The process of participation can be implemented with the use of a variety of different techniques that will be presented later in the course.
Let us now focus on the general structure of the process. In order to adequately plan participation we need to carefully prepare each step and inform the participants about it.
1. OBJECTIVE. Start with the detailed description of the objective. You must answer the following questions:
- why are we launching the participation process?
- what will be the consequences of the demands we work out?
- how will we implement them?
2. CONTEXT. If you are planning participatory activities in your school, it might seem that their context is obvious. Try to get the broadest perspective you can think of and analyse all the previous actions (both successful and unsuccessful) concerning the planned process. Also, gather information on the legal and administrative issues that must be taken into account in decision-making.
3. PEOPLE. This element is key to the project. No participation can take place without it. It is worth thinking about who is to be engaged in participatory actions and how. The following questions may be useful:
- who does your school community consist of?
- who is not visible and often marginalised?
- whose opinion is especially important for the process and who should be invited to have a say?
4. IMPLEMENTATION. After preparing and analysing the above issues, you are ready to plan the rest of the process. At this point, you should choose the technique, organise a working team, look for allies, and prepare a detailed action plan and meeting scenarios. Then you inform the participants about the process and implement the plan together with them.
5. RESULTS. The participation process ends when the planned actions are performed. Two more elements are crucial then:
- IMPLEMENTING THE RESULTS OF THE PROCESS