A new recreational centre was planned in the municipality of Litija. The main attraction of the recreational centre is a pump track for biking. Additionally, further offers and activities were to be included in the plan of the park. Since the playground is intended for use by the youth, it was important to ask them about their ideas, wishes and needs. Otherwise, the park could not cater to their needs.
The main challenge was that local youth did not know about the participation opportunity.
The OPIN platform allowed young people to easily contribute their opinions online and enabled the municipality to engage with young people. In order to collect ideas from the young people, the local organization Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia used the OPIN brainstorming tool. Participants can create proposals, comment on the proposals of other participants, and can even like them. In Litija, the participation process lasted from May until mid-June and resulted in the collection of 25 valuable suggestions that can now be integrated into the detailed planning of the recreational park.
So, how were these results created? Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia turned to the local high school for support.
An exciting benefit of the project for the high school was the engagement of young people in the development of their local environment and helping them become active citizens.
Sociology and physical education teachers were asked to present the participation project in their classes and invite pupils to take part. In dedicated lessons, the Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia gave a brief introduction to the OPIN platform and how it works. This was also an opportunity to get the pupils on board and create OPIN accounts. Pupils then deliberated on their wishes and needs and posted their proposals on the OPIN platform. They were able to use their own smartphones to access the platform and could see already existing ideas from other young people and integrate them into their discussions. This way, the participation could span across different school classes and reach a variety of youth.
In the second phase, until September, the municipality will give feedback on the collected ideas and their feasibility.
Young people will be invited to give further input and vote on the best ideas that have been gathered thus far using the idea-collection tool on OPIN. This tool allows participants to vote on proposed ideas. Young people can democratically choose their favoured proposals and prioritize ideas. The final results will be handed over to the municipality, which will then present how they proceeded with the results and explain their decision to the public.
One key to success was the connection between the municipality and the high school. Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia took on a mediating role, supported all participants, and provided the expertise on e-Participation as well as the platform OPIN. In the first step, e-Participation’s benefits, OPIN and its tools were presented to the municipality in order to demonstrate the benefits of the platform. Through motivated teachers and the opportunity to present the participation project directly in class, a large number of young people could be reached, and their questions could be answered immediately. Having all of the recommendations online and in one place allows for greater transparency, engagement of young people, and application of the results. Prior to the project, there was little cooperation between the municipality and the high school in Litija on local development, however, this Participation project laid the foundation for future youth participation.
The Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia has been leading, co-ordinating and connecting development projects of the area since 2000. It offers support to youth institutions, young people and others in all steps of implementing a participatory project.Take a look at all Ambassadors