Online involvement of citizens in a vulnerable position
Individuals and groups of people with vulnerable positions in society – for instance people with a disability or belonging to an ethnic minority – have a democratic human right to citizen participation. Empowerment of these groups by members of the groups themselves is an added value for society at large. The flexibility and possibilities of digital democracy offers an opportunity for groups who are disadvantaged to mobilize, become visible and make their voices heard. A community approach is fundamental here. Those involved know best what fits their lives, adapted to the needs of their own group. If people are not being asked by their own community, they will not become active in a sustainable way. Their own leaders are best able to find their own supporters, bring them together and activate them to talk and co-decide.
Here lies a possible role for social workers in consultation with key figures from the communities: supporting people in a vulnerable social position with their empowerment and making their voices heard in the design of the digital transition. Social professionals represent a professional group that is perfectly capable of bridging the gap between citizen communities and institutions. They do this – based on their professionalism and social alertness – by making sure various and inclusive participation processes are being made available.
Read more in Digital Democracy. A guide on local practices of digital participation…