Right to Participation: Moving from Symbolism to Substance

The rise of global  inequality and the concentration of wealth is undermining democracy and citizen participation. The rise of urban elites in developing countries in Africa and Asia is affecting and slowing down the process of decentralization. Institutional spaces are becoming inadequate to foster citizen participation in decision making for mobilization and utilization of public  resources. Decision making is in the hands of the powerful elites.


On September, 23rd,  Learning Initiative on Citizen Participation and Local Governance (LogoLink) organized a high level roundtable discussion as part of a coordinated effort to elevate citizen participation globally. The discussion’s participating partner organizations work on democracy and citizen participation. The Hunger Project was among the lead organizing partners and contributors of the final report.

In the discussion, John Coonrod, Executive Vice President of THP, emphasized the role of gender, addressing  patriarchy, and the need to intervene at the local level  through civil society engagement. He advocated building  women’s networks at grassroots level as a  “game  changer”. Equal emphasis, Coonrod explained, should be given to capacity building to ensure the independence of judiciary systems from political parties.

Coonrod argued that  increased citizen participation and efficient local democratic governance are the results of multi-sectoral co-operations .That is, concerted, holistic and local efforts that coordinate  nutrition, resilience, and gender. He pointed out that  inclusive citizen participation is a result of efficient alliances targeted at bridging international development organizations, civil societies, and local governments.

 Read the full report here!


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