Municipality of Loulé
Quarteira Parish Council
The partners are 2 local authorities with complementary competences in the territory. Other partners might be mobilized during the project according to the priorities and needs of participants.
3 neighbourhoods characterized by ethnic diversity, stigmatization, social conflicts, political polarization and distance from centres of power, will decide and implement the projects they consider most important to the community, through a Participatory Budgeting (PB) methodology.
Each neighbourhood will have its own budget that will be discussed till a consensus is reached among the residents. To facilitate this process, local tutors will be selected and trained in each neighbourhood
The project will take place in the neighbourhoods of Checul, Abelheira and Asa Branca - Quarteira
Quarteira is located in the Algarve region in the south of Portugal. It is a territory marked by the tourism industry, which attracts low-skilled labour, in search of precarious, low-paid and seasonal employment. This labour force comes from many countries, which are looking for better living conditions here. The three neighbourhoods indicated are formed by residents mostly from former Portuguese colonies and Eastern European countries, with no feeling of belonging to this territory and with distinct ethnic and cultural identities. These characteristics turn those neighbourhoods into places of low civic cohesion, with regular social conflicts, no community spirit or significant opportunities for civic and political participation, far from the centres of power and decision-making.
The project foresees the organization of a PB process in each neighbourhood. This methodology foresees and requires: i) creation of spaces for dialogue among residents; ii) listening of their ideas and positions on the problems and needs of the neighbourhood; iii) orientation of the process towards active listening and consensus building among the participants, so that they understand the differences and are able to collectively define priorities to improve life in their territory; iv) that the decision on priority projects in each neighbourhood and their implementation be ensured by the residents themselves, thus exercising the power to decide and act together. For all these reasons, the project represents the materialization of the exercise of participatory democracy at community level.
This project has three main target groups:
i) the residents of the three neighbourhoods, who will have the power to collectively define their problems, decide and implement the most important project to improve community life. The methodology to be used allows the integration of all opinions, develop a spirit of dialogue and collaboration, as well as understanding differences and building consensus in an environment marked by social conflicts;
ii) the young neighbourhood tutors, who will be trained to take ownership of the methodology, ensuring the protagonism of the youngest and the transfer of methodological skills to the community itself;
iii) the partners, so that they know the method, can see it in practice, learn from it and replicate it in other similar territories.
A PB process will be organized in each neighbourhood. This foresees: i) allocation of a budget amount to each neighbourhood based on the requested funding; ii) reinforcement of this amount with budget contributions from partners; iii) participation sessions with the residents of each neighbourhood to discuss common problems, define projects to improve community life and decide on the most important project; iv) these projects will be implemented by the residents with the budget allocated to each territory and with the support of the team and the entities of the partnership; v) in each neighbourhood two young tutors (one man and one woman) will be selected and trained to join the team, co-ordinate the participation process and facilitate the relationship with the community.
- to build more socially cohesive and civic communities that are able to understand and value their internal differences, build spaces for dialogue, and strengthen their capacity for collective action. We want these communities to practice and be inspired by high-intensity democratic participation dynamics;
- create three projects, one in each neighborhood, fully decided and implemented by the residents;
- train young tutors to master and implement active democratic participation methodologies, thus becoming agents of change in their own territories;
- to produce a participatory budgeting methodology guide adapted to these territorial contexts, facilitating its replication elsewhere in Portugal and Europe.
The reality of Quarteira's neighbourhoods can be found in other European cities. We therefore believe that testing this methodology is perfectly useful and transferable to other contexts on the continent.
In accordance with this, we will do everything to make this initiative visible and have repercussions in other European countries, through the Civic Europe Network and our own network of partners, such as: CoGlobal (Spain), BiPart (Italy), Réseau Les Budgets Participatifs (France), Agora Central Europe (Czech Republic), PAUCI Foundation (Ukraine), among others. The production of the methodological guide will be very useful for this work.
This international front will also be useful for the residents of Quarteira's neighbourhoods to value their own experience in the project.
This idea is important to us for different reasons:
- We recognise that there is a retrocession in democratic regimes, a loss of confidence in institutions and civic deserts in countries like ours;
- we believe in democracy and the strength of citizen participation as a way to transform society and build more vibrant and cohesive communities;
- this project is fully part of the mission of our Association, which has elected the promotion of participatory democracy as one of its two main pillars of work;
- this initiative will allow us to prove the success of these methodologies to reactivate amorphous societies, build collective action and give a renewed sense to democracy.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs (includes tutors) 35,000.00 €
Participatory Budgeting projects 6,000.00 €
Activities 6,000.00 €
Methodological guide 1,500.00 €
Communication 1,500.00 €
Our team would like to receive constructive input on the project and how it can be improved and benefit from other experiences and interventions. Independent and exempt opinions are always an excellent way to learn.