2022 Award "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
Valongo: Switch to Innovation
The Municipality of Valongo has made a commitment to social innovation in the fight against exclusion. The relevance and dissemination of new information technologies allow us, today, to provide innovative solutions capable of contributing to a more active participation of citizens and to the construction of a more inclusive society.
It was based on this commitment that the Municipality conceived and implemented the Switch to Innovation, a program that brings together a set of initiatives that have the common objective of, through technology, promoting inclusive citizen intervention practices, with sustainable and fair solutions that dissolve borders and benefit society as a whole.
Through different initiatives, such as the Innovative Learning Laboratories, the Digital Citizenship Center, Valongo a Ler, Augmentative and Alternative Communication in the Municipal Libraries of Valongo, Looking for My Place: The Future Built by the Children and Youth of Valongo, the Participating in the 2nd Revision of Valongo's Municipal Master Plan, ASA 4.0: We believe in Active Seniors, this program sought to reach everyone or, at least, those who are normally farther away from the decision-making processes.
For this, different methodologies, different tools and technological solutions were used to achieve greater digital autonomy, enhance critical thinking and actively integrate children, young people, seniors, making them more capable of exercising citizenship in an active, inclusive and innovative way. together, we can build an inclusive community, in which all citizens have a place and participate for the collective good.
With the Digital Citizenship Center, participants were able to improve their technological skills and consequently their digital literacy, becoming more independent in accessing information and more integrated into the job market. With the ASA 4.0 initiative, the older population was able to acquire technological knowledge, strengthening their ties with the community and combating loneliness. Through the Learning Laboratories, the children experienced mechanisms for exercising active citizenship, social participation in contexts of sharing and collaboration and confrontation of ideas, fostering autonomy in the learning process through the use of innovative methodologies supported by new technologies. The #Valongo a Ler and Augmentative and Alternative Communication initiatives in the Municipal Libraries of Valongo made it possible to adapt resources to children, the elderly, users with deafness, with support needs or physical and cognitive limitations.
Aware that incorporating participation in the day-to-day life of citizens is a complex process, these different initiatives are part of the continuous action carried out by the Municipality that involves the creation of facilitating and trusting structures capable of promoting the approximation of citizens to the decision-making processes, essential for the construction of a more inclusive and democratic society.
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