The CGAP works to fill in what is missing in our community/s. At present, the main thing being a proper independent institution that can facilitate and encourage community involvement in decision making and action in issues and developments that will affect ordinary people most. We will do this by developing a common good fund asset, namely an old farmhouse building in Elder park Govan, back into community use and control through democratic means.
The groups efforts are guides to help get people started to finding their own paths. They are not instructions on what to do. The problems in our communities are far to diverse for plug in answers. This is one of the biggest problems, is that authorities apply one size fits all solutions to problems in our communities that are far to complex for this approach. Only individual communities themselves know what is needed, they are the experts closest to their own problems. What we offer is a half empty toolbox that can be added to. Some of the tools will need replaced, improved on and maybe even cast aside. We are a volunteer group. We have no financial interests in what we do and are affiliated to no political party. Like a union we are only as strong as our members. We are passionate in what we do, but fully understand we can not do it on our own.
Our Participatory Action Research project will be to figure out how we will do this around themes of:
• The importance of self determination in affecting any kind of change.
• Using the privilege and liberty we are afforded by the sacrifice of others before us.
• Building solidarity around discovering what the community cares about most.
• Creating useful strategies that are adaptable to encouraging –getting started.
• Using work already done (ideas) rather than creating more work for people.
• Carrying out activities with imagination and making them enjoyable.
• Documenting this process as freely available collateral towards progressive change.
And to help build structure we can develop and expand for the use of ourselves and others.
CGAP is committed to ensuring that the rich diversity of the community is well represented in the process. We will tailor a strategy in collaboration with our local partners, to recruit participants and reach our established targets.
CGAP will work with local partners to provide participants with accessible materials that frame the issues involved and provide a baseline of data upon which participants may begin their discussions. This framing process may involve identifying a series of choices that must be made by the public in order to address our challenges.
Every person who participates in an CGAP meeting plays an active role in the deliberations. Every voice is heard and no ideas are lost.
CGAP meetings foster consensus among participants and identify shared priorities. Our use of technology will support participants in identifying community-wide priorities out of a true discussion. As themes emerge from the discussions, they will be reported back to the group for decisions on what to take forward.
Link to Action:
CGAP will design our citizen engagement initiatives to create the conditions needed to produce meaningful action and change. CGAP team will help to craft the scale, composition and design of the engagement strategy to build credibility with the community, the media, key stakeholders and the public as a whole.
A National Infrastructure:
We are working also to development of a national infrastructure for democratic deliberation that institutionalises the links between decision-makers and citizens in determining public policy and the right for citizens to help form the questions around things that affect them most. With a national infrastructure in place, public discussions could be organised quickly to generate citizen input on the important issues we face country wide.
To make this national infrastructure a reality, we need to:
• Develop partnerships with other organisations to create coordinating institutions
• Increasing elected officials’ knowledge of and commitment to public discussions
• Recruit and training a national network of volunteer facilitators
• Develop public outreach processes to ensure diverse and representative participation
• Develop appropriate technologies and approaches to facilitate effective dialogue.