The National University of Rosario (UNR) is a community of more than 100,000 people made up of twelve Faculties and three Middle Schools located in the city of Rosario (Argentina).
Since 2020, the Participatory Budget (PBUNR) has been managed, structured from two independent participation processes: 1. PB Faculties, which involves people from the four cloisters, the twelve Faculties and other dependencies of the University; and 2. PB Schools: where each one of the schools works as an independent universe. In the latter, there are more than 5,000 young people between 13 and 18 years old qualified to participate.
We organize the PB UNR in three stages:
1. Forums (university and school), in which people from the university community propose ideas to intervene on various thematic axes (infrastructure, services, environment and sustainability, connection with the environment, etc.); they dialogue among themselves to enrich those ideas; and they present themselves as designers, if they so wish, in a second phase of the projects. This stage began in June and ended in August.
2. University Commission and School Councils, where the designers meet in two to three rounds of meetings over two months to transform ideas into feasible projects, together with technical staff from the University (PB Cabinet). This stage begins in September and ends in November.
3. UNR Decide and La Escuela Decide, when the university community chooses the projects to be implemented within the following year, by a secret and equal voting system (1 person 1 vote) with a single ballot. This stage will take place at the end of November.
The young people in the UNR Schools are involved from the first stage of the process to the last. For this, the role of the Referents of each School Institution is essential. It is a group of people (teachers and non-teachers) who collaborate in the coordination of the process. It is promoted that the PB also enter from the curricular content itself, for example, in the Ethics and Citizenship Training subject. In some cases the Student Centers are involved.
Communication through networks or other virtual media is not enough. It is essential to strengthen direct, personalized and
oriented to the different groups that make up an institution, since it promotes commitment, motivation, knowledge about the process and confidence in the tool. One on one is essential. However, social networks (Instagram and Twitter) as well as Whatsapp are also used.
The format of the participation was completely digital in 2020, crossed by the Covid-19 pandemic and hybrid in 2021. In this last way,
will continue to work, complementing the strengths of both types of scenarios. Attendance encourages a different type of meeting and conversation, it is our most powerful experience, but it can be continued on digital platforms with great success.
Ways of engaging young people
Young people participate individually but the work dynamics permanently promote exchange with others and the collective creation of projects. Participation is voluntary. It is important to promote ways to encourage horizontal dialogues between participants, with shared information and in a framework of respect and freedom. The presence of people who facilitate the instances of dialogue and preparation of collective proposals is essential.
Role of young people
- Managers to deliver the process
Opinion after implementation
We have conducted surveys in the two years of implementation of the policy and the participants are very satisfied with the results. It is proposed to improve the functioning of hybrid instances, increase the number of projects they can win and work longer on their development.
The possibility of meeting and discussion from another place to the usual representative channels is very well received.
Accountability of resources
Everything can be seen on the website: https://presupuestoparticipativo.unr.edu.ar/
Media coverage (please share links to reports about the process in the public media, such as newspaper articles, television, radio, etc.):