Citizens should be allowed to give their opinion on everything that concerns them, so they can participate in the decision-making process. This helps to strengthen the relations and mutual trust between institutions and citizens. When citizens participate in decision-making, they also feel responsible for their implementation. At the same time, they demand responsibility accountability from the institutions.
This is how Filip Stojanovski, program director at the Metamorphosis Foundation explained the need for such an application at today’s promotion of the Picodemocracy mobile app. While opening the event, Stojanovski explained that the idea of the tool is to enable polling in the form of mini-referendums.
“Large groups of citizens are being asked simple questions by state bodies, municipalities, NGOs, media, etc. in order to quickly and efficiently obtain opinions on certain issues”, said Stojanovski. He added that citizens’ privacy is protected, without them leaving their personal data when installing the application, and the YES and NO answers are in an aggregated form.
“This type of survey of the citizens corresponds to a kind of crowdsourcing, i.e. use of groups in order to come up with a certain solution or a kind of collective wisdom,” said Stojanovski. According to him, the success of this application depends on the degree of involvement of the citizens. It is a bilingual application (Macedonian or Albanian language can be used), and the results from the polls can be shared on the social networks. Everyone interested can install the free app on Android or iOS mobile devices.
“Pico means small, and therefore, the idea is to start from tiny droplets that would create a big wave of democratization,” said Stojanovski.
Damjan Zdravev from Reactor – Research in Action, outlined that their research indicated that 60 percent of the citizens believe they can participate in the decision making process easier if they provide their opinions on certain policies online or via e-mail.
“At the same time, young people who are considered to be an indifferent and inactive group, are mostly using the internet when it comes to expressing their views. Therefore, I believe that this application will be most useful for the promotion of their views,” said Zdravev.
The director of the Macedonian Center for European Training (MCET), Bojan Maricic agrees that the trust of citizens and NGOs in the institutions is declining.
“However, I think that if the activism (formal and informal) is intensified, it would help restore the citizens’ trust that they can change some things both through and in the institutions,” says Maricic. In his presentation, he explained the IPA mechanism as a form of civic participation.
The Picodemocracy application is developed as part of the “Good Governance Action Network” project, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation in partnership with MCET and Reactor – Research in Action, and supported by the European Union. The project aims to enhance the involvement of civil society in the public opinion creation, in policy-making and participation in the decision-making mechanisms, and to increase the capacity of civil society for dealing with important societal issues.