Round-Trip Local Seminar in Poland called “Civil dialogue in various guises – methods of mobilizing community to act for the local environment” took place in Katowice in Social Cooperatives Honolulu on 22nd October.
The local seminars gave an opportunity to bring together citizens, NGO representatives and public authorities of region Silesia to share both good and bad practices of participation mechanisms used or known to them.
In total, 31 people took part in the event, including active citizens, high school students, representatives of 6 different NGOs, 3 social enterprises and 4 municipalities.
The whole programme was divided into 3 elements:
- Presentation of the project co-financed by Europe for Citizens Programme, collected mechanisms of civil participation, current materials prepared for Action Kit and a short discussion
- 3 thematic tables facilitated by experts in the topics:
- Participation of youth. The discussion was dedicated to finding answers to questions what are the most effective methods to reach youth, how to encourage them to be active citizens and what can motivate them to take the responsibility for local development. Group consisted of 11 participants. Moderator was Agnieszka Pytlik who is also president of Association Spichlerz and initiator of many projects dedicated to youth, e.g., Civil Fairy tales written by youth aged 13-15. The main conclusion was that youths need an attention, they trust only to authentic people who are honest and treat them as partners.
- Participation of adults (understood as adult people between 30 – 55 who are concentrated on their private life, career and family). The discussion was dedicated to finding an answer to a question how to convince them to be more active citizens and to pay attention to common good.
Another question was whether our society is a real civil society? In this group there were 12 participants, mainly representatives of municipalities. Piotr Drygała was a moderator. He is well known expert in civil participation and a leader in implementing participatory budget in city Dąbrowa Górnicza. The main conclusion was that we should concentrate on people who really want to participate as it is impossible to convince all the citizens to be active. The key to keep good contact with adult people is to listen to their needs, give feedback, explain the whole procedure of decision making and present arguments why the final decision was made. People want to be treated with respect, given appropriate time and tools to present their opinion and included in implementation phase.
- Participation of Seniors. The discussion was dedicated to find answers to whether we are using the potential of elderly people in a proper way and whether we are ready to hear the voice of seniors. Another important question was “Do we have tools to make their voice actually heard?”. Nine participants took part in the discussion. Moderator was Małgorzata Krakowiak – NGO coach, member of Fabric of Local Initiatives and trainer of Seniors Council. The main conclusion was that seniors are specific target group which needs more traditional channels of communication, such as meeting or Seniors’ potential is huge and we should realise that sooner or later all of us will become
a senior so it is necessary to build an infrastructure of communication with elderly and at the same time teach seniors to become more active.
- Summary of the thematic tables and open discussion about sense of strengthening civil participation.