Municipality of Chía, department of Cundinamarca
The municipality of Chía set out to guarantee the continuity of democratic processes by taking advantage of virtuality to reduce the scenarios of possible contagion by Covid 19, through virtual spaces destined for the election of councilors of the Municipal Council for Citizen Participation (CMPC), delegates of participatory budget, with inclusion strategies for rural areas, the elderly and people with disabilities.
The project proposed to promote virtual tools, mechanisms and methodologies to guarantee the continuity of the scenarios of citizen participation and community action in the framework of the pandemic derived from Covid-19, emphasizing the inclusion of the rural population of the municipality, the elderly, people with disabilities and those who in general do not have technological skills given their educational context/process. This objective has a broader purpose and is to contribute to the transformation of the political culture of the municipality, which prioritizes and confers greater legitimacy to face-to-face scenarios for decision-making in Citizen Participation, taking into account that the public health scenario at that we face can transcend time and configure a "new normality", where the right to citizen participation must be central, providing citizens with the tools, the culture of the virtual and the certainty that it is possible to participate with incidence electronically.
The fulfillment of this objective was generated through two macro processes: 1. The election of the representative of the peasants before the Municipal Council of Citizen Participation (Law 1757 of 2015) and the virtualization of the process of electing delegates and project ideas of the public policy of Planning and Participatory Budget (Law 1757 of 2015, Agreement 68-2014 and 141-2018 Chía). In this way, the stages of each macro-process and the associated evidence are described in broad strokes (attached folder).
In addition to the project, it was proposed to:
- Achieve greater levels of equality when participating and incorporate diversity as an inclusion criterion
- Community strengthening
- The strengthening of unorganized citizenship
- Expand the rights of citizens related to political participation
- Connect different participation tools within an "ecosystem" of participatory democracy.
- Improve the quality of public decisions through mechanisms of participatory democracy
- Improve the evaluation and monitoring of participatory democracy mechanisms
This strategy directly mobilized 4,888 people in participatory budgeting, 257 candidates, 23 people from Rural Community Action Boards, 5 members of the Municipal Rural Development Council, older people and people with disabilities. Indirectly, it benefits the inhabitants of the municipality, who can make use of virtual resources to participate, despite the pandemic situation and social distancing measures for the preservation of public health.
The project contributed to the transformation of the political culture of the municipality, which prioritizes and confers greater legitimacy on face-to-face scenarios for participatory decision-making. Platforms and virtual spaces were built for the inclusion of the rural sector and for the effective participation in participatory budgets of older people and people with disabilities.
- Consolidation of a virtual platform for the election of delegates to the participatory budget, which can be adapted to other instances and scenarios of citizen participation in the municipality.
- Virtual inclusion strategies for communities and populations that have limited access to the internet and virtual resources for participation.
- Territorial virtual voting points.
- Personalized visits at home, for the participation of the elderly, people with disabilities and people with limited mobility.
This experience had an "external electoral observation team" made up of public servants from public entities from other territories that have implemented the public policy of participation and participatory budgeting: Bogotá, Medellín, Mosquera, Pasto, who have provided feedback, taken reference elements and identified opportunities for improvement within this process.
In the same way, it had a guarantor commission, made up of the Mayor, the legal entity, the municipal registry, citizen participation oversight, the Territorial Planning Council and Asojuntas, who gave guarantees to this process.
Citizens that were part of this process committed themselves to generating pedagogical processes with their communities, generating innovative publicity to teach them how to use the tools, such as their own communication pieces, Tik-Tok, videos, bringing their own technological resources so that citizens can vote. and in general appropriating the process through the strategies they had at hand. To this extent, the administration complied with its powers and citizens contributed a little more in this process. Organizations of another type, such as citizen oversight, associations of community action boards and the territorial planning council, also acted as guarantors of the process, contributing ideas, identifying risk situations and meditating on them at the time.
The initiative directly involved: In the case of Participatory Planning and Budgeting, 2,607 people who were part of the election of delegates, 257 candidates, older people and people with disabilities who were part of the exercise. In relation to the election of the peasant candidate of the Municipal Council for Citizen Participation, 15 presidents of Rural Community Action Boards and their communities participated, as well as 5 members of the Municipal Council for Rural Development.
Indirectly, the project benefits all the inhabitants of the municipality, who can make use of virtual resources to participate, with an installed capacity for future administrations at a technological level and the learning of the communities, who little by little are transforming their political culture recognizing virtuality as a legitimate scenario to participate.
In terms of the differential approach, the populations that participated and benefited from the process are:
- Adolescents and young people: as candidates and as voters. As candidates, they appropriated technology, using creative resources such as Tiktok, videos, memes and through Facebook to summon their voters. Instant messaging (whatsapp) became an ally for democracy.
- Women: The process of inclusion and dialogue with the women of the municipality allowed total parity (50% men, 50% women) elected in the instance of Citizen Participation of the participatory budget, this being an achievement in terms of gender equity.
- Ethnic Groups: Although public policy does not have a differential ethnic focus in the administrative acts preceding this administration, we achieved the application and participation of black, Afro-descendant, Raizal and Palenquero peoples, as well as Muisca indigenous people from the municipality.
- Elderly People and People with Disabilities: The "Inclusion Week" within the participatory budget elections was the strategy that guaranteed that people with disabilities and older people who reported having difficulties to vote virtually, were visited by public servants of the mayor's office with electronic devices and biosafety measures to exercise their right to participation.
The experience took into account the economic conditions of people who do not have internet access and territorial conditions of people who are in rural areas, taking the citizen participation strategy to their territories, guaranteeing their fundamental right to citizen participation. Organizational, because it recognizes local actors (community action boards, population groups) and involves them as participants and as guarantors; social because it recognizes conditions such as the life cycle and disability, generating strategies to close gaps in access and policies because it gives accommodate the different political processes and ideological tendencies, without any discrimination.
Chía's political culture prioritizes attendance as a source of legitimacy for participatory spaces. In this way, implementing virtual strategies for citizen participation has been a fundamental action for the transformation of this political culture, in such a way that the participatory actors of the municipality have transformed some of their political practices, finding in virtuality a scenario to express their ideas, proposals and bets for citizen participation, breaking the barrier, mistrust and distance in the virtual, recognizing its potential for the full exercise of citizen participation.
In the same way, this initiative managed to involve other actors, who usually had not participated in the participatory budgeting process, given the centrality of the Community Action Boards that traditionally championed the process. In this way, virtuality transcended, reaching new scenarios, which allowed the election of new participatory subjects: people who recognize themselves as citizens in general, young people, older people, inhabitants of horizontal property, LGTBIQ population, neighborhoods residing in the municipality of Chía (among others) and a parity of 50% (14 women and 14 men), this being also a synonym of the capacity for inclusion for citizen participation in the municipality of Chía.
Citizen participation from your home, in your times and possibilities.
This initiative brings the fundamental right to citizen participation of people from their homes, either through connectivity (internet), territorializing the possibility of discussing and deciding on the participatory budget in their neighborhoods and villages, bringing resources to those who they do not have internet and with an important inclusion strategy, guaranteeing that older people and people with limited movement can access the law without risking their lives, health and stability.
The experience had an "external electoral observation team" made up of public servants from public entities from other territories that have executed the public policy of participation and participatory budgeting: Bogotá, Medellín, Mosquera, Pasto, who have provided feedback, taken reference elements and identified opportunities for improvement within this process.
In the same way, it had a guarantor commission, made up of the Mayor, the personería, the municipal registry, citizen participation oversight, the Territorial Planning Council and Asojuntas, who gave guarantees to this process.
Taking into account the reorientation of resources for the attention and mitigation of the crisis, the resources executed for the development of this initiative for the implementation of these virtual strategies for citizen participation, were derived from the optimization of operating and investment resources with those previously counted by the Secretariat of Citizen Participation and Community Action.
Any entity can implement this strategy, closing inequality gaps that limit citizen participation in terms of territory (low levels of connectivity and rural areas), economic condition (no internet access), conditions (disability-mobility problems) and cycle of life (older people with difficulties in dealing with information technologies) with the provision of technological resources to carry out elections and logistical territorialization schemes, identifying people with these needs and taking the resource to vote to their neighborhoods, villages and in cases to their homes, with biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of Covid19.
Instruments and evaluation strategies have been developed where the communities have valued the exercise of virtuality, its opportunities for improvement and the inclusion strategy where the participation of territory was guaranteed (low levels of connectivity and rural areas), economic condition (without internet access), conditions (disability-mobility problems) and life cycle (elderly people with difficulties with information technologies).
Safe Citizen Participation is a citizen participation strategy that seeks to guarantee the continuity of democratic processes within the municipality of Chía, taking advantage of virtual and electronic resources to reduce meeting and social contact scenarios, identified as high-risk scenarios for the contagion by contact for Covid 19. The objective of this initiative is to generate virtual spaces for citizen participation, such as the election of councilors of the Municipal Council of Citizen Participation, delegates of participatory budgeting, with inclusion strategies for inhabitants of the rurality, older people and people with disabilities. This initiative is being carried out during the second half of 2020 in the municipality of Chía and has scope for all participatory processes in the municipality.
This platform guarantees voting through prior registration and the triangulation of citizens with public databases, such as the municipal registry database and consultation in the System of the single database of BDUA affiliates of the general system of social security in health, through ADRES, this to guarantee that the participating citizens met the qualities defined by public policy. In addition to this, our public policy of participatory budgeting includes the participation of people over 14 years of age, which implied an articulation with the databases of the Municipal Secretary of Education to verify the age of the participants.
The innovation of the process and its adaptation to the COVID 19 Pandemic are based on two structuring principles:
1. The use of existing tools (google suite) for the development of activities that were previously face-to-face (CMPC Campesino Election) contributing to the transformation of a conservative and traditional sector in its ways of participating, such as rural inhabitants.
2. The creation of a technological-virtual system of citizen participation of the municipal administration through the ICT office, designed by the team of public servants of the mayor's office, with resources from the administration, through a joint exercise between the psychosocial team and the technical-computer team, adapted to the needs of our municipality for the continuity of participatory processes, a process that was born for participatory planning and budgeting but that can also be used for the election of the different instances of citizen participation. This system allows the elections that previously involved the agglomeration of people in a space for more than two or three hours to be held virtually, giving all the guarantees of transparency and legality.
The impact of the experience can be analyzed from various time scales. In the short term, it ensured that citizen participation exercises did not stop despite the public health situation and that virtual space was recognized as a legitimate setting for participatory action. In the medium and long term, it guarantees the adaptation of communities to virtual tools to exercise their right to citizen participation, allowing massive valid decision-making processes, technically and legally supported, to be carried out in confinement or non-confinement scenarios. This initiative included people with low, medium or high-end mobiles without distinction, since the validation was carried out through a text message, by means of a unique and unrepeatable key associated with the identity of the citizen of Chía, which guarantees the privacy and confidentiality of the vote.
On the other hand, it generated an impact on the political culture, through which the inhabitants of the municipality, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity, used virtual resources to present their candidacies, expose their ideas and motivate the vote of their communities. In this way, technological innovation in citizen participation was contributed, generating a new culture against the digital, the public and the citizen participation scenarios.
Application form (in Spanish)
The process - official website
Participate OIDP Platform