The Integrated Education Fund joined the Building Change Trust (BCT) at the recent ‘Democracy Day’ – part of the Imagine! Festival of Ideas & Politics in Belfast in March. The BCT hosted ‘Democracy Day’, to promote the idea that citizens should be at the centre of decision-making. The event explored the health of democracy in Northern Ireland and beyond through deliberation, debate and entertainment – showcasing some ground-breaking experiments, both locally and internationally, and initiating dialogue about the way ahead.
The Integrated Education Fund contributed to ‘Democracy Day’ with a session entitled “Debate, Deliberate, Decide – Consulting Communities”, demonstrating the work of the Fund’s community audit project, which is supported by BCT.
Participants were given an opportunity to take part in a deliberative poll, which is a mechanism for community consultation. The session began with a brief outline of deliberative polling, before involving everyone in the process using a hypothetical scenario. This included presentations, facilitated discussion, and electronic polling at the start and end to assess any changes in opinion.
Paul Braithwaite, who heads up the Trust’s work in this area said
“In the end, democracy boils down to people power, with citizens coming together to debate, deliberate and assert real control over their lives and society. As our Beyond Voting report makes clear, elections are only one piece of that puzzle.”
You can read the Building Change Trust’s Blog – ‘Every day is democracy day’ and access further resources on their website here.
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