The openness of a government to citizens’ participation is essential in addressing social inequalities. By including people’s involvement as a central thrust in governance, governments recognize the role of ordinary citizens in nation-building. This process of democratic participation brings barriers down one-by-one by letting those left behind in the society be part of the solution.
This strategic thrust of open and participatory governance also applies to responding to the current pandemic, as this can reveal who is the most vulnerable in society, namely those with the least access to public services.
The Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG) in the Philippines explores ways to continue supporting good governance through people’s participation as it faces the challenges of one of the world’s longest COVID lockdowns.
The link between good governance and people’s participation is inextricable. There can be no good governance without people’s contribution; and the people’s space to join is only possible if there is an agenda of good governance.
However, this pandemic has provided a challenge for people to participate in governance work.
The IPG designed the LeadGov Hub, a training hub for participatory and good governance supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, to be a ‘classroom session’ with the integration of digital technology in the conduct of training courses. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a retooling from a ‘classroom session’ to an online learning platform.
Arlene Santos, executive director of IPG, said “We have to shift and transform the hub to relevant courses to the ongoing health crisis and its implications for good governance.”
“One of its goals is to provide strong narratives from governance champions in the local community who will highlight innovation, reform, gender-responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of reform-oriented good local governance movers in the Philippines,” Santos said.
The LeadGov Hub offers online courses to local government elected officials, staff, and community volunteers. The courses are being designed to be a blended type of learning: a combination of synchronous learning such as online sessions, discussions and workshops, and asynchronous learning such as recorded discussions and other knowledge materials like hard copies of modules or articles.
Good governance in time of the pandemic should not only mean to address the virus’ spread the fastest way, but also how it includes people, aids people to participate, especially those who will be most affected by the virus, in the most humane way.
This package of good governance projects is IPG’s response to the call of the times – a reminder that the government needs its people to overcome the worst of situations in a society.
LeadGovX Episode 1 is available on Facebook and Youtube. The LeadGov Hub is a collaboration project between the IPG, Benilde School of Diplomacy and Governance and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Philippines Office.
Rye Manuzon is a programme officer of the Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG) and is implementing the LeadGov Hub project.
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