Need for Citizen Participation

Like the common saying goes, there are three kinds of people: those who “make” things happen, those who “watch” things happen and those who “wonder” what happened. And though we would all like to believe that we fall into the first category, in terms of citizen participation most of us are very far from it. It is necessary to make a critical analysis and decide whether we are actively helping make the changes that we demand, whether we take interest and keep ourselves up to date with what goes on in our community or whether we at least make a conscientious, informed decision when we vote. The idea that people should participate in planning, implementing and managing cities has gained wider acceptance among local governments and development agencies. It means a readiness of both the government and the citizens to accept certain responsibilities and roles. It can also mean that the value of each group’s contribution is acknowledged, appreciated and used. The honest inclusion of a citizen’s representatives as “partners” in decision-making, makes for successful participation. For Citizen’s participation to be truly effective, it is necessary for the people to be involved in all stages of planning, design, implementation and evaluation of an urban programme or project. The very success of a project may sometimes depend on the degree of participation of the beneficiaries.