Self-Determined: Three Tools for Active Citizens

Self-Determined: Three Tools for Active Citizens

A well informed, educated and engaged citizenry is the key to good governance.

This statement is at the heart of ORG initiatives geared at empowering citizens to get informed and get involved. If the people of The Bahamas want to embrace their opportunity to unite toward a brighter future, it will require every citizen to adopt the notion that nation-building is a group project.

According to The United National Public Administration Network, the involvement of citizens in a wide range of policymaking activities can orient government programs toward community needs, build public support, and encourage a sense of cohesiveness within neighborhoods.

While we count on leaders to create spaces where the voices of every Bahamian can be heard, it’s equally important to give attention to the perception of the citizens.  Citizens must see themselves as agents of change, even in spaces where they feel their voices have been traditionally unheard. They must seek out and strengthen existing opportunities to add their input to national dialogues, while finding ways to create new ones. The goal is to become Active Citizens.

The question is often asked “If this hasn’t been seen before, what can be done?” The answer, while not simple, lies in the collective strides taken by the Bahamian people. ORG has positioned itself to contribute to the citizen’s and government’s ability to collaborate through three tools on our Citizen’s Solution Center that you should know and use as an active citizen.

  1. The Citizen’s Charter is a pilot project that any citizen can get involved in! It explores the use of a tool that allows the government to make commitments to citizens to provide more equitable, responsive and efficient services. The key is that tools such as surveys, town halls and focus groups are used regularly to get feedback from citizens before decisions are made by the government. 
  2. Access Parliament is ORG’s tool to help you follow what is happening live in parliamentary sessions (the House of Assembly & Senate). Keeping up-to-date with this is key to knowing what decisions are being made by your leaders.
  3. The Policy Review Center is yet another online tool that gives citizens access to bills and policies either being debated by the government or that are in need of input from the public. Feedback is amalgamated and passed onto the relevant government representatives to ensure the citizen’s voice is included in the policymaking process.

While ORG encourages daily acts of citizenship - which are the small things citizens do every day to work toward a brighter future - these tools can ensure that Bahamian citizens are actively engaged! To get informed you can contact [email protected] 

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