Yesterday, we had our second local meeting for working on the places2b project.
Just to remind you, this project aims to start a participatory process between local stakeholders, decision makers and local people about the development of sustainable touristic structures and, a group of local people creates a local/regional touristic guide, online and a paper version.
The creation of the local tourist guide is probably easier to realize and implies more fun.
The other task, the participatory process, is more emotionally charged and therefore, a bit more complicate.
It’s the first time for me running a complete project in France and at the same time being the responsible coordinator of the project. I did it in Germany many times, but this project here is different because of some cultural differences.
Yesterday, such as, one participant questioned, that the group has to have a legal status before we work on project tasks. If not, nobody, in our case, no municipality, will listen to what we discuss and suggest. In other words, when I, as a “normal” citizen, discuss some issues on public interest, it will be not accepted by legal authorities!
The person mentioned, this is a French thing. But, is this true? That implies, that I am not allowed to think, discuss and contribute to issues of public interest, even not for the village I live in? I won’t believe that! Each citizen has the right and also, the duty, to be an active part of a democratic society and do not stop thinking after giving the vote in elections.
This discussion was a bit strange for me, especially after the experience of open-minded discussion I was a part of during the tourism workshop last week in Wales. But anyway, I also realized, that there is a big wish of participation and contribution on the part of local people and that sustains the project. And supporting active citizenship is one of the big aims of Europe.