Governance Enhancement for Cohesive Societies

Citizen participation
Good Governance and Citizen Participation


Università Ca Foscari di Venezia , Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Gmajna cultural association (Lubljiana), Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia; Municipality of Parma, Centre for Immigration, Asylum and International Cooperation of Parma, Berlin University of Technology; Caritas Vienna, University of Vienna, National Association of Italian Municipalities of Emilia-Romagna Region, Initiative for the Self-Employment of Immigrant Women (Berlin)


European Regional Development Fund


Objective of the project

We want to enhance local public policies by promoting participatory governance models that involve vulnerable groups and CSOs working for and with them

Abstract of the project

The project focuses on enhancing participatory and deliberative processes, particularly in two areas: access to and provision of care services and environmental policies. It aims to improve citizens’ skills in co-designing public services and increase the capacities of local institutions towards cooperative governance. The project is implemented in Berlin, Ljubljana, Vienna, and Parma, involving local stakeholders, institutions, and vulnerable groups in promoting four participatory and deliberative experiments with both top-down and bottom-up approaches.

Context analysis

Unemployment, poverty, and material deprivation create barriers to full participation in society. Vulnerable groups – including individuals from migratory backgrounds, the elderly, disabled people, and those with low incomes or poor health – are challenging to engage and include in participatory governance processes. The accessibility, proximity, and quality of public services are critical aspects that define quality of life. Citizen participation in defining public policies and services is essential, as they have direct experience of what works and what does not. The lack of access to public services and economic and social opportunities exacerbates social exclusion and inequality. By enhancing participatory governance, GEtCoheSive addresses these challenges, also integrating environmental concerns.

Venezia, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Parma, Province of Parma, Italy

Bologna, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Vienna, Austria

Berlin, Germany

The activities will be implemented in Italy and Europe.

Implementation Period

01/04/2023 - 31/03/2026



Citizens directly involved in the pilots (at least 100 in each city); people invited to public events or who access project website and social media (at least 300 in each city); Local Public Authorities; Regional Public Authorities; Universities and Research Centers; Interest Groups and NGOs.


Project Strategy


  • Pilot actions with top-down participatory methodology: These activities will be initiated and led by public authorities such as the Municipality of Parma and the association of municipalities in Slovenia, focusing on the area of social services. Citizens will be involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of these activities.
  • Pilot actions with bottom-up participatory methodology: These actions will be implemented by partner NGOs (Caritas, CIAC, KDG, ISI-eV), which will conduct co-design processes to promote the participation of vulnerable groups. These pilot actions also aim to increase awareness among local institutions of these processes, ensuring ownership and the implementation of process outcomes. The methodology draws from experiences of deliberative assemblies, co-designing and co-programming processes, participatory policy evaluation, and civic monitoring.
  • AAIT guides the co-design of pilot actions through the following training and mentorship activities:
  • One participatory workshop and in-depth exploration of participatory and deliberative practices and how to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups.
  • Online training for partners on methodologies, strategies to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups, and best practices to be implemented in participatory processes to plan the operational phases of activities.
  • Drafting of a Format Workplan to plan the implementation steps of pilot actions.
  • Partner support in self-evaluation activities through guiding questions.
  • Coordination of the development of 4 tools based on practices and lessons learned from pilot implementation, addressing local administrations to improve inclusion and civic participation and to promote co-programming between the third sector and local institutions.
  • Exchange and mutual learning activities.



  • Co-design of 4 pilot projects for experimenting with participatory and deliberative governance practices aimed at including individuals from vulnerable groups and civic organizations.
  • Development of 4 toolkits based on tested practices to strengthen civic engagement of vulnerable groups and enhance the relationship between local authorities and Third Sector Organizations.
  • Transnational strategies and action plans to implement a participatory governance process with vulnerable groups and Third Sector Organizations. The beneficiaries are public authorities, who gain increased skills and trust from citizens, and citizens who are empowered to participate in policy-making and acquire the skills to be active stakeholders.


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