An outside gaze on the Danish local democracy

An outside gaze on the Danish local democracy

DIPD invited its partners from far reaches to observe the Danish municipal election 2017 and discuss democracy

In November 2017, 70 participants from 13 different countries visited Denmark to observe the municipal elections. The delegates engaged in a three-day long seminar in Copenhagen and went on a four-day long fieldtrip to visit local municipalities all over Denmark. The aim of the seminar was to share, exchange and inspire each other within the theme of democracy, as well as strengthening the capacity to work with local level politics by studying the Danish Municipality Elections and bringing home useful knowledge, experiences and skills. The Danish democracy became the starting point for the knowledge-sharing between the delegates.

The study tour had a special focus on youth participation in politics. Inclusion of youth in politics is a well-known challenge for many of the DIPD partners, which made this year’s focus current and relevant for all. The focus fostered many interesting discussions and ideas, which was shared in the multicultural and multinational forum, the seminar framed.

Action Lab discussions

As previously mentioned, the delegates were spread out all over the country to spend some days in a Danish municipality, to observe and engage in the local democracy making. For many this was a rewarding experience since they had the chance to explore the practicalities of democracy building. Yeo Bee Yin from Malaysia visited Vordingborg. “It turned out to be much more fruitful and involving than I thought, with a packed schedule of campaigning on the streets, helping at the election operation center, meeting up with people, being interviewed by media etc.”, she said.

During the seminar many gripping discussions came from the numberless of encounters our delegates had during their visit in Denmark. We therefore asked the delegates to create some action points, which should work as a remembrance of the ideas of inspiration the delegates harvested during the study tour.

Some of the more dominating topics of discussion were the seminars main focus; the inclusion and empowerment of youth within politics. Because of the focus on the youth, DIPD invited young partners to participate in the study tour in Denmark. Due to the appeal of having diversity within the different groups represented, we received a well-mixed group with representatives from both genders, different age groups and different socio economic and educational backgrounds. This diversity of delegates participating in dialogues fostered some interesting new perspectives which became inspiring for many. During the seminar, discussions about women inclusion in politics, multiparty dialogue, different cultures of election, etc. were also popular topics to be discussed.

“One of my main learning objectives was to explore how youth is engaged within the political parties, running for the municipality elections and how this could be linked to the current situation in Egypt (to adopt successful strategies while making them local). My action points included what I have highlighted as critical factors to engage youth within their community be it a political party, a NGO, or the local community. My first action point involves initiating youth platforms to promote dialogue between youth from different backgrounds or political/social affiliations. Such spaces or opportunities for a diverse dialogue are totally absent and in the meantime, they are desperately needed.” – Heba Shama, Egypt

The KV17 seminar was a true success with a lot of interesting remarks and wonders, which we at DIPD believe will be useful for everyone who participated to remember in their future work.

For more information about the KV17 study tour, read the final report here.

The KV17 delegates and the DIPD staff