• Introduction to PG

    DEFINITION

    Participatory governance focuses on deepening democratic engagement through the participation of citizens in the processes of governance within the state or local community. The idea is that citizens should play more direct roles in public decision-making or at least engage more deeply with political issues. Government officials should also be responsive to this kind of engagement. In practice, participatory governance can supplement the roles of citizens as voters or as watchdogs through more direct forms of involvement.

    VALUES OF PG:

    1. Civic-public partnership – partnership represents the highest form of participation in decision-making and implies sharing responsibilities at every step of the political decision-making process.
    1. Good governance – implies responsibility, transparency and inclusiveness in effective resource management for sustainable community development.
    1. Community building – based on co-production, collaboration and networking among stakeholders in the community, it is of crucial importance for civil society, democracy and civic engagement within local community development initiatives.
    1. Influence/social impact – participatory governance gives an opportunity for influence by decision making and participation  in strategic planning and policy making.
    1. Trust building – this basic value and core of  Social Capital is necessary to build successful communities. It is an essential component for any partnership. Also, entering into partnerships develops trust.

    DIFFERENTIATION FROM THE POLITICAL CONCEPT OF PG AND OTHER USES OF THE TERM

    In a political sense, participation is mostly understood as citizens participation in government decision making. In this case citizens participate in public discussions about policies or plans, give advices or opinions, vote or evaluate some processes. Hence, we talk about deliberative practice (deliberative democracy) which put an emphasis on citizens discussing views and opinions about what the government or local authorities should or should not do.

    In a wider concept of participation, citizens take a more active approach and become partners with decision makers as well as other stakeholders in programs­­­׳ implementation, projects or strategies. It is the collaborative practice that puts an emphasis on citizens working together. The focus is on creating solution that lead to concrete action.

    The first example is primarily based on a top-down principle. Governmental bodies propose plans or public policies and introduce them to public overview or public debate.

    Although second example can be initiated from governmental authorities, in practice it is mostly community driven process. That is a bottom-up  principle where the initiative comes from the community and is carried out by the community themselves.

    INNOVATIVE PRACTICE IN PARTICIPATION:

    • Assets Based Community Development is a methodology for the sustainable development of communities based on their strengths and potentials.
    • Co-production is a practice in the delivery of public services in which citizens are involved in the creation of public policies and services.

    WHO IS FOR PG?

    Participatory governance is for citizens that wish to play a more active decision making role  in society. Yet, it is also desired and demanded for all other stakeholders of a particular project or policy in societies which title themselves as democratic. Local, regional or national governments, NGOs, companies, institutions, development agencies, community centres etc. can benefit from active engagement in decision-making processes and the diverse perspectives of their community members.

    Citizens vs. Residents:

    The difference between citizens and residents (inhabitants) lies in the level of participation in political and social life. Citizens are involved and take an active role in decision making in society, while residents just live in a particular place.

    WHERE PG CAN BE IMPLEMENTED 

    • Right to information
    • Government of Public Spaces (like Third Places)
    • Community Driven Development
    • Participatory budgeting
    • Participatory creation of constitution, strategies or policies…

    There is no aspect of social life where participation in governance can not be implemented: from social justice, human rights, education, health to environment and sustainable development issues.

    WHY CULTIVATING CULTURE OF INVOLVEMENT IS GOOD AND HOW DOES IT HELP TO THE COMMUNITY?

    To sum up, effective and meaningful public involvement is seen as essential to:

    • enable high quality and democratic governance
    • decentralise governmental structure
    • develop better recognition of community assets
    • strengthen civil capacity
    • developing better and more creative ideas and solutions.
    • implementing ideas, programs, and policies faster and more easily.
    • build public confidence and trust in decisions
    • generate a greater understanding of public issues, concerns, priorities and solutions
    • build broader support for programmes and initiatives
    • increase mutual learning through sharing of information, data and experiences
    • ensure that decisions and policies incorporate knowledge and expertise that otherwise might be overlooked
    • reflect a wider range of public concerns and values in decision-making
    • rapidly identify possible controversial aspects of an issue and help bring together different points of view to achieve consensus in a collaborative manner.
    • creating involved citizens instead of demanding customers.
    • building community within a city.

    PG,  POP CULTURE, ART & IT

    Contemporary art, practice from literature, visual arts, conceptual art, music, theatre to film as well as popular culture, have an important role in raising democratic awareness and are used as a tool, not only for expression, but also for direct action. As a meta-language art has a power to articulate different social issues and to arise awareness and motivation. Community art has important role in communities revitalization, building social inclusion and co-creation communities of practice.

    The importance of popular culture lies in its role as a site for democratic practice. It implies that people are well informed by media and that new communication technologies leave space for quick mobilisation in action and vast range of other possibilities in participatory practices.

    At the height of the AIDS crisis, fine art was anything but frivolous. Activists all over the world deftly appropriated works by Michelangelo and Henri Matisse to compel people and governments to listen, learn, and act up. Interestingly, history would show that the relationship went both ways. Today, original protest paraphernalia by pop art icons like Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein are now considered modern masterpieces.

    Links:

    http://culturalorganizing.org/tag/arts-democracy/

    20 stunning art expressions that create public awareness: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/public-awareness-artwork/

    15 Art Projects Created to Rise Awareness for a Cause: http://www.noupe.com/inspiration/showcases/15-beautiful-art-projects-created-to-raise-awareness-for-a-cause-85481.html

  • Tips & Tools

    TIPS

    Wake up, stand up!
    Are you awake and ready?
    Then…
    Open the door…
    And go out.
    Be open,  look around, listen, be attentive.

    1. Where to start? Find assets in you community.

    Community Assets are:

    Local People – their passion, skills, know-how, connections

    Associations – NGOs, unpaid groups of citizens, informal clubs, voluntary orgs.,

    Institutions – government, businesses, agencies, scientific, educational and other institutions

    Physical spaces – meeting places, physical infrastructure and spaces in the community

    Exchange – bartering, mutuality, money, timebanking, favours

    Stories – (cultures and heritage)

    1. Always look on the bright side of life. This means be visionary. Whenever you see some problems or needs, try to find possibilities and solutions. Focus on what is strong not on what is wrong, and makes a change. When we are using our strengths we can tackle what is wrong.
    Weaknesses  Strengths
     (Oh dear!)  (Can do!)
    Problems  Possibilities
    Blame  Shared ownership
    What’s missing  What’s there
    Risks  Opportunities
    Outside-in  Inside-out
    1. Social relationships matter – Make connections. Talk. Participate in events. Give a helping hand. Share. Social connections are value and real power.
    1. Express your oppinion and needs honestly and with justifications. Who else could represent you better then you yourself?
    1. Involve everybody! – Everyone has something to contribute. Do not ignore the potenital of others. All support and contributions are important. Involvement creates connections and builds trust.
    1. “We have what we need if we use what we have”. (Edgar Cahn)

    The power of what we have grows when we act intentionally and collectively to make    connections and form new relationships among and between what we have.

    TOOLS

    WE CAN GAME / free download to explore gifts and capacities with your team/organisation:

    http://inclusionnetwork.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-we-can-game-a-free-download-to-explore-gifts-and-capacities-w

  • Challenges

    WHO CAN HELP?

    Think about what you want to achieve, but in your heart of hearts you know you can’t, however, maybe your community can.

    What might be possible?

    What is likely to happen if you don’t ask?

    FIND SUPPORT

    Think about what you want to change or create in your local community.

    Find others who want the same.

    What can you do together to make a change?

    Who else can help?

    FIND A GROUP

    Make a list of local groups or organisations that are active in the fields you find interesting. Visit them and find possibility for participation.

  • Resources

    COPRODUCTION

    „Co-production in public service: Making government better“

    EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICES:

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