During the pandemic many spheres of life face new challenges, in particular, in the field of ensuring the activities of local governments and maintaining successful achievements. Particular attention should be paid to participatory practices, such as the Participatory Budgeting, as well as initiatives aimed at ensuring gender equality and social inclusion. Communities face a number of challenges in funding such projects, communicating with stakeholders and implementing the projects. Three days of the Forum, which took place on November 11-13, 2020, were dedicated to discussions how to adapt the participatory governance instruments to new challenges.
Among the participants of the V International Forum of Participation Practitioners were:
Practitioners from all over Ukraine
Experts from the UK, Poland, Georgia, US and Portugal
Representatives of local self-governance, NGOs and experts from Dnipro, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Severodonetsk, other cities of Ukraine and amalgamated territorial communities
About 300 participants from Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, US, Portugal, Great Britain, Moldova, Canada, the Czech Republic and Albania
Every day of the event was dedicated to a separate issue:
- how to maintain democracy during quarantine period
- how to build up trust through participation
- participation in action – open discussions

Every day of the event was dedicated to a separate issue:
- how to maintain democracy during quarantine period
- how to build up trust through participation
- participation in action – open discussions

Online format
How to maintain democracy during quarantine period?
How did the pandemic affect participation: challenges and new opportunities?

- Influence of the pandemic on participatory budgeting worldwide
- Transformation of the Participatory Budget
- Online and offline communication and e-platforms
- New opportunities for participation under COVID-19 situation in Georgia

Gender equality and social inclusion during participation

– Gender policy in Ukraine: providing more opportunities for participation for women
- Participatory budget as a way of popularizing gender urbanism
- Participation tools in urban development programs and other regulatory documents
- Including vulnerable groups to the Participatory budget
- Plenary session 1. How has the pandemic changed participatory budgeting: challenges and new opportunities?
- Plenary session 2. Gender equality and social inclusion in the context of participatory budgeting
How to build up trust through participation?
Participation challenges and achievements - discussion of the previous two days of the Forum

Small group discussion: engaging residents at all stages of the budgeting process
- The results of the study "Local Budget Transparency Index"
- How to engage residents in budget planning, implementation and monitoring
- Communication plans for budget transparency and openness

- Small groups discussion: distribution of participation in different areas
- Participation in spatial planning
- Youth participation
- Standards of participatory budget
- Plenary session 3. Participatory budgeting in a new way: new practices and area of involvement
- Plenary session 4. Between values and procedures: How can trust be formed and participatory budgeting transformed?
Participation in action – open discussions
Participation in a New Way: New Practices and Areas.

- Deliberative Participatory Budget. Experience of Gdynia (Poland).
- Participatory practices in Georgia
- School participatory budget
- Best world practices: Atlanta participatory budget
Between Values and Procedures: How to Build Trust and Transform Participation?
- Stories of changes for good governance.
- Global participatory budget support and mentorship program
- How to stay in contact with residents
- Why do we need participation and how it changed the community
- Group 1. Communication plans for budget transparency and openness (UK)
- Group 2. How to get citizens involved in budget planning, implementation, and monitoring (UK)
- Group 3. Findings of the "Local Budget Transparency Index" study (UK)
- Group 1. Participatory budgeting in spatial planning (EN)
- Group 2. Involvement of young people (EN)
- Group 3. Participatory budgeting standards (UK)
Leonid Donos
Executive Director of the Association for the Communities Participatory Development
"It's a number of times that the Forum has become a powerful platform for sharing experience and best practices among the wide circle of experts and those who only start their participatory development journey. An important element of this Forum is networking of the participation practitioners, including networking with international experts – new examples of cooperation are formed which undoubtedly will result in some positive outcomes"
Oleksandr Kucherenko
Director of PLEDDG Project (Partnership for local Economic Development and Democratic Governance)
"As far back as five years ago participatory budget was the innovative practice for the cities of Ukraine, while nowadays this tool of engaging citizens in budget distribution process is used by more than 250 cities of Ukraine. This indicates the need of citizens for tools of direct action and the willingness of local government to actively involve residents in managerial decision-making. Therefore, the PLEDDG Project supports implementation of democratic open government practices, which primarily involves active involvement of citizens in governance and decision-making, accountability and transparency of local self-government bodies and provision of high-quality administrative services to the population"
Nana Tavdumadze
Head of Staff in Ozurgeti Municipality, Georgia
"Dear participants! I express my sincere gratitude to Mr Leonid Donos and all the organizers from the Association for the Communities Participatory Development, Solidarity Fund PL in Georgia, Justyna Kucuk, Volodymyr Abramiuk for the opportunity to participate in the V International Forum of Participation Practitioners. My friends and colleagues, please, accept gratitude from me and representatives of our region Guria for the opportunity to speak and share our experience during this Forum, which hosted more than 200 participants from Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Portugal, England, the Czech Republic, Albania, Canada and US. I am confident that together we'll be able to learn and choose the most useful and interesting tools of citizens' participation. It was great to speak in my native tongue and listen in Ukrainian, which is the language spoken by many of my friends. You are a great team and have great partners. We stay in touch and looking forward to the next meeting".
Nelson Dias
Coordinator of the Network of Participatory Municipalities in Portugal, Coordinator of the Group of Authors of the Global Participatory Budget Atlas, Portugal
"The forum brought together more than two hundred participants from Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Great Britain, the US and India. All the participants were online. This new world brings a bit of fatigue from video conferencing, webinars and virtual meetings, but on the other hand, these events have lots of advantages, including those maintaining channels of communication and cooperation and breaking the isolation of the pandemic. We are not alone in this world. Solidarity and socialization of problems are important for us to find the best ways to follow".
Roman Shyrokikh
Forum moderator, Poltava
"A quiet hour is time when you create some space for reflection, where you can calm down, slow down and be buried in thoughts, it's that space where you can hear yourself and be heard by others. Realizing that it is technically difficult to provide a "quiet hour" online due to non-immersion in the Forum environment, we still managed to have an open talk, share thoughts about the benefits of the online-Forum, about the results of previous two days, raise and remember the topics discussed over these two days. I personally noticed that the participants of the groups were most interested in the impact of the pandemic on PB practice, of interest were such issues as gender equality and youth engagement in the participatory budget. In general, the emotional atmosphere is inspiring, however, there is a feeling of lack of finality which can be explained by online format. There is also lack of space for communication, as it was during the coffee break, as it was a tradition to mention apples during the Forum".
Orest Fayfurka
Head of the Public Partnership Department in Lviv City Council
"For me, the International Forum of Participation Practitioners is one of the key events of the year. This is a good opportunity to meet friends with whom you are on the same page, get acquainted with the experience of other cities and share your own. Unfortunately, 2020 limited our live communication; however, the forum still took place in Zoom format. We discussed the challenges posed by the pandemic and learnt how different communities are adapting to such conditions. For example, in Lviv we managed to get a record turnout of 103,825 people, while 96% voted online. And the share of votes in the Centers for Administrative Services, according to the previous record, was only 4% instead of the traditional 20%. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to see familiar faces, at least on the screen, and I'm looking forward to our new meetings".
Julia Pavliuk
Director of the Department of Innovative Development in Dnipro City Council
"For the fifth year in a row practitioners and supporters of participation in Ukraine gather in one city to discuss pressing issues, share experience and find ways to develop and improve participation mechanisms. Dnipro is always happy to join such a commotion of participation fans. This year the V International Forum of Participation Practitioners was held in an unusual format, meeting today's challenges and all the quarantine regulations! It was online-forum, however, the format of the event has not diminished its productivity and effectiveness! Forum participants from different countries all over the world discussed the pressing topics! I am really grateful to Forum organizers for inviting me as a speaker, I truly enjoyed communication with my colleagues, learning from them and sharing Dnipro experience"
Urzsula Majewska
Social Innovation Lab in Gdynia, Poland
"At the Forum I felt the need to find something new, new ideas and development. Therefore, I do appreciate that we managed to bring together so many participants and representatives of different countries. It should be emphasized that each of them brought their valuable experience. It is especially interesting and pleasant for me to see the advancement in the field of participation development made by countries that followed Polish example with respect to participatory budget development. A sense of global relations gives you strength that is needed at this time"
Andriy Mosha
Forum participant, secretary of the Coordination Council for Participatory Budget, Sumy
"In my opinion, this Forum was both traditional and unique at the same time. After all, similar to the previous ones, the Forum saw successful combination of exchange of experience on the best participation practices in Ukraine and worldwide and joint reflections and search for ways to further develop the tools of public participation. Unique - because of its format, which has become a real challenge for organizers and donors, as well as for us, forum participants. Together we managed not only to preserve the format of combining panel discussions and group work that had been used for many years, but also to give it new meanings and opportunities due to its online-nature. Of course, we felt lack of personal communication with friends and colleagues from Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, Portugal, Moldova, Australia… But the warm atmosphere from the meeting, actually with a large family of participants, will be cherished in my heart till the next Forum. And I'm sure it will happen soon!"
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From offline to online
(click on the description to get more information about each of them)
II International Forum of Participation Practitioners "Participatory Budgeting
from А to Z"

For two days of the Forum the participants shared their experience and reviewed the best practices and expertise with the experienced moderators at 15 diverse sessions. Representatives from 100+ communities and guests from Georgia, Moldova and Great Britain discussed how to make the Participatory Budgeting really public and effective in order to change the society and make it bring the changes itself while implementing its own ideas.
III International Forum of Participation Practitioners "Between Values and Procedures – Support and Transformation of Participatory Budget"
The Forum took place on 26-27 October 2018 and was designed using Open Space Technology. For two days the participants offered the topics and worked on them. At the end of the sessions the participants designed the Open Space Book "The Lost Illusions of Participatory Budgeting: How to Support and Transform the Participatory Budgeting".
V International Forum of Participation Practitioners
Due to the pandemic the forum was held online, however, it did not prevent the participants from discussing the issues of participation transformation. On November 11-13 2020 the forum participants discussed current challenges and new opportunities, gender equality and social inclusion, engagement of resident to budgeting processes, etc.
Useful links and Forum presentations