Step 7. Monitor
Monitoring/following up and keeping the communication flowing
Monitoring the expected outcome of processes is an essential part of understanding their effectiveness. It also serves as the basis for making future decisions on their use in the community, sharing learning with others and identifying specific applications of the techniques and methods. Although this is the final step of the COMENSI method, it could be argued that this is in fact the first step. Procedures and indicators to evaluate the advancement and success of any project must be embedded at the start - without a baseline how can progress be measured? A complete Theory of Change includes measures and indicators to assess outcomes and so can be very useful to ensure these data are collected at each stage of the project. Communication can often be overlooked - especially for the outer circles of the community. However, providing feedback about the results of consultations and the progress of the project is essential to give the participants the feeling that their engagement matters and is able to produce change. Communicating to larger audiences establishes both a feedback process for the improvement of the internal capacity of a community, and fosters the transferability of practices in different contexts. Channels to disseminate and publish the results should be relevant to the target group(s) and effectively use existing resources, such as a residents newsletter or Facebook group. Combining communication with celebration events is a good strategy, so communication should include this dimension - see the best practice of two co-created community festivities.
Mare Memoria Viva
Good practice in Palermo, Italy (Seaside neighbourhood of Sant'Erasmo)
The seaside neighbourhood of Sant'Erasmo is located in an area felt as a periphery, along Palermo east coast. The initiative was born from the need to rediscover a relationship with the sea and these places, to re-evaluate them and to give a new meaning by trying out different and new uses of these urban interstices. The will was to start a participatory path, involving the inhabitants, traders, artists and social workers who are fond of this area in the design and implementation of a new neighbourhood feast (based on the old traditional one which is no longer organised). The feast was the conclusion of many small interventions in the public space of the pier and months of co-planning with the inhabitants. The initiative, created by the Urban Ecomuseum “Mare Memoria Viva”, involved initially other territorial associations, single citizens and, subsequently, attempted a dialogue with local institutions. The program of the feast included workshops, artistic, musical and theatrical performances and a religious ritual at sea - requested by both the fishing and the religious communities. The feast led to the creation of new micro relations, and opened moments of debate on the most urgent and important issues for this area. It also started the collaboration between cultural associations operating in the area, but which had not previously joined forces. The methodology exploited the community mapping in a new method called Living Memory (“Memoria Viva”). The process started with the feast is still ongoing. The Ecomuseum aims to nourish and renew these relationships, offering different opportunities for meeting and community growth.
The project path addressed the inhabitants of the district, involving different targets. Merchants, fishermen and their families, young people from local associations, adults from cultural local associations, children from the Ecomuseum summer camp and from the neighbourhood.
Costas da Cidade Festival
Good practice in Lisbon, Portugal. Praça da Quinta do Lavrado (oriental area of Lisbon)
The Festival Costas da Cidade (the 'back of the city') aimed to gather artists and other local dynamics in a collaborative event designed to create a stronger sense of community around the territory of Curraleira. The activities before the festival took place to create momentum and prepare logistics for the event. This strategy was previously co-designed and co-produced to ensure citizenship engagement and empowerment through activities such as:
- Partially occupy the square
- Release a preliminary program of the event
- Map all the necessary resources
- Map all the ideas for activities from all the partners and local actors
- Prepare the final program
The festival was organised by two partners with complementing projects in the territory and served as a combined outcome for both. Praça da Quinta do Lavrado (the square where the festival took place) is in the border of the parishes of Beato and Penha de França. The aim was to join forces between the two territories and to strengthen institutional bonds.
Local partners acting in the territory, local municipalities and residents of this urban area.