My first time

It's been a while. It was autumn 2010. I had come with a camera. I should document how a citizens' council – in this case a youth council – proceeds. What I was able to experience in the course of this civic council from the observational role triggered something in me that I could only fully comprehend with my training as a "DFer". In between were 6 years and finally a very intensive training as a dynamic facilitation instructor as part of a mentoring program with Jim Rough. 


For me, dynamic facilitation – in whatever context – means strengthening the individual, strengthening the community. In the special case of the Bügerrat, it means that with DF we have a tool at our hands to help people say goodbye to old, limiting ways of thinking. From the passive role, a consumer attitude, a development takes place to the active designer of the respective environment.


In Dynamic Facilitation, the focus is not on the big picture, the well-being of the group to which it is necessary to subordinate itself. On the contrary, Dynamic Facilitation focuses on the individual with all his fears, worries and needs. Every participant, every participant of a citizens' council, is allowed to communicate, to say what is to be said. The form of moderation with Dynamic Facilitation protects against direct attacks and thus enables a conversation in deep familiarity. 


People who are otherwise reluctant to speak out, having learned that expression of opinion could be associated with inconvenience or even sanctions, experience respect and recognition for their contribution. They are heard. And all these things heard and said are co-written. Nothing is lost. Information, concerns, problems and solutions are visible to all on the flipchart sheets. It is not argued, but rather all aspects and perspectives are gathered and put into the round as a resource for finding solutions. That makes a difference to people. This goes deeper, especially emotionally deeper than a technical discussion could ever do. 


After two days of dialogue in this form, the group has grown together, got to know hidden niche realities and learned from each other and from each other: respect, recognition, trust and the certainty of solving problems on their own initiative – collectively. 


It is now the case that the Citizens' Council has no decision-making power. It is a consultative body that dissolves after the Citizens' Council and comes together in a new constellation, again randomly selected from the total population, in order to bring one of the great social questions to a solution. In this sense, more cautious treatment by politicians with the results of the highest priority is. "Polites" describes the one who advocates for the inhabitants of the Greek city council, the Polis. The politician is therefore committed to the citizens. 


Before politicians convene a citizens' council, it must therefore ask itself who it is making policy for and whether it has the courage to accept the solutions of the Citizens' Council with respect and recognition. This preys on taking a stance as a politician and preserving it.


The Citizens' Council provides a picture of the mood of the population as a whole. Ignoring this issue with semi-silk arguments would be fatal, because it leads to a negative chain of association of civic participation – into a participation trap. Instead of drawing strength from civic participation, civil society is weakened and even more the old victim – perpetrator scheme of Die-Da-Oben and We-Armen-Da-Unten is served. This makes it all the more important to include media coverage in the citizens' councils. The media could act as a corrective. I therefore call on the media to make the Citizens' Council palatable, as it produces new narratives that are not based on black-and-white painting, but go the way through responsibility, trust towards collectively supported solutions.

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