What we do
The Eigen Kracht Centrale is striving for a society based on participation and mutual self reliance of citizens, where citizens remain in charge of their own life, especially when dealing with organizations and government bodies.
It is important, in the Eigen Kracht Centrale vision, that:
- Everyone is part of society and everyone can participate.
- Everyone has a say and remains in charge of his or her own life.
- Everyone gets support from their own social network: family, friends, neighbors, etc.
Especially when problems arise that might lead to involvement of various (social care) institutions.
To implement this vision in daily life, the Eigen Kracht Centrale has introduced Family Group Conferencing, developed in New Zealand: a decision making process for citizens, resulting in a plan made by their own people.
In the Netherlands, a Family Group Conference (FGC) is called an Eigen Kracht-conference. This translation emphasizes the essence of this work method: using the own strength and resources of people to make a plan and make decisions for the future and thus keep the directorship of their lives in their own hands.
The underlying idea is very simple. If you have problems in your life that cannot be easily solved, you ask your social network to think things over with you. Everyone has a social network – large or small, close or less close – regardless of what happened in the past. Most people solve their problems or concerns this way. But when people have become isolated and think that no one cares about them anymore, or when they are too ashamed to turn to their own people, an Eigen Kracht-conference may be the answer. An independent coordinator will help them to organize an Eigen Kracht-conference.
Eigen Kracht-conferencing offers a very basic approach to citizenship. Actually, it is about improving cooperation, between people in their daily life and the social care system. Keynotes here are that citizens know they are supported by their own people, become stronger, make less demands on State provisions, regain a place in society and take on more responsibilities. In short, it is about strengthening the civil society.
Although Eigen Kracht-conferencing is simplicity itself, introducing it is not easy at all, because it is adverse to the interest of established institutions. Eigen Kracht-conferencing is not a new ‘trick’ that can be added to what social care has to offer, it is a challenge, a change in paradigm: “People who, at first, were regarded as the problem, prove to be the start of the solution” (Slot, 2008). The Eigen Kracht-conference reverses the usual work method and power balance in social care.
The Eigen Kracht Centrale mission is to promote its vision and to keep developing Eigen Kracht-conferences by:
- Convincing society of the right of citizens to direct their own lives
- Recruiting, educating and coaching Eigen Kracht-coordinators
- Promoting the deployment of Eigen Kracht-conferences
- Monitoring the quality of Eigen Kracht-conferences
- Finding new areas in which citizens can use their own strength
- Creating conditions for regional and nationwide implementation
- Initiating research and relevant data acquisition
- Developing and innovating direction of demands