FAQ & Contact

Participation FAQ

PartiCipate is a free one-stop shop that provides public officials, NGOs, and participation experts with methods and tools for participation. You will find everything you need for designing a meaningful participation journey. Start by taking the questionnaire to develop a step-by-step participation strategy!

A participation journey starts with the intention to include citizens in the planning process and ends with a successful project based on meaningful citizen participation and inclusion. PartiCipate supports you on the journey, from designing your participation strategy to finding participatory methods, sharing case studies, and recommending open-source participation platforms.

Yes, PartiCipate is free to use. You can learn more about participation strategies and methods on our website, and you will be able to learn from case studies. If you want further advice, please contact the PartiCipate team. We also recommend open-source participation platforms for digital participation that are free to use.

PartiCipate is currently managed by a team from GIZ, the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. GIZ is a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The main commissioning party of GIZ is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

PartiCipate is for everyone who is interested in starting a participation journey, such as employees and representatives of public institutions, and civil society organisations. Feel free to get in touch with our team if you have any questions!

PartiCipate offers two questionnaires for anyone looking to start a participation journey, which will help you to design your participation strategy and find free and suitable participation tools. We also provide an overview of open-source platforms for digital participation and share news and case studies. Have a look at our toolbox with 35 method cards for citizen participation!

Public participation is the foundation of a democratic, thriving society. Participation means more than just voting in general elections every few years. It means that all members of a society, including marginalised groups, can articulate their interests and get directly involved in shaping political decision-making. It is a way to empower citizens to take active roles in the democratic and socio-economic change of their region. Reforms can only have a long-term impact if they are developed in an inclusive way and supported by the citizens.

Citizen participation aims at giving citizens an opportunity to take part in shaping decisions and at hearing citizens’ opinions. Implementing their opinions and ideas into projects leads to more trust and ownership, as opposed to top-down decision-making. In addition, digital participation in particular is scalable and adaptable, making it open and inclusive. This enables decision-makers to get a variety of perspectives on a specific matter, generating new knowledge, ideas, and solutions.

Participation should be accessible and free of cost for everyone so that all citizens can get actively involved in changes in their communities. Blended participation, a mix of in-person and digital participation, allows you to reach a wider range of citizens. It makes sure that no one is left behind. It reduces cost and efforts of organizing participatory activities, while increasing transparency, accountability, and trust.

We believe that open-source platforms for online participation add value for all stakeholders. Other than in-house IT solutions, open-source platforms are free to use, free to be distributed and to be improved. They are also easy to use and enable a sustainable operating and development models. Open-source software can be reused and scaled indefinitely, thus supporting the “Principles for Digital Development”. This promotes collaboration and sharing, while also allowing adaptation to local contexts.

So far, PartiCipate is cooperating with four different open-source platforms for digital participation: Consul, Adhocray+, CitizenOS and Ushahidi. All of these are ready to support your participation journey. To see their different offers at one glance, we have analysed them in a table overview.

We are always keen to expand our cooperation network, so feel free to reach out to us if you know other interesting open Source platforms.

Citizen participation offers a great number of advantages, but there are also challenges. One of them is that citizens might not take part because of privacy concerns. Open-source platforms have different ways of addressing this, all of our cooperation partners do conform for instance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please also consider a stronger blended participation approach to make sure people feel safe to raise their voices and opinions.

Get in Touch

Are you interested in getting further advice on your participation journey?

Get in touch with the PartiCipate team:

Email: participate@giz.de

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