Covid-19 Response: Participatory Innovations in Pandemic Times
By the Participedia Team
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, face-to-face contact is no longer safe. Communities everywhere are scrambling to combat the mounting crisis of overloaded healthcare systems, while also undertaking new practices of social distancing (and isolation) in attempts to “flatten the curve” that traces the virus’s spread. What impact is this new reality having on public participation, especially within the context of democratic systems?
Citizens, governments, NGOs, businesses, and others are using participatory practices to respond to the enormous challenges this pandemic is creating. Mass Singing, Virtual Hackathons and Community Support Groups are just a few many examples. It is inspiring to see so many people and institutions focusing their resources on figuring out how to combat this scourge. Some of these efforts have been well-tested in other environments, while other initiatives are highly innovative and relatively new. As in any crisis, it is essential that we understand which strategies and tactics work best within different contexts.
Moreover, it is important to gather this type of information as quickly as possible, thereby allowing governments and other actors to invest resources in the most effective responses. This is where sharing your knowledge can make a difference. Participedia (www.participedia.net) is designed to support the ability of large and diverse communities of public participation researchers, practitioners, and everyday people to collaboratively document innovations in participatory democratic innovations as they unfold in real time. Prior to Covid-19, our wiki contributors published thousands of entries from all over the world about participation in contexts ranging from open, liberal democracies, to political systems that are relatively closed and autocratic.
We invite you to help us gather stories and data about participatory responses to the pandemic.
When you see participatory events or methods that are inspiring and could be useful to others dealing with the fallout of Covid-19, please visit www.participedia.net, click “Quick Submit” and enter a few details. Your contributions will be extremely useful, even if you only have enough time and information to enter a title, one-sentence description, and a link.
With your contributions, we aim to generate a collection of resources — in the form of entries on ‘Methods’ and ‘Case’ studies — that can help people around the world connect and support each other during this difficult time. The data model of Participedia allows each entry to be categorized in thematic ways that make these resources searchable, and search filters that allow you to find relevant examples and tools for participation in various contexts. We hope to provide this collection as a service to people seeking new ways to connect during the pandemic.
As the Covid-19 crisis continues to evolve, it is so important to remember that we are all in this together.