Processes in Local authorities
The Democratic Institute has been operating in various arenas, to foster a democratic culture as a way of life in Israeli society.
A democratic way of life, according to IDE’s belief, is based on four key principles:
- A dialogue between individuals and communities
- Civil participation in shaping community life
- Shared responsibility between the individual and the community
- Social activism
The Democratic Institute’s premise is that with this culture, an equal society can be structured, where different groups can meet and co-exist, and where differences are a fertile soil of opportunities and dialogues, and of share and equal existence of all groups and cultures in it.
The institute operates in various arenas and communities, serving as a facilitator of encounters between the different groups through various professional fields and activities. DI sees its activities throughout Israeli society as golden opportunities for cross-sector dialogues and operations.
Over time, the Democratic Institute has begun operating within Arab society, albeit on a relatively small scale. However, this last year, we have decided to go deeper and reach farther in this specific arena.
This year, and under the leadership of Mr. Nasser Abu Saffi, the institute has initiated its Arabic program, with profound study and research of Arabic society’s needs, opportunities and barriers, which have yielded several key directions.
The institute’s expertise lies in leading educational and communal changes, both locally and nationally.
The Democratic Institute proposes to facilitate a spanned-out process in the local authorities, beginning with managers, especially in education, and expanding to include many other aspects, like promoting local economy, empowering excluded demographics (women, youth) and so forth.
Stages in the process:
- Observation – with the local council – drawing a picture of the community, its uniqueness, needs, places for change, strengths/potential, problems and challenges
- Going deeper – identifying potential peer groups in the community and issuing public appeal calling them to become communities of influence
- Creation – community work by local leadership from among these influential groups according to their respective fields of interest
- Influence moves in accordance with the “place sustaining” model – on/in/for the existence of the place. Mapping and identifying a problem in the group’s field of influence, linking it to the unique character of the community and to other groups, conducting research and planning a project to address the problem
- Sustaining activity – piloting the project, collecting findings, drawing conclusions and making an implementation and preservation statement for the next stage.
Through these influence groups within the community and the proposed process, inspiring contacts are created, joint output is shown and culmination events are held in the community, which evolves with new areas of strength (such as promoting local tourism drawn to the community’s nature treasures). The local council will reward these newly created communities, support them and encourage their activity, thus strengthening them further through feedback.