My language - your language - success factors for good civic participation

Goals of the "My Language-Your Language" Project

The project "My Language-Your Language" deals with success factors for good citizen participation. The aim is to engage with best practices in the context of civic participation at an international level, to learn more about them, and to develop competencies on how target group-oriented participation can succeed on the ground. The scientific discourse on citizen participation and its methods is extensive and controversial. Both science and practice state that people close to education participate and that disadvantaged population groups are excluded and socially excluded. In addition, practical experience shows that municipal calls for participation are generic and not tailored to the target groups to be reached, and that existing networking structures are also ignored.

With the project "My Language-Your Language- Success Factors for Good Civic Participation" the applicants want to investigate the described gap of the lack of target group oriented access in accordance with the priorities "Social Inclusion" and "Shared Values, Civic Engagement and Participation" and work on the questions below in transnational partnership. There will be a focus on networking of local organization and authorities and their integrated cooperation.

Looking at the categories and typologies of citizen participation processes, the spectrum ranges from future workshops to activation and initiation of planning processes to idea dialogs. Citizen participation can be structured as a dialogue or have an informative character; the depth and breadth of participation are also taken into account. The discussion about citizen participation does not take into account the target group specific way of addressing (culturally sensitive language, language style, pictograms,...) and the way of access (analog, digital, flyer, channel, advertising, TV,...) and the question to what extent the life situation and life world of the group to be involved are taken into account in the process of information and participation.

Through the Strategic Partnership, this topic will be elaborated internationally in workshops with local stakeholders on the ground. The following questions, among others, are to be answered and recorded in a handout with best practice recommendations:

  • What is the experience of the partners with the participation of people of different ages and nationalities who are interested in participation and those who are not?
  • What best practices exist in the area of culturally sensitive outreach and participation in the respective partner countries?

On-site workshops

It was planned that all partners will visit each other via transnational project meetings (workshops on site) for 3 days. The inviting organization will organize, prepare and implement the accommodation of the guests, a workshop and a program on site. During the visit, the organization will document the visit with photos and record the key findings. Finally, each organization is responsible for uploading a short documentation of the transnational project meeting in the host country on the project homepage.

Due to the pandemic situation, the task meeting with all project partners, in which strategic decisions were made, took place virtually. Also the transnational project meetings have to be adapted coronabedíngt: Thus, all project meetings were placed in the period starting in summer. The first project meeting in Austria in May will also have to take place virtually. The other project meetings will take place in September, October and November. Here is currently still flexible planning.