Why citizen participation

Why citizen participation matters

Democracy thrives on public participation – this is the foundation of our society. But participation means more than just voting in general elections every few years. It means that all members of a society, including marginalized 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. For this, the processes need to be transparent and comprehensible.

 

Five benefits of digital citizen participation

Digital transformation is not only changing relationships between people, but also between governments and societies. Through innovative technologies a wider range of citizens can be reached, all while requiring less effort. They allow for collaborative and inclusive processes to work on specific issues or solutions. This is relevant for various actors: Public institutions can engage more citizens in different ways on newly planned projects or policies; and civil society organizations can interact with their target groups and mobilize for joint advocacy more efficiently.

By transforming your participation processes to the digital sphere you get…

…a greater reach.

You can engage citizens irrespectively of their location and hear the opinions of people that would normally not attend face-to-face meetings.

…more trust.

Top-down decision making is increasingly less accepted. Decisions that are made without the participation of those affected often fail to meet their needs and lead to dissatisfaction among communities.

…more scalability and adaptability.

There is no limit to the number of people who can take part in a digital participation process, which makes it very easy to scale. You also don’t need to worry about a venue or catering for your participants.

…better results.

Through digital participation you can increase the variety of opinions and perspectives on a specific matter. This will generate new knowledge, reveal new ideas and assist in creating new solutions.

…a strong ownership.

If it is easier for people to include their views or have a stronger stake and say at current issues and topics, they will naturally identify more with the planned process.