The Citizen Handbook

Citizen Participation

Citizen Tools for Participation

Roundtable Discussions

Well-informed and well-organised groups of marginalised people are able to take on the individuals, institutions and policies that have traditionally excluded or restricted them. One way of doing this is through roundtable discussions.


Benefits of Roundtables

A roundtable gives you an opportunity to engage community stakeholders on an issue or a series of issues. Other benefits of roundtables are to:

     · build alliances with sympathetic partners and possible champions;

   · use the parliamentary system for single-issue campaigns; and

   · negotiate effectively with a well-prepared position;

Tips for a Successful Roundtable

Below are several tips and best practices to assist you in holding a successful roundtable:

   · travel to hold events where people are rather than having them come to you;

   · use humour, simple stories and local language to help communicate complex issues;

   · facilitators should behave like a member of the community rather than an outsider lecturing the community;

   · choose an appropriate time of the day, week, and even time of the year when scheduling your presentations and meetings – avoid the harvesting season, midday meetings when people are at work or devotional days or religious observances;

   · presentations, language and content must differ with the type of audience (i.e. youth, elders, business professionals);

   · engage constantly the community through a series of on-going activities with the same audience;

   · involve relevant government offices – their early involvement improves their later listening and acting;

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