International Development Alliance
Institute for Bulgarian Direct Democracy
In today's world of crisis and social isolation, one of the ways to preserve the civil, political, social and cultural rights of citizens remains information and communication technologies. The project aims to raise awareness on the opportunities, develop citizens' skills, promote democratic debate and direct civic participation.
The goal will be achieved by creating a civic platform where citizens, media and local authorities will identify problems and seek solutions together.
Due to the online nature of the product, it can cover any settlement with accessible internet, PCs a
The country is conditionally divided in 10 regions. Given the specifics of the product, leading principles are the main topics of the portal- family, health, home, freedom, money, career, morality, creativity, spirituality, beauty, power. They are based on study by Dalia Research "Life priorities in Europe", commissioned by EC covering 20000 citizens from 28 countries.
The uniqueness of the product lies in its easy multiplication- the solution of a local problem can serve as a solution to identical issue in other regions.
The citizen has main function in formulating and solving the problem: citizens (identify the problem)- experts (give opinions/recommendations)- local authorities (solve the problem)- citizens (monitor the implementation). The platform is consolidator of all players.
The main idea is to ensure an opportunity for direct participation of citizens in the process of solving specific social/community problems. Citizen’s participation goes through: identification of the problem- formation of civic and expert focus groups- proposals and possible solutions, civil control on the institution responsible for solving the problem.To formulate concrete proposals, methods such as online polls, local online referendums will be used.
The online participation of citizens creates a two-way communication with the government ie. the citizen`s expectations are to receive an answer or reaction to their inquiries, comments, suggestions. When citizens participate in discussion of decisions affecting the urban environment, a "smarter and transparent governance" is guaranteed.
3 types of groups are involved in all processes:
-Citizens, civic associations- identify the problem- form a solution -monitor the proper implementation of the decision.
-Stakeholders- experts, media, journalists. Independent experts give suggestions, comment on the problem, which facilitates the decision-making by citizens. Journalists/correspondents of the media portal, local media- disseminate the information to a broader audience.
-Representatives of the government/administration- participate in the formation and implementation of decision.
Special attention is paid to people with disabilities- the use of programs to convert text to voice; special hardware and software for listening and seeing with so-called "cybernetic eyes".
We expect over 200,000 users within 1 year.
The implementation of the project will have the following implementation intervention:
1. Creating online civic portal with 11 separate topics.
2. Research on social and offline media for the main problems of the citizens at the moment and formulation of 55 initial issues; shaping an online environment - interviews with citizens, experts, offering possible solutions.
3. Contracting local journalists- correspondents, media, and promotion of the platform;
4. Creating methodology for work and training of local correspondents, NGO representatives, citizens.
5. Promotion of the platform through social and local media.
6. Daily supplementing of the platform with new public cases, formation of civic groups. In 1 year we expect over 300 resolved cases and participation of over 200,000 people
As result of the use of the new communication channels, the distance between government and citizens is reduced. The quality of governance is improved by advancing the civic participation, transparency and openness. Citizens' opportunities to influence the policy-making and set demands for the administrative system are increased. The citizens gain satisfaction with the decisions taken to manage their town/village. They participate in discussions on decisions concerning their place of residence, express opinions on issues for the development of their city, citizens are engaged in the governance. Important advantage of the electronic participation of citizens is that the information and notifications they receive can be personalized. It is done based on interests, location, and social group
We negotiate cooperation and exchange of information with international civic platforms such as Taz, huffpost, CitizenLab, Civic observatory and others. The platform`s experience will provide additional information about variety of local initiatives, projects, movements, ideas.
This will contribute both to multiplication of already successful models for civic participation, and to a greater motivation for citizen participation in the decision- making process on topics related to the European agenda.
The local citizens’ forums could be used as a base to feed into higher-level deliberation, so that different levels of debate relate organically to each other. It could provide a common template on the kinds of questions that will guide the next phase of citizens’ initiatives across Europe.
The main missions of this project are:
- Motivating active civic participation at the local level and decision-making on social/community issues, in which citizens are involved. The aim is to reach a common solution that leads to action. Information concerning the government becomes available to the citizens and in that way they can form their opinion on various public issues and express this opinion with the help of the civic platform.
- On the other hand, we aim to increase transparency in governance. This is an important prerequisite for the increased trust of citizens in local institutions and their legitimacy. The project provides an opportunity to transform political and administrative processes so that they are aimed at more transparent, efficient and citizen-friendly governance.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
creation of a platform and telephone line - 5,000 euros
training of journalists and meetings - 5,000 euros
meetings with local communities - 15,000
advertising and distribution - 15,000 euros
team, external experts, correspondents - 10,000 euros
Close cooperation with organizations working in the field of civic participation will contribute to the development of the organization and the platform. Attracting new organizations will contribute to the promotion of the platform and to the active participation of as many citizens as possible.