Recent events have shown that the relationship between government and citizens is in need of repair. In just the last few years, we have witnessed calls from all over the world, from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to the Open Government Partnership, for governments to become more open, accountable and responsive by deepening their engagement with citizens. As a result, interest in citizen engagement programs for effective development has gained momentum. At the same time the World Bank Group, which has long recognized the role of citizen engagement in improving development results, has developed a strategic approach to mainstreaming citizen engagement in its operations. This MOOC has been developed to explore what is meant by citizen engagement and how it can be used to enhance development impact.
This second offering of the course includes a new, exciting fifth module that looks at citizen engagement in practice. We hear from local practitioners implementing different citizen engagement approaches in various sectors including water, health, and education in Ghana and Kenya. They discuss how citizen engagement mechanisms and tools are adapted for their specific country context and sector, examining practical challenges and lessons learned. We also look at Korea’s innovative approach to involving citizens in the audit of public services.
The 5-week course brings together a diverse range of experts to provide students with a comprehensive overview of citizen engagement. It begins by synthesizing the theories and concepts that underlie citizen engagement, and goes on to explore how citizens can be engaged in both policymaking and public service delivery. Finally, the course investigates how recent innovations are shaking up the field, and how citizen engagement is implemented, monitored and evaluated in the field. Our presenters, leaders in academia, government, and civil society, provide a wide range of perspectives and real-world experience to give participants a deeper understanding of whether citizen engagement can truly enhance the process of development. Participants will also have the opportunity to collaborate with one another and design their own citizen engagement initiatives, thereby putting theories learned in the course into practice.