Public participation is any process that directly engages the public in decision-making and gives full consideration to public input in making that decision.
Public participation is a process, not a single event. It consists of a series of activities and actions by a sponsor agency over the full lifespan of a project to both inform the public and obtain input from them. Public participation affords stakeholders (those that have an interest or stake in an issue, such as individuals, interest groups, communities) the opportunity to influence decisions that affect their lives.
Kenyan Citizen 4 Good Governance builds public participation capacity on government process in several ways:
- Modeling the desired behaviors to be exhibited throughout the process
- Developing and sharing with the public guidance documents that promote the core values of public participation and delineate best practices
- Providing training to community leaders and stakeholder representatives in foundation public participation and communication skills
- Giving special consideration and attention to vulnerable populations and marginalized communities.
- Identifying facilitative leaders within sponsor agencies to mentor community groups/leaders by partnering with them during the planning and implementation of public participation processes. Inviting the public to participate in planning the process can create a sense of ownership among the public
- Hiring professional third-party facilitators to provide instruction at the project outset to sponsor agency staff and external stakeholders on participatory behaviors and techniques
- Where appropriate, using deliberative forums that encourage more active forms of participation instead of selecting forums that are viewed by sponsor agencies as being more “safe” because they control participation
Providing technical assistance to the public or community groups to help them understand technical information relevant to the decision