Citizenship Education for the Blossoming of Participatory Democracy
8 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019
Date Written: April 25, 2019
This research had the objective of exploring the impact of education in citizens’ competences, whilst using the Participatory-Action-Research (PAR) methodology — created by the sociologist Orlando Fals Borda (1970) — on leaders that work with teens in impoverished and marginalized communities. The study explores the impact of the training on five NGO’s in citizens competences for the empowerment and promulgation of participatory democracy. We expected to scrutinize PAR’s methodology and the training in citizens competences with content and other methodologies that transform the research practices and encourage citizen’s empowerment. By practicing the seven phases of PAR, we designed surveys, conducted interviews and visited five NGO’s that offer educative services in Puerto Rico to identify their needs. We facilitated workshops on cognitive, emotional, social and communicative competences — according to their felt-expressed needs. Afterwards, we designed and implemented evaluations using participatory methodologies. The results indicate they incremented in 75 percent their consciousness, knowledge and strengthened their ability to make individual and collective decisions. It led them to a sense of empowerment as citizens and leaders that can play a role in the development of democratic practices in their NGO’s, their community and the public policy education of their country. They recognize, in over 80 percent of their responses, the need of incorporating participatory methodologies as well as citizens’ competences to their programs and curriculums. Also, they suggested the board of directors should be trained on these methodologies and contents, in order to transform the NGO’s that serve disadvantaged communities.
Keywords: PAR, Citizens Competences, Participatory Democracy, Empowerment
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