Mat Wright

Active Citizens is a global movement for a better world.

Active Citizens participant


Life cycle

2009 - present




British Council funded


Active Citizens – ‘Globally Connected, Locally Engaged’ - builds trust within and between communities by supporting people to take action on issues they care about. It connects people locally and globally, developing their knowledge and skills to build fairer and more resilient societies.  


There are many social challenges facing both individuals and communities across the globe. Lack of resources, little or no access to education and training, conflict and societal stigmas can all restrict development and progress. Change in the community works best when it is led by the community. Active Citizens is a unique, British Council-designed programme that cultivates trust and understanding between individuals through participation in a transformational learning journey, exploring ideas around themes such as social enterprise, youth, gender and disability. It starts by building self-awareness and confidence, and culminates in the planning and delivery of social action.


At the heart of the programme is the Active Citizens ‘learning journey’, consisting of four core modules with a clear set of inclusive learning outcomes and adapted to suit the needs of different communities. With the help of local delivery partners, we recruit and support individuals from around the world to take social action for the benefit of the communities they live in. Our partners are recruited from a range of global organisations, from grassroots civil society groups to universities, who are then responsible for delivering the programme locally via engaging facilitators. These facilitators attend Active Citizens training, empowering them to share and cascade their learning with participants; providing guidance on how to be leaders and change-makers in the community. 


Since 2009, when we brought participants together for the first Active Citizens social leadership training workshops, hundreds of thousands of people have gained the skills and knowledge to mobilise communities, improve well-being and, ultimately, change lives. Ten years on, Active Citizens has become a global movement driven by a proven learning methodology, a worldwide network of partners and facilitators, and a global community of change makers, all helping to build a more open and inclusive world. 

The programme operates in 78 countries around the world, connecting 1163 partner organisations with 9405 facilitators. These facilitators have trained over 286,243 Active Citizens, resulting in the launch of over 11,272 social action projects.

We regularly bring Active Citizens together from all corners of the world, both online and face-to-face at annual events. By doing this, we're encouraging exchange of ideas and approaches to help them plan future action. The programme continues to be adapted to meet the needs of different individuals and diverse communities. Many of those who participate go on to become leaders, formally as politicians, councillors and enterprise owners, or informally as grassroots community leaders. 

Mutual benefit

Every Active Citizen is part of a global community which is connected through International Study Visits (ISVs), workshops, study visits, partner networking, online resources and social media. Through these activities we share experiences between countries and generate innovative ideas for social action at a local scale. As a highly adaptive programme and builder of cultural relations, we work with new partners and funders to increase reach across the globe, forming international relationships between civil society organisations, social enterprises, arts institutions, local and national governance structures and educational institutions.