Citizen-Building & Participation
Citizen-Building involves providing people with the required skills to gather, understand and analyse evidence about the contexts and institutions that affect their lives. People need knowledge, support, services and opportunities in order to thrive. Developing these capacities generates civic agency and energy, because it enables them to engage effectively with decision-makers to mobilise for social change, take action to improve their living conditions, and thereby co-create a more stable, productive and benevolent society.
Citizen Participation refers to “political or social involvement in the community, government, or school in order to improve or maintain the status quo or to have impact on policy formation and decision-making”.
A legal definition of citizen participation is “an open process in which the rights of the community to be informed, to provide comments to the Government and to receive a response from the Government are met through a full opportunity to be involved and to express needs and goals.”
Our approach to citizen-building and participation assumes that capacity-building is a process of empowering individual citizens, civil society organisations,
social groups, researchers and State officials with skills to mobilise one another or others for collaborative efforts to change undesirable conditions for the
realisation of human rights.
In this approach, “capacity” is defined beyond training workshops and seminars, to encompass all activities that lead to social accountability, such as problem definition, concretised in concept notes and funding proposals, social mobilisation, stakeholder identification and sensitisation, coalition-building, community needs assessments, campaign development, writing advocacy messages, training on specific topics such as budget monitoring, and various forms of research.
Our technical support services play an important role in capacity development for partners with fewer skills on budget monitoring and expenditure tracking. We provide technical support to existing coalitions of non-governmental partners, including people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and TB, who actively participate in community monitoring of health budget formulation and service implementation.
As citizens become enabled to engage meaningfully with public institutions to demand well-resourced, efficiently managed, augmented and improved health services, and public health administrators, practitioners and policy-makers become more adept, focused and motivated in their appointed roles, society as a whole benefits from greater openness and a deeper commitment to accountability and human wellbeing.