Adesoji Adegbulu

5 Important Questions for Good Citizen Engagement Initiatives

citizen engagement

Do you intend starting a citizen engagement initiative? Here, you will find the 5 important questions you need to ask yourself and get the right answers. These questions are both quantitative and qualitatively which would help you get a good hold of your initiative. These questions are directed towards the success of the citizen engagement initiative, the citizens, and the government.


Citizens play a critical role in advocating and helping to make public institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, and contributing innovative solutions to complex development challenges. Government works best when citizens are directly engaged in policymaking and public service delivery. – World Bank Group

The world we live in today requires public institutions to be really transparent and accountable while being effective. It takes citizens who know their rights and how things should be like to really contribute towards innovative solutions that will bring about positive development in their countries. To make this happen, there is a need for good and successful citizen engagement initiatives.


Good Citizen Engagement Initiatives

To start a citizen engagement initiative, you will need to answer the following five questions:

1. What are you trying to achieve?

What is the societal problem being addressed? What are the objectives of your citizen engagement initiative?
 How will your initiative lead to positive change? Your citizen engagement initiative can be imagined as led by either:

* The government as a whole (local, regional or national level)
* A particular government agency (e.g. health, education)
* A coalition of civil society organizations/NGOs
* A particular civil society organization/NGO
* Citizens

2. Who are the key players?

Ask yourself the following;
* Who is spearheading the initiative and why are they best placed to do so?
* Who is the target audience, and how are participants recruited?
* Will you partner with other organizations/bodies?

3. How does it work?

* What tool/s (tech or non-tech) will be used to reach your objectives, and why have you chosen these?
* How will your chosen tools enable your initiative?
* How will your initiative actually work?

4. What are the risks and opportunities?

* What challenges might your initiative face and what strategies could be used to overcome them?
* Are there any opportunities that could be leveraged to maximize the potential of your initiative?

5. How will you know if it is successful?

* What metrics/indicators will be used to evaluate success?
* Why are these the most important metrics/indicators?
* How will they be measured?

Having an idea of a citizen engagement initiative is not enough. It is important that the initiative becomes a success. That starts from the inception. The above questions if well answered will reveal to you a lot of things that would be beneficial to your initiative and to those who will be impacted by the initiative.