closer to particular context
№1

discussions; public talks; workshops in bars, cafes, studios or parks; and excursions drawing attention to social, political, cultural and environmental issues
4
years
started in May, 2014
50
events monthly
700
participants monthly, not including projects and campaigns
in May:
drug talks (policy, addressing stigma), food talks (production & environment), World Cup talks (fan culture, construction & corruption), sex talks (safe group sex, subcultures), traveling (lifestyle, blogging & photography), 'living together' (public shared flats, commune living), life in a wheelchair, burning out, teenage psychology, creative spaces, LGBT-history, history of the sex trade
№2

internal education: civic, grassroots and p2p education – workshops, gatherings, media and developing horizontal power structures
36
community members

20
active monthly
5
work part-time
1
work full-time (myself)
in May:
monthly gatherings, workshops on event moderation and fundraising, book sharing system, develop of resource sharing and exchange systems, study trips to Berlin (3 members) and Prague (2), generated report "how the idea of p2p education changed everything", сoming soon: social impact measuring
in May:
continued to develop 'Cup for People', a civic campaign connected to the World Cup, launched 4 additional initiatives, developed human rights map & excursion, coordinated all campaigns
№4

media: videos, longreads, reports, maps
127
video lectures and discussions

25300
online audience
2 — 4
longreads monthly
26573
views on the creative spaces map
in May:
created/translated resources related to human rights and drug policy, developed guidelines of ethical promotion for social projects, created 3 videos and 2 reports from excursions
№5

reclaiming the city and bringing the discussions closer to particular context
finances within the last 6 months:

€2000 average income per month (without campaigns)
95% — tickets, donations
5% — sponsorship
in May:
€2300
income, €1350 — sponsorship for human rights map & excursion
€75
technical budget
we never pay for rent or advertising
€1630
stays inside the team
shared proportionally
current questions:

how can we make projects more accessible for everyone: people with particular physical and mental needs, migrants, families with children?

regarding plans to buy a community house with public space and accommodation: how can we fairly manage the space financially with varying sources of income from subsidies, individual contributions, etc? how to develop best practiсes?

measuring civic education and social impact: what are our results and how can we make them more visible?

developing our experience into potentially useful methodologies for others, how share them without imposing our context on others?

(October — December, 2018, Prague)
ask me anything

fb.com/olga.a.polyakova
olga.a.polyakova@gmail.com
polyakovapolyakova@protonmail.com
trava.education
cupforpeople.spb.ru/en