More and more focus group meetings have taken place all over the world, giving a further push towards our Participatory Democracy Report 2014. Over the last days, civil society actors from Azerbaijan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius and Tajikistan came together to exchange views about the state of participatory local democracy in their country, and more countries will follow over the next days. If your country is not involved yet in the 2014 Participatory Local Democracy Survey, please contact us to organize one. Also, please take the individual online surveys to tell us about the state of participatory local democracy in your country. Click for: Arabic | English | French | Russian | Spanish
Democratic Republic of the Congo, May 10, 11 participants, Organizer: Save the Climat
It was a really exciting meeting that was enjoyed by the participants. The participation of different organizations was really appreciated by the Save the Climat Staff Committee. Most of the participants hope to see this survey or campaign on Local Governance to be extended to others cities or areas in order to promote it very well, and then help most of the countries to get rid of poverty.
Indeed, we are thanking The Hunger Project in partnership with UNDEF a lot for this wonderful project which will boost and create a new social class in many countries all around the world.
We are also thanking all the attendees for their prompt and strong participation, from minority to other categories, and especially Mr Donat Mpakebon from ANMDH.
All the best for The Participatory Local Democracy Project in DRCongo!!
– Bernard Lutete, Chairperson of Save the Climat
Indonesia, May 14, 8 participants, Organizer: Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia (Indonesian Women’s Coalition)
The survey questions given by The Hunger Project can be an inspiration to participants in the discussion, because Indonesia already has an Indonesian Democracy Index, but is only see 3 -dimensional, while the standard democracy index includes 5 dimensions.
The results show that in the legal aspect, Indonesia has many regulations and laws governing democracy, transparency, public participation and accountability.
The knowledge and participation of citizens in general is still very weak. However, people who obtain assistance from the civil society get easier access to information and they show more active participation in politics, governance and development.
Indonesia has some regulations to ensure participation of women in decision-making in public life, social, and political development. However, most women cannot truly participate actively, due to a lack of information and women’s leadership capacity. While in some urban areas women’s organizations have begun to actively strengthen women’s leadership, in rural areas this activity is still low.
– Dian Kartika, Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia
Liberia, May 15, 13 participants, Organizer: Youth Partnership for Peace and Development (YPPD)
YPPD Liberia had a very fruitful first Focus Group Meeting on Participatory Local Democracy with 10 participants from Liberian Civil Society Organizations. There were members and volunteers of YPPD Liberia in attendance. The people attending the focus group, showed a genuine interest on the topic. They gave a lot of inputs to explain their points of view.
Between the main points observed we saw the different perceptions and points of view of how things work in the capital (Monrovia) and outside the capital in the counties and rural areas. When discussing the legal area the group was able to reach a consensus in a very easy and fast way, but not on the perception area. We could see more debate and exchange of different points of view on these questions.
– Pamela Orbenes, YPPD Liberia
Malaysia, May 12, 10 participants, Organizer: Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
The focus group discussion on participatory local democracy in Malaysia was held in the Penang Institute in Jalan Brown, Penang. Ten people were present: they included a former cabinet member of the Penang state government, three
current or previous local authority councillors, and others from academia, NGOs, media, including a couple of lawyers who are familiar with local government laws and procedures. All present agreed that the scope of participation and familiarity with local governance was generally low among Malaysians, not least because local government elections have been abolished since 1976. Thereafter, all councillors have been appointed by the ruling state governments. The exception was in the two Opposition-led states wherein freedom of information enactments were passed since 2009, and steps taken to introduce not only CAT (competent, accountable and transparent) governments, but to restore local government elections. It was in this latter regard that the participants were somewhat hopeful for participatory local democracy in the future
– Francis Loh Kok Wah, President of Aliran
Mauritius, May 9, 18 participants, Organizer: Allied Network for Policy, Research & Actions for Sustainability (ANPRAS)
Our meeting had a very well balanced participation, a mixed age group and perfect dosage of gender equality. Also, very knowledgeable and experienced participants like (1) Mr. Ramduth Basenoo (over 25 years of deputation as Village Councilor, and Former Chairman of the District Council of Grand-Port/Savanne and member of the Mauritius Labour Party) and (2) Mr. Claude Sooprayen who is both a business and political consultant who has served for many governments globally and currently engaged in political advocacy in Mauritius.
We had a very collegial atmosphere with an enriching debate on local democracy and good governance. The deliberations prompted the Chair of ANPRAS to call for the organization of a national workshop to the theme of increased local democracy in the near future.
– Raj Chintaram, Executive Chairman of ANPRAS
Tajikistan, May 20, 8 participants, Organizer: Center for Civic Initiative
Focus group participants reacted to this friendly survey and actively participated in the discussions, as the questionnaire raised important questions that are associated with the participation of citizens in public life. The participants also noted that such a survey should be conducted in all regions of the country.
– Yusuff Yusufbekov, Director of Center for Civic Initiative
To read more about focus group meetings that were held in previous weeks in other countries click here.