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«People’s Corner, raising local governance through people’s voice» is a project funded by the European “Europe for Citizens” Programme. Its intention was on deepening the understanding of democracy and sense of belonging in communities and in the EU in 5 countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Czechia). We worked in the Portuguese Baixo Guadiana region, the Spanish city of Burgos, the Italian Campania region, the Belgium neighbourhood of Molenbeek in Brussels and the Czech city of Melnik. All actions boosted people’s voice within the work of youth related NGOs, empowered and involved local communities and raised local governance issues through pilot experimentations and active participation through 5 different events.

We involved 395 citizens, including 39 participants from Portugal, 29 participants from Spain, 103 participants from Italy, 195 participants from Belgium and 29 participants from Czechia. From October 1st of 2016 to October 31st of 2016 activities happened in Vila Real de Santo António and Alcoutim, Portugal; in Burgos, Spain; in Naples, Eboli, Afragola and Olevano Sul Tusciano in Italy; in Brussels, Belgium; and in Melnik, Czechia.

Field activities:

a) Debate, conceptualize and organize together the program and the tools for the project define the approaches, methodologies, toolkits, interface model and define general target approach strategies; also define, through workshops, how to intervene in the community and generate project managers and multipliers

b) Create our communication plan

c) Launch international and local events of the project

We involved 2510 citizens, including 341 participants from Portugal, 1296 participants from Spain, 302 participants from Italy, 234 participants from Belgium and 337 participants from Czechia. From November 1st of 2016 to February 28th of 2017 activities happened in Vila Real de Santo António, Castro Marim and Alcoutim, Portugal; in Burgos, Spain; in Eboli, Pagani, Macerata Campania, Olevano Sul Tusciano, Lettere, Gragnano, Pollena Trocchia and Santa Maria Capua Vettere in Italy; in Brussels, Belgium; and in Melnik, Czechia.

Field activities:

a) Activate local networks in 5 countries for the target population and thematic working areas

b) Adapt and implement an open-source IT participative democracy platform in Portugal and Spain

c) Develop a participatory diagnosis with face-to-face and online demographic surveys to ascertain likely themes for public discussion, stakeholder analysis and results analysis

d) Hold local launching events for key actors to promote the initiative to formalize their commitment, present and debate results from inquiries, define relevant themes and actions for the community and launch the IT participative democracy platform processes

We involved 2128 citizens, including 229 participants from Portugal, 667 participants from Spain, 311 participants from Italy, 412 participants from Belgium and 508 participants from Czechia. From March 1st of 2017 to February 28th of 2018 activities happened in Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal; in Burgos, Spain; in Frattaminore, Pagani, Macerata Campania, Mugnano di Napoli, Eboli, Vico Equense, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Sant’Agnello, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio and Palma Campania in Italy; in Brussels, Belgium; and in Melnik, Czechia.

Field activities:

a) Hold an intermediate consortium meeting in Melnik to evaluate and follow-up the action plan construction, support workshops for the national project managers and present the model for public consultations and opinion gathering events

b) Hold public events to assess to work with project disseminators, co-create the model of local events

c) Define the future implementation of the action plan, through citizenship labs, workshops and info events to promote discussion and interaction with decision makers, round tables among all key actors and citizen proposals for the community

We involved 1254 citizens, including 291 participants from Portugal, 103 participants from Spain, 75 participants from Italy, 97 participants from Belgium and 688 participants from Czechia. From August 1st of 2017 to February 28th of 2018 activities happened in Vila Real de Santo António, Castro Marim and Alcoutim, Portugal; in Burgos, Spain; in Olevano Sul Tusciano, Naples and Pagani in Italy; in Brussels, Belgium; and in Melnik, Czechia.

Field activities:

a) Hold an intermediate consortium meeting in Vila Real de Sto. António to evaluate and follow-up the action plan implementation, present results and hold round tables to deepen our discussions around public themes and areas

b) Hold public events to debate and present results, offer information sessions and generate round tables with key actors

We involved 954 citizens, including 10 participants from Portugal, 95 participants from Spain, 75 participants from Italy, 105 participants from Belgium and 669 participants from Czechia. From March 1st of 2018 to May 31st of 2018 activities happened in Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal; in Burgos, Spain; in Naples, Italy; in Brussels, Belgium; and in Melnik, Czechia.

Field activities:

a) Hold a final international event in Burgos to evaluate and follow-up the project implementation, present recommendation and best practices and support initiatives and proposals on what groups of citizens or organizations presented

b) Hold national public events in the other 4 countries to debate and present results, offer information sessions and disseminate existing local initiatives and best practices

“All the groups that have defined participation noticed that it is an active process. That participation goes beyond a passive attitude which results simply in giving an opinion, moan, complaint. “It’s not the same as implicate yourself. Think about fried eggs with bacon, the chicken collaborates but the pig… it commits”, Martina Navratilova” Comment, Burgos participative democracy expert

“And if it results in having participation tools but… We don’t use it? Don’t know it? Doesn’t work? Don’t pay attention to it? Practically all groups have complained that there are no participation channels for their collective, but in most cases, there are. The problem is being unaware of these channels, not their usefulness or the ignorance to its results from the part of all decision makers.” Report from Final Event, Participation from school kids from del Ceas de S.Pedro de la Fuente

“Participation: process in which a person expresses its ideas in an active way searching for solutions and answers. Here we fill useful and we change. A video shown testimonies from immigrant people which, in general, highlight coming to Spain to search for a better life and being with their family and that Burgos hospitality has been good. Propose integration courses, intercultural festivals and training volunteers as a collective action and as proposals that would make each person proactive, with thirst for knowledge, respect, exchange and know that everybody deserves a chance.” Report from Final Event, Participation from immigrants from the Atalaya Intercultural organization