Step 2. Assess
Assess the possibilities and limitations of your group(s) and RESEARCH which engagement technique would work best
Having identified the target group(s), the next step is to understand any barriers the group members may have to participate in the project. For each barrier, consider any mitigation measures that could be introduced to overcome these barriers. For example, where formal education methods may be intimidating or unfamiliar, use a more creative and interactive method to engage that will keep participants attention and ultimately generate more interest.
A clear way of identifying the most appropriate engagement techniques, methods and tools to use in specific contexts is to create a table, using target groups and stages of engagement as the headers. From here, consider the selection of methods described in section 3 to decide which is most appropriate for your local framework and target. Throughout this Toolkit a selection of good practice examples have been included for inspiration.
|Limitations||Mitigation strategy||Potential engagement techniques|
|Low literacy||Use plain language and pictorial material whenever possible. Avoid spaces which could be intimidating||Perception mapping, group meetings|
|Visual impairment||Use alternative techniques to the visual ones, such as audio||Sensory walks|
|9 to 5 workers unable to attend meetings during the day||Organise evening events/activities.
Go to their workplace.
|Lone parents||Organise child friendly events/activities||Personas/roleplay.
Assemblies for Savsko naselje Neighbourhood
Good practice in Savsko Naselje, Ljubljana
In 2013 prostoRož organized five assemblies with the local residents and members of non-government organisations. The main goals of the assemblies were getting to know the residents and their roles in the community, collecting their ideas and defining who can participate in different actions in the neighbourhood. The assemblies were held every fortnight with the main topics defined beforehand.
Each assembly had the same time frame and structure. 20 minutes at the beginning of each assembly were used for different listening and speaking exercises that ensured constructive debate in the main part of the assembly. The last 10 minutes of the assemblies were reserved for feedback from the residents and defining the goals of the next assembly.
Discussions at the assemblies were moderated, which ensured that each participant had the opportunity to express their ideas. At the third assembly the participants got divided into four work groups (traffic, greenery, social activities and street furniture). Each group had to pick a project they would carry out in the next month and to define activities for the long term action plan. First actions included neighbourhood picnic, communal gardens, bulletin boards and proposals for improved walkways and cycle lanes in the neighbourhood. The turnout at the assemblies was on average between 20 and 40 participants. The majority of participants were seniors. Lack of time was the main reason for lower attendance of other age groups.