Saturday, November 8, 2008

Training in citizen participation - 29th October & 5th November 2008

Practical tools! It will help to focus my work as community worker! Very efficient to mobilize people and make people to move on issues they consider as important. Students from the University of Social Work of Hogeschool Utrecht - Amersfoort shared their experiences at the end of a two day training on methods for citizens' participation. On the 29th October and 5th November 2008 thirteen students got acquainted with basic facilitation methods on how to stimulate citizen's participation.
Students got acquainted with the theory and principles of citizen's participation, and got acquainted with a number of basic facilitation methods for engaging and activating groups, called the Technology of Participation.
The Technology of Participation methods have been developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs. From the early 50's up to late 60's a lot of experiments and pilots were done with a number of community development based methods. One of the most successfull projects was Fifth city, a big neighboorhood in Chicago. A video about this project was made in mid seventies where Oprah Winphrey is interviewing citizens who went through the community based project. Since early seventies the methods were promoted in 24 time zones around the world in about 40 countries. In more than 95 % of the pilot the methods generated big result of community empowerment. Since early 80's many trainers and community facilitators have been trained in these methods, and nowadays they are widely used in not only the development sectors, but also in governments and business organisations.
"Winning through participation" and "The Art of Focused conversation" are some interesting books which explain and explore the power of these community and citizen participation tools.

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