Strengthen citizen participation through the exchange of good practices
For the last two years, the city council of Billère and its partners (five towns and two European associations) have been exchanging their practices to improve the inclusive participation of their citizens. A project funded by the Erasmus+ programme has been the spur for this initiative. Mobility between the partners allows the players involved in this project to learn about each other's practices.
Encourage citizen mobility
Today in Europe, a lack of interest and a loss of confidence is felt by many people with regard to institutions. Associations or communities working towards citizen participation find that those taking part are often people already involved elsewhere. There's a feeling that the same people are always involved; it's rare to see people in social difficulties taking part. The problem is to motivate people who don't participate much, as the make-up of these particular groups of people differs according to the area and the context. This need is also perceived in the context of the European Agenda for Education and Training, in which a European resolution set its sights on 'the promotion of fair-mindedness, social cohesion and active citizenship'.
Transferable practices from other European countries
Thanks to this project, the city council of Billère, the project’s coordinator, has identified innovative practices of citizen participation which allow the 'remote' public to become involved. For example, in Gulbene in Latvia, professionals involved in the project have participated in a session of sharing coffee or ice-cream with town councillors. It was a way of creating a dialogue between young people and their representatives about what was happening in their area, over coffee, or an ice-cream! Other tools have been shared, such as models of different districts displayed in public spaces, on which residents can put little flags saying 'I like this' or 'I don't like this'; 'I wish there was ...'; or 'I miss ...' to express their opinions and desires for their neighbourhood.
Sharing to be involved
In the first place, the professionals who took part in the study visits have shared their tools and discussed their practices. They came back highly motivated and with new ideas, some of which are being tried out in different areas. The first impact is therefore on the motivation of professionals, to innovate and regenerate their practices. The second impact, which should follow, will be the participation of new citizens in their programmes.
The next two study visits are programmed for Saillans (in the Drôme, France) and Timisoara (Romania). At Saillans, participants will discuss the collective and participatory governance of a commune, as well as the 'SPIRAL' method developed by the Council of Europe to improve citizens' well-being. In Timisoara, the Intercultural Institute will demonstrate tools to encourage the participation of foreigners, or people from ethnic minorities. After the project, a compendium of good practices will be distributed.
Partners of the Be:In project are: Saillans (France), Silvi (Italy), Gulbene (Latvia), Istiea Adipos (Greece), the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara (Romania) and a planning group in Wroclaw (Poland).
Coordinator of the Be:In project : city council of Billère.
Would you like to get involved in a European exchange project? Go to the Pénélope + website, the support platform for the project. Do you have an idea, or are you looking for partners? The EPALE Partner search section can help you with your approaches.