Caring Communities

The shortage of care staff and volunteers, a lack of digital support systems and the strong pressure on informal caregivers pose major challenges for communities in the Danube region. Especially in rural areas, they cannot overcome these challenges alone. The Caring Communities project therefore aims to build capacities and interregional cooperation structures in order to bring about a change in home care and community-based services and thus improve the quality of life of people in need of care in the Danube region.


The project is led by the Diakonisches Werk der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden. Various organisations and university institutes from the nine partner countries Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova are involved in developing and testing three different capacity building programmes:

  1. System Innovation Labs (SIL) in Hungary, Serbia and Moldova: participants jointly develop solutions for systemic challenges in the care sector
  2. Accelerators: developed solutions are further elaborated with professional support
  3. Transnational Innovation Programme: Enabling the development of transnational solutions for home care within the nine participating partner countries

The practical work is accompanied by a transnational scientific team. In addition, an empirical research framework is being developed that captures the conditions and opportunities for systemic transformation and thus provides a basis for changing governance structures and policies in the care sector so that innovative solutions can be better disseminated.

Thus, the research team is working on three areas:

  1. formative evaluation, to optimise the ongoing work in the project.
  2. social impact measurement framework as a basis for monitoring the results and their effects.
  3. analysing the state of research on transformative social innovation and adaptation to the situation of care in the Danube region.

The project aims to help overcome inter-institutional conflicts and promote more and novel co-operation between public and private actors in the field of home care and community services. Many European countries are facing similar problems, however, each is trying to solve them on its own. Caring Communities aims to facilitate much-needed transnational cooperation to realise high-quality and accessible services for people in need of care in the Danube region.


January 2024 - June 2026

Partner countries

9 (Bulgaria, Bosnia, Germany, Croatia, Moldova, Austria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary)


Diakonie Baden


Interreg Danube Region Programme

Co-funded by the Bundesprogramm Transnationale Zusammenarbeit

Team CSI

Dr. Georg Mildenberger

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schröer, University of Trier

Tamara Freis

Friederike Schütz

Carsten Eggersglüß

Cathleen Heling