Through this project, young citizens were able to decide on the investment of part of the budget (€20,000) by presenting and voting on proposals.
Three co-creation sessions with 30 young people in partnership with My Polis were carried out. They built, through a participative dynamic, the Rules of Participation. During a 4th session, the young people will vote autonomously on the participation standards, approved in December 2019 by the executive and deliberative body.
- In the proposal gathering phase, 458 young people participated in 13 "Parish Points", (a designation created by the young people for the dissemination sessions) in which the young people (individually or collectively), were challenged to identify the problems of the parish, having presented, as solutions, 102 proposals. The technical analysis team, also composed of three young people, helped to decide, on the basis of the rules of participation, to validate 28 proposals.
- During the voting phase, 1251 young people voted and elected their 4 favourite proposals.
- After the hiatus caused by the pandemic, the YPB resumed its activity in September. The technical analysis team (students, teachers, representatives of the school management and the Union of Parishes) analysed the proposals on the basis of the participation rules, deciding to move 28 proposals to the voting phase. This phase took place from 28 September to 16 November 2020, online and in person in the classrooms, and 1251 young people voted. Due to the situation caused by the pandemic, the final results were presented live on the Parish Council Facebook page.
- In March 2021, there was the 2nd edition of this project, namely the 20 points of the parish, in which 441 young people participated and presented 130 proposals that will be analysed by a technical team, composed of students, teachers and representatives of the school management.
As far as the political actors are concerned, their role was crucial in the approval phase of the different regulations, as well as throughout the process, such as in the co-creation sessions, in the Parish Spots, in the awarding of the prizes, in the participation meetings and in the disclosure of the results, it was possible to count on the mayor of the parish.
The constant partnership work between the Council's employees, Startup MyPolis and the school community was evident in the success of the project, in terms of the organisation and dissemination of the YPB.
Massamá e Monte Abraão is a civil parish in the municipality of Sintra, in the district of Lisbon, Portugal. It was formed in 2013 by the merger of the former parishes Massamá and Monte Abraão. The population in 2011 was 48,921 inhabitants, in an area of 3.09 km².
The objective of this experience was to empower the young participants on the theme of democracy. In a participatory way, the young people were introduced to the main rules and methodology of YPB. The debate created in each group during the sessions was important because it allowed the young people to become more autonomous, more participative and more concerned about their parish.
The initiative is innovative in terms of methodology due to the following variables:
- Young people, aged 11 and over, co-created the main rules for participation in YPB;
- 20,000.00 for young people to present solutions for their region;
- The technical analysis team consisted of young people, teachers, school board members and local authority staff;
- Participation combined with gamification;
- The following participation prizes were awarded:
- The young person or team with the most points in each month was awarded a voucher for the "Cartão Freguês" (a parish council project to stimulate local commerce);
- The young person or team with the most points at the end of the process will be awarded a Cartão Dá voucher;
- The participant/team with the most votes at the end of the process will be awarded a Dá card voucher;
- The school with the most participation receives a participation trophy.
This practice can be replicated in other municipalities, adapted according to the territory, size, human resources and skills of each municipality. The most important thing is the involvement of young people in participation, decision and debate, which transforms a passive citizen into an active one. This involvement can be in the co-creation of the rules of participation, in the presentation, analysis and voting of proposals, and in the evaluation of the practice.
The practice was tested during the youth month in March 2018, where young people presented and voted on proposals to be carried out in the following year of the youth month, During 2019 this was done again.
The YPB created in 2019 is the most recent project that the municipality has developed in order to have a more participatory community. The genesis of this practice, which has encouraged the participation of younger people, has been present since 2014 in other practices such as: participatory budget; the Mini Presidents project; Facebook Live Session.
The President of the Junta has been promoting, since 2018, fortnightly live sessions, reaching out to citizens by publicising projects, such as the YPB. Since 2014, public meetings of the executive and sessions of the parish assembly have been decentralised to different locations in the parish, in which the normative assumptions of the OPJ are discussed and approved.
The methodology was therefore tested through an initiative inserted in the youth month, followed by two different youth groups (Summer Camp and Roots Project).
In the first edition, during the three co-creation sessions and taking into account the participation of young people, the municipality and the Mypolis partners observed the behaviour of young people towards the activities and adapted the working methodology.
Gamification was associated with this participatory democracy project, since by participating (submitting and voting on proposals; receiving votes; making constructive comments on proposals...), young people were able to accumulate points, visible in the participation ranking and obtain prizes. The strategy designed for the participatory youth budget has always involved the constant participation of young people, who are an integral part of the construction of the whole process. In summary, YPB has been a constant challenge for all those involved in these two editions and the participation of young people has been very fruitful.
Sources (in portuguese):
Parish of Massamá and Monte Abrão