New PHINEO theme report: "Being strong together!"

What saves our democracy? Social cohesion, without compromising! But what is social cohesion, why is it so much under scrutiny and, most importantlyl, what can be done to change it?

The 19th PHINEO theme report "Being strong together" deals with the current debate on social cohesion in our country. It sheds light on possible causes and gives recommendations for strengthening the cohesion of our society.

At the same time, the theme report presents the new PHINEO Seal of Impact projects. The seal is awarded to nonprofit organizations and projects for their demonstrably effective societal engagement.


Theme report: “Being strong together”

Strengthening social cohesion. Projects, quality criteria & funding tips


Social cohesion is the sum of all social ties between the individual members of a society. There are three different types of social bonds:

  • Bonding: Close social relationships between people who have many things in common. These strong and resilient bonds create identity and provide support.
  • Bridging: Bonds between people or groups with different characteristics. These relationships enable dialogue and the exchange of different personal experiences, opinions and skills.
  • Linking: Relationships between the population and superordinate institutions or their representatives (e.g. government, authorities, schools) These links promote participation in democratic processes and give people the opportunity to actively shape their own lives.
  • Social inequality is regarded as one of the greatest threats to social cohesion. It weakens the feeling of togetherness, reduces the trust of people and groups among themselves and prevents the formation of networks.

A good balance between all kinds of social ties is important for a strong cohesion in a society.

The PHINEO theme report explains the reasons for this and how a good balance of all three types of social bonds can be achieved. Among other things, we recommend ...

  • demand-oriented support in regions with structural weakness
  • the promotion of project work AND organizational structures
  • public commitment to the promotion of democracy and diversity, because this sets an example and is an incentive for others.

The commitment of the twenty-five new “Seal of Impact” projects can also be included in the model of Bonding, Bridging and Linking. The theme report presents in brief portraits work and impact of these projects, thus rounding off the recommendations for those who promote social cohesion.

On 10 December 2019, the theme report was presented in Berlin and the projects have been awarded the Seal of Impact.

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