Utilising e-participation tools in the framework of Smart Village Strategy development and/or implementation

The question often arises whether digital technologies can be used not only as a tool for solving specific problems of rural communities, but also for supporting the cooperation of local actors in joint strategy development. So-called e-participation tools or platforms are often referred to in this context. Digital tools have become available to better engage local citizens in political or strategic decision-making. However, tools currently differ considerably in terms of the functions they offer, and not every tool is well suited to support every participation or collaboration.

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eTownz Community Management Dashboard

This digital tool allows communities to create and manage a “Smart Community Plan” on an ongoing basis. The smart community plan consists of a database of local assets, stakeholders, projects, goals, metrics and funding opportunities. Each entry is tagged with a hierarchy of relevant themes which in turn allows the community plans to be continually edited but also downloaded under any theme. The dashboard allows all members of the community to identify the themes and projects for the community with the aim of building action teams based on personal interest and skills.

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Wisdom on community engagement

The testimonials from leaders and community members of the Smart Rural 21 villages aim to inspire other people and provide ideas on how to engage other community members. In this tool, we collected for you some of the key messages, suggestions and ‘tips & tricks’ on community engagement in small – and often remote – rural villages.

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Sustainable support for citizens’ initiatives: The ‘sustainizability model’

The sustainizability model consists of six domains - each with their typical characteristics, values, and standards - each of which can ideally be considered in the planning of any initiative. The model’s advantage is to link various initiatives in a structured way – and bring the relevant expertise related to these for a more integrated approach. The idea is that during a first phase people need to work in the “six siloes” according to their relevant expertise, and then brought together for a more integrated approach.

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Citizen involvement through Systemic Consensing

Systemic Consensing is a method to take decisions in groups, i.e. identifying the option that is viable and has the least resistance from all group members. The method makes all opinions heard and leads to long lasting solutions.

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The Youth Fund – Engaging young people in local development

The purpose of this method is to involve young people in local development, to increase their connection with the local community and provide opportunity to finance their own projects/ initiatives. The tool can improve youth participation in local development and increase youth capacity to implement project ideas.

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Childhood’s power for community

The method aims at helping the local public institutions, local governments and other relevant bodies to listen, assess, make visible, and collect the proposals of local children and adolescents about the situation and suggested improvements of the local community. Youth involvement, in turn, has improved the engagement and commitment of the adult community to design and implement local initiatives identified.

The tool is based on the observation that the capacity for listening and the creative elaboration of ideas of children and adolescents in villages is enormous, but they are rarely taken into account.

The ultimate goal of this consultation method led by children is to collect ideas to build a prosperous future for the whole village, engaging and building on the knowledge and experience of all generations in the village.

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