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This can be in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, companies or any other entities that affect public interests. The principle of public participation holds that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process. Public participation implies that the public's contribution will influence the decision.

Public participation may be regarded as a way of empowerment and as vital part of democratic governance. In the context of knowledge management the establishment of ongoing participatory processes is seen by some in the facilitator of collective intelligence and inclusiveness, shaped by the desire for the participation of the whole community or society. Public participation is part of "people centred" or "human centric" principles, which have emerged in Western culture over the last thirty years, and has had some bearings of education , business , public policy and international relief and development programs.


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Public participation is advanced by the humanist movements. Public participation may be advanced as part of a "people first" paradigm shift. In this respect public participation may challenge the concept that "big is better" and the logic of centralized hierarchies, advancing alternative concepts of "more heads are better than one" and arguing that public participation can sustain productive and durable change.

The role of public participation in economic and human development was enshrined in the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation. In practitioners established the International Association for Public Practitioners in order to respond to the increasing interest in the practice, and in turn established the International Association for Public Participation IAP2. Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary city residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget.

Participatory budgeting is usually characterized by several basic design features: identification of spending priorities by community members, election of budget delegates to represent different communities, facilitation and technical assistance by public employees, local and higher level assemblies to deliberate and vote on spending priorities, and the implementation of local direct-impact community projects.

Participatory budgeting may be used by towns and cities around the world, and has been widely publicised in Porto Alegre , Brazil , were the first full participatory budgeting process was developed starting in In economic development theory, there is a school of participatory development. The desire to increase public participation in humanitarian aid and development has led to the establishment of a numerous context-specific, formal methodologies, matrices, pedagogies and ad hoc approaches.

In some countries public participation has become a central principle of public policy making. In the UK and Canada it has been observed that all levels of government have started to build citizen and stakeholder engagement into their policy-making processes. This may involve large-scale consultations , focus group research, online discussion forums, or deliberative citizens' juries.

There are many different public participation mechanisms, although these often share common features for a list over , and a typology of mechanisms, see Rowe and Frewer, Public participation is viewed as a tool, intended to inform planning, organising or funding of activities. Public participation may also be used to measure attainable objectives, evaluate impact, and identify lessons for future practice. In the United States public participation in administrative rulemaking refers to the process by which proposed rules are subject to public comment for a specified period of time.

Public participation is typically mandatory for rules promulgated by executive agencies of the US government.

Improving education participation

Statutes or agency policies may mandate public hearings during this period. In recent years loss of public trust in authorities and politicians has become a widespread concern in many democratic societies. Public participation is a regarded as one potential solution to the crisis in public trust and governance, particularly in the UK, Europe, and other democracies. The idea is that public should be involved more fully in the policy process in that authorities seek public views and participation, instead of treating the public as simply passive recipients of policy decisions.

The underlying assumption by political theorists, social commentators, and even politicians is that public participation increase public trust in authorities, improving citizen political efficacy, enhancing democratic ideals and even improving the quality of policy decisions.

Get Involved

However, the assumed benefits of public participation in restoring public trust are yet to be confirmed. Public participation may also be viewed as accountability enhancing. The argument being that public participation can be a means for the participating communities to hold public authorities accountable for implementation.

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Training community members In the Bilel camp near Nyala, Darfur, members of the community have been trained to fix pipes and repair water systems to help sustain the water and sanitation program that helps over 30, people in the camp. Group training classes Caritas' sustainable development programs encourage information sharing.

Men digging in field Students of the Young Famers course at Tutu Rural Training Centre, Fiji, prepare the foundations for the pipes that take water to surrounding villages. Permanent housing In , Nirangini took part in a Caritas program which helped her build her own permanent home. Livelihood program Nirangini is part of a livelihood program which provides vulnerable families with training in small business skills to promote employment opportunities and income generation.

Community meeting Women gather at a meeting as part of Caritas Australia-supported Harith Ashia 'Green Hope' integrated natural resource management program in India. Health centre gathering Women gathered at a health centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Community meeting For many years, the Mindanao People's Caucus MPC has been at the forefront of national advocacy, highlighting the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Mindanao and appealing to the government for a ceasefire.

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Leaving a charitable bequest in your Will to Caritas Australia will help end poverty around the world. Looking for birthday, wedding or anniversary present ideas? Why not donate instead of buying or receiving gifts? Are you looking for ways to show your staff, investors, stakeholders, customers and prospects that you care about a just world? Partner with Caritas Australia. Demonstrate corporate social responsibility by giving your staff the opportunity to donate regularly to charity.

A charitable trust donation to Caritas Australia helps end poverty, promote justice and uphold human dignity around the world.

Community vision

Major donors play an important role in supporting our work to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity. Caritas Australia values meaningful partnerships, and we are able to tailor different options for major donor support. Donate online to help the millions of innocent people afflicted by natural disasters, international conflicts and humanitarian emergencies. Buy the gift of food, water, agriculture, education, health, emergency aid and more. Buy a Global Gift card or e-card to give to your loved ones, and help make a difference around the world.

How can we contribute to a more just and fair world? All people have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Subsidiarity requires that decisions are made by the people closest and most affected by the issues and concerns of the community. Caritas Australia works with local communities to support, promote and develop their capacity in decision-making so they can better respond to their own needs. Caritas Australia's sustainable agriculture program in Uganda encourages the participation of men, women and children as a whole family unit.

Photograph credit: Sean Sprague. Photograph credit: Caritas Australia. In the Bilel camp near Nyala, Darfur, members of the community have been trained to fix pipes and repair water systems to help sustain the water and sanitation program that helps over 30, people in the camp. Photograph credit: Caritas-ACT The process for developing their community vision included consultation and participation by a wide range of community members including men, women and children. Caritas' sustainable development programs encourage information sharing.

Participants in this program in East Timor pass on the skills they learn to others in the community.

Increasing Student Participation

Photograph credit: Marden Dean. Students of the Young Famers course at Tutu Rural Training Centre, Fiji, prepare the foundations for the pipes that take water to surrounding villages. In , Nirangini took part in a Caritas program which helped her build her own permanent home. She was keen to take part in the process, and helped carry bricks, sand and water to the building site.

Photograph credit: Caritas Sri Lanka. Nirangini is part of a livelihood program which provides vulnerable families with training in small business skills to promote employment opportunities and income generation. Women gather at a meeting as part of Caritas Australia-supported Harith Ashia 'Green Hope' integrated natural resource management program in India. Photograph credit: Peter Saunders. Women gathered at a health centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photograph credit: Mireille Brisbane.

Barriers and resources to learning and participation of inclusive students

The strengths-based approach helps them realise their strengths and assets, including natural resources but most importantly their human potential, skills, strengths and abilities. Caritas Australia works with both women and men to improve the economic and social participation of women and girls in their communities.

Photo from Endashang'wet village, Tanzania. It is an important process where the community comes together to outline their strengths, dream for the future and set realistic goals as to how they can work together as a community to realise their vision. GVH Nkhovan village, Malawi. Photograph credit: Erin Johnson.