Democracy is often abstract. With participatory budgets, democracy can be experienced in a hands-on way! To strengthen the democratic society, we develop concepts and resources for political education in schools and youth work, which are available to educators, youth workers and independent organizations.
JUBU is a project by mitMachen e. V. (‘Join In’) based in Potsdam. It is part of the federal program ´Demokratie leben!´ (´Live Democracy!´) by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in the funding period 2020-2024.
// Our Concern //
We invite educators in schools and youth work to use participatory budgets in their work with young people. Given the spread of anti-democratic tendencies and conspiracy myths in society, we aim to make the benefits of liberal democracy tangible. By helping to shape their own neighbourhoods, participatory budgets offer the opportunity to experience self-efficacy and thus foster democratic resilience. The project is aimed at young people from the age of 15.
In our three pilot communities in the federal state of Brandenburg – Potsdam, Eberswalde and Nuthetal – we have supported young people to get involved in participatory budgets. The current project phase, 2023-2024, focusses on disseminating our experience in Brandenburg. We deliver ´Democracy days´ (project days) at schools in the state and offer workshops targeted at professionals who would like to apply our model.
// What are Participatory Budgets? //
With participatory budgets, the local authority regularly provides a certain amount of money to fund proposals made by local people. All residents of a certain age can participate democratically in the vote – the proposals with the most votes will be funded through the participatory budget. People can usually participate from the age of 12 or 14. However, young people are often underrepresented. We want to change that!
Participatory budgets exist in various countries around the world, and they are also widespread in Europe. Different forms of participatory budgets can be found. In Germany, for example, the procedures were advisory for a long time and there was no fixed sum reserved. This is in the process of changing. Brandenburg is a pioneer state in Germany. With over 45 participatory budgets, the most examples can be found there.
// Citizen budgets as key to democracy //
Participatory budgets provide a suitable platform for learning and experience as they reflect the principles of large-scale democracy in miniature. Following Lasswell’s ´policy cycle´, we have developed a cycle of participation for young people in participatory budgets.
Key principles of democracy form the various stages of the cycle. These include: Exchange and discussion to submit a proposal, development of a campaign to generate supporters, participation in the vote at the participatory budget and, if necessary, monitoring of the implementation of the proposal. During this process, conversations will be held with authorities and politicians. The goal is for young people to explore their options for taking action and to get to know the responsible players in the political system, as well as to be encouraged to get involved in democracy with their concerns in the future.
// JUBU offers concepts and resources //
In order to support educators in schools and youth work, JUBU offers:
// International exchange of experience //
As part of our work, we participate in professional debates on participation, democracy education, social space-oriented youth work and extremism prevention. We welcome an international exchange with colleagues from other countries and are curious to hear about their experiences.
In addition to the JUBU project, we operate the WerkStadt für Beteiligung (‘Workshop for Participation’), a community office for citizens‘ participation, as well as a local shop involved in coordinating various initiatives in the district. The JUBU project is currently run by a team of three employees.
// About Us //
Our project was developed by mitMachen e.V. (‘Join In’), a community benefit society based in Potsdam, and founded by several youth organisations, neighbourhood initiatives, and dedicated individuals. The society aims to support those wishing to voice their concerns and actively participate in local democracy.
In addition to the JUBU project, the society operates the WerkStadt für Beteiligung (‘Workshop for Participation’), a community office for citizens participation, as well as a local shop involved in coordinating various initiatives in the district. The JUBU project is currently run by a core team of four employees.
// Our Funders //
The JUBU project is mainly funded by the German federal programme ´Demoktarie leben!´ (´Live Democracy!´), run by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Other funders are the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Brandenburg Prevention Council and the Brandenburg Capital of Potsdam.