From online to offline participation: Public hearings

A video from 'Dooz' is being screened during a public hearing.

A video from ‘Dooz’ is being screened during a public hearing. (Photo: DWA)

Complementary to the online platform, the project organized public hearings on local issues. The public hearings saw citizens enter into a direct dialogue with representatives of the municipal administration and local councilors. The website served as an instrument to provide food for thought and underpinned these hearings by providing more in-depth information through videos, interviews, and articles to ensure a more balanced discussion. It also served as a means for follow-up in the aftermath of the debate.

The public hearings proved to be a valuable tool to foster public participation and address pressing issues in the City of Nablus. While local authorities threw off their reluctance to interact with its citizens, the public and especially young people were highly interested in participating in the discussions. A public hearing on hospital waste, for example, attracted a lot of attention. After the discussion, a committee was formed to investigate the issue and develop approaches to solving the problem.

Participants of a public hearing (Photo: DWA)

Participants of a public hearing (Photo: DWA Wendisch)

The mayor of Nablus has actively supported the public hearings and has become a frequent visitor of the website. The commitments made during the public hearings were thus seized during meetings of the local council and have been accommodated in local action plans.

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