From 12-23 September 2011, the participants of our training course “Citizen Participation and Accountability” were together in The Hague. The professionals coming from various organisations and working in countries varying from Kenya to Indonesia and Germany to Bhutan tried to answer some of the key questions addressed: How can municipalities increase accountability towards their citizens? And how can they benefit from involving citizens and organisations in a smart way? While trying to find the answers, the participants learned and discussed about the underlying principles of mechanisms of accountability and citizen participation processes, the accountability chain, the participation ladder, and other relevant concepts. They acquired firsthand practical insights in participation processes by enjoying study visits to the Municipality of The Hague, the District of Amsterdam West of the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Municipality of Vlaardingen.
The training course aimed to increase the understanding of the participants of the underlying principles and mechanisms of accountability and citizen participation, through a participatory approach with group discussions, exercises and the analysis of case studies. The participants enjoyed the interactive nature of the course and had the opportunity to exchange their views and experiences with each other and the experts.
The participants came up with new ideas and projects to implement in their home countries. The Back Home Action Plan is designed as a tool to help these professionals to focus continuously on the program curricula and extract those ideas more relevant and suitable for their contexts. It served the participants to draw their innovative ideas into feasible working plans and projects, which they shared with the group during the last days.
“We can do it, despite the challenges and the problems we face every day”, said Mustafa Yasa, from Municipality of Kabul in Afghanistan.
We would like to wish our participants a successful implementation of their project plans. In this way, our common efforts put in the realisation of this training course could contribute to enhancing Citizen Participation and Accountability worldwide.