In 2017, the first edition of Participatory Budgets (PB) in Xàtiva was organized with significant individual and collective citizen participation. As a result of the evaluation of the process carried out in 2017, it was proposed that part of the 2018 PBs be allocated to a specific participation process for the youth in order to increase the impact of the project on the population as a whole and to improve the culture of citizen participation in the municipality.
The youth between 6 and 16 were able to decide how to spend a maximum of €10 000: €5000 euros for students in primary education and €5000 for students in secondary education. This part of the budget was destined either to investments or to the design of projects to promote citizen participation in the municipality.
The project aimed to train, design and implement PBs with the youth, at school centers and with the participation of teaching staff, in order to promote citizen participation for social improvement.
In order to transform the ideas of the youth into feasible projects, a 3-phase consultation process was proposed and carried out in all primary and secondary schools (public and subsidized) in the municipality:
- Formulation of proposals or ideas. This was carried out in school centers and was aimed at all students between 8-12 years old (primary) and 12-16 (secondary).
- Specification, selection and prioritization of proposals. This phase was carried out through meetings with student representatives from all the schools participating. In total, 24 boys and girls worked on all the proposals collected in classrooms, analyzing, discussing and reaching a consensus during 3 sessions held in the local cultural center. They selected 10 proposals based on their feasibility and preferences: 5 were to be voted on by primary school students and another 5 by secondary school students.
- Voting on proposals. This took place in schools with the participation of students from 6 to 16 years old.
10 proposals subject to vote
This was the list of proposals for primary schools:
- The Xàtiva playroom. New municipal leisure and meeting space with board games, movies, crafts, etc., for girls and boys from 6 to 12 years old with a game lending service.
- Inclusive adventure park. Adventure play area (rope pyramid, climbing wall, zip line, etc.) for girls and boys over 6 years old, also adapted for people with functional diversity.
- Eco-fun litter bins. Acquisition of waste separation bins to be placed in parks with fun graphic designs for girls and boys to improve the space and promote their use. The messages and drawings of the designs should be related to ecological awareness and recycling.
- Nice Xàtiva. Participatory school project for the design and creation of murals to be collectively painted addressing different social issues on International Days. The town council would facilitate and set up municipal mural spaces that can be used, preserved and maintained in the future.
- Take a bike. Acquisition and placement of bicycle parks in public spaces such as parks, gardens, entrances to educational centers, etc.
This was the list of proposals for secondary schools:
- Young connection. The creation of wifi areas in public meeting spaces for young people together with the installation of charging stations for mobile phones.
- Xàtiva without bullying. Participatory training project in Xàtiva schools to raise awareness of the need to end the problem of bullying. The physical result of the process will be the creation of a symbolic public wall-panel exhibited in Xàtiva where young people would be able to express their experiences, reflections and thoughts on the subject.
- New fountains for Xàtiva. Improve the maintenance of the current fountains of Xàtiva and renew those in poor condition to install new ones that facilitate their accessibility to people with functional diversity and the most vulnerable groups (older people, girls and boys, etc.).
- Find out about leisure. Provision of urban furniture for the creation of information points that display posters about youth and leisure programming in Xàtiva. They would be located in strategic places such as the entrances to school centers or open and public spaces frequented by young people.
- Bus shelter. Installation of shelters with benches at bus stops near Xàtiva schools so that students can protect themselves from rain and sun when they wait for the bus to arrive.
In primary, the winning proposal with 1091 out of 1765 votes was the Inclusive adventure park.
In secondary, the winning proposal with 944 out of 1330 votes was Young connection.
To implement the project, the municipality worked directly with school centers (8 primary and 3 secondary) as well as with the Municipal School Council. In addition, a Leading Education Group was created to coordinate with the local Department of Citizen Participation.
To disseminate the project, an official image was designed for use in different posters, roll-ups, videos, etc.
Ways of engaging young people
Participating students were able to involve themselves in the participatory process in different ways: preparation of proposals, decision-making selection of proposals (student representative of each center) and final voting (population from 6 to 16 years).
The proposal preparation phase was led by the teaching staff of the centers based on a toolkit prepared by the Xàtiva Department of Citizen Participation, while the decision-making sessions were led by the Department itself.
The polls were conducted in the educational centers themselves, where the city council provided ballot boxes.
Role of young people
- Managers to deliver the process
Positive aspects of the project/process
The consensus that the project generated at political, technical and educational level facilitated its implementation and coordinated work between the town council, educational centers and the educational community (School Council). This increased the participation of the youth in the process.
Main obstacles to the project/process
No major obstacles were observed in its evolution.
Opinion after implementation
The participation of youth must have its own space, with its own rules, languages and internal dynamics, in addition to the PB processes that are mainly centered on adults.
Accountability of resources
The technical, material and financial resources were provided by the Xàtiva town council itself.
1-3 tips (advices, warnings) from organizers or participants
- Participation is not only about raising your hand or pressing a button, but also about getting informed and getting to know the reality around us, making a critical analysis that leads to the design of proposals to improve the situation.
- The child's right to citizenship should not be for the future, but for the present.
Links to examples of application forms, voting styles, tools
- https://www.elperiodic.com/xativa/ school-xativa-propose-actions-for-voting-decideixativa-infantil_568115