Citizens have limited time and possibilities to make their voice heard or even reflect on what is the role of democratic institutions, and in particular parliaments, or what their desired features should be. Ignoring this knowledge and confidence gap will further weaken the ability of parliaments to be truly representative and legitimate and citizens’ expectations that their interests will be effectively served. So if citizens could "build" their parliament from scratch, what would it look like?
Trust in representative institutions is decreasing across most European countries. In particular political parties and parliaments are no longer seen as the place where the various interests and groups in society aggregate. In many instances - as opinion polls show - citizens see parliaments as places where vested interests are represented, populated by self-interested or corrupt politicians, non-transparent and unaccountable.
“Build your Parliament” hopes to encourage people to think about what they expect their parliaments to be and do in order to enjoy both legitimacy and trust. It asks citizens to recreate this fundamental democratic institution in an interactive way through an online game. The project will thus serve as a positive representation of a fundamental democratic institution that is currently losing citizens’ trust and by consequence as a means to help bridge the perception gap.
The project team will use their extensive social network as well as social media to invite citizens to go on the project website, read about parliaments and play a game that asks them to build their parliaments with virtual "bricks". They will do an extensive literature review in order to select a set of values or attributes (the "bricks") that can be associated with the institution of parliament. In the final stage of the project the theoretical concepts used to create the methodology will be correlated with the responses (the choices) that citizens will select by playing the game and write short policy-oriented analyses that can be used for advocacy. Not least, the results of the project will be disseminated to the media and various NGOs to be used for further programming.
Citizens from 15 Central and Eastern European and Western Balkan countries who are active on social media (main recruitment base) and internet literate as the project involves an online game. The target group also includes, on a broader sense, NGOs and members of parliament who are working on issues of transparency, accountability and trust.
The game will provoke the reflection on the role and attributes of parliaments and invite citizens to take the time and think about them, thus becoming better informed. Based on the information gathered about the frequency with which certain attributes or values are used, regionally and at country level, we can create models of parliamentary institutions to inform outreach and transparency policies at the level of national parliaments and - why not - at the level of the European Parliament.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Web design & updates/maintenance = 3 000 EUR Overhead/office expenses (laptop, printer, etc.)= 5 000 EURHosting & Domain & Maintainance = 500 EUR Salaries INK staff (research, content creation, promotion, reach-out) = 10 800 (12 months x 3 persons x 300 EUR) Promotion = 2 000 EUR
Mainly through the use of social media as well as networks of European NGOs working on civic issues, to which team members belong. The results of the project will be disseminated to the media and various NGOs to be used for further programming, advocacy and even policy-making.