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A community engagement guide to fight depopulation

Kuorum is a platform with powerful tools for governments and corporations to manage online participation. But sometimes it is still too early for our clients to integrate our technology. That was the case of the Regional Government of Zaragoza.

With almost one million inhabitants, the region of Zaragoza, in the north of Spain, concentrates a great part of its population in its capital city. So that, in rural areas, seven out of every ten villages is about to disappear. The problem of depopulation is complex and it requires to act in many ways. One of them is community engagement.

Following the example of the H Scottish Highlands, where community engagement was crucial to find solutions to depopulation, the Regional Government of Zaragoza wanted to increase the level o participation of neighbours in their communities. Before hiring us, the government did a thorough analysis of the situation producing twenty five reports with diagnostics for every sub-region.

Apart from technology, for years Kuorum has given advice to local governments on how to better engage with their communities. In the case of Zaragoza, after studying all the reports produced by the government, we realized that it was necessary to start from the basics. The population needed to know about the existence of all the resources that the administration was unsuccessfully trying to make available for them. And therefore we decided together with the client to elaborate the Community Engagement Guide.

guía de participación

The guide needed to be simple and informational. And it needed to be very visual. So we called a professional comic artist and script writer. At the same time, the content needed to be rigorous, so we took on two academic experts in constitutional law. It was decided to divide the guide in two parts. One part would include the theory, curiosities and practical exercises. And the other part would be a comic explaining the story of a young citizen of the region who would face a problem that could only be solved with the help of her neighbours. Both parts, however, would be connected through the illustrations. And everything in less than 5,000 words to make sure that it could be read completely in less than 25 minutes.

More than 3,000 copies of the guide were distributed among 292 municipalities. And it was also distributed online, the complete guide and small pieces of it through social networks. The Community Engagement Guide of Zaragoza is now a benchmark of quality among borough and city councils, associations and schools around the country. And other local councils have decided to follow the same route. Will that be your case?

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