Top 5 tips on empowering citizens


Have you ever felt your citizens to be without energy?

And did you ever wished you were Gandhi to be able to inspire them and make them participate?

Well, I have the recipe to be Gandhi!

First, always think of simplicity and minimalism.

Second, make participatory budgeting simple and stress free.

Lastly, be consistent with the first and second rule. This will make you focused on your commitment to your citizens. Participatory budgeting will became your tool.

Your leadership will then have the high energy you need to give power back to people.

But how can you give power back? Here are some thoughts.

1. Teach them how to build ideas/proposals

More educated and informed citizens will be more participative.

There are those born with the gift, but we all can learn the skill.

Put in place simple and cost effective processes, which everyone can absorb.

2. Communicate as much as possible… and a bit more

Learn how to communicate well, through all channels and with all your citizens.

Make sure your message is simple and clear.

Connect with them without stressing or putting pressure.

3. Use proponents names

Create stories, not projects or ideas.

Your citizens will be fascinated by the plot and keep themselves engaged.

4. Allow non-voting groups

Reaching to citizens you otherwise don’t in standard political procedures is a different way of encouraging society as an all.

In Paris for example, quoting an article on “The Guardian”, “As a foreigner this was my only chance to have a voice … so I jumped at the opportunity,” says Omid Tavallai, a 39-year-old software marketing professional from San Francisco who has lived in the city’s 2nd district for six years. “Even if it’s for relatively trivial stuff, it still feels somewhat empowering.”

In Portugal we’ve seen an increase of Youth participatory budgeting. They’re a big percentage of our population… and more important they are tomorrows’ adults.

In New York and US in general, participatory budgeting has been important as a way to reach minorities and non-voting persons. The social impact has been huge!

5. Be creative … don’t expect different results from doing the same thing.

Someone once said Einstein said this… well, he might! By he’s not the author.

Either way, innovate, learn from others but always try to transpose to your reality.

You’re still not Gandhi?

Either I wasn’t simple enough or you’re still in stress. If so try a 9’ meditation with Ananda Giri – The Oneness OM and read the post again.

Writen by César Silva @ ChangeTomorrow

You can reach me at

This blog is a place of experience and thoughts sharing around democracy, participatory initiatives and citizen engagement.

This blog reflects the thoughts of ChangeTomorrow team, its guest bloggers or interviewers.

ChangeTomorrow is a provider of Participatory Budgeting solution called Participare and a spinoff of portuguese market leader WireMaze.

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