Developed by Humanitas360 (H360) in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Americas Civic Empowerment Index will be launched at the World Economic on Latin America, which will take place between March 13 and 15 in São Paulo, Brazil. The index, which is the result of an in-depth research about citizen participation in political processes and civil society in six countries, has the objective of raising awareness about the importance of citizen civic-social engagement.
H360, an institute based in the United States, and that leads initiatives throughout Latin America, included the following countries in this first version of the index: the U.S., serving as a benchmark, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. Venezuela was also analyzed but under other criteria due to current difficulties in collecting data.
The research phase started in September 2017 with data collection and analysis of other researchers’ work in the field. An experts’ panel evaluated the research structure and set of quantitative and qualitative indicators that make up the index. The panel had the participation of Miguel Paz (Poderopedia/Narcodata), Brian Winter (Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Americas Quarterly), Tiago Peixoto (World Bank), Angela Dannemann (Itaú Social), Nathalie Alvarado (Inter-American Development Bank), Lelia Mooney (United States Institute of Peace) and David Smolansky (Venezuela politician).
The teams of The Economist Intelligence Unit and H360 jointly analyzed three major aspects of citizen engagement and civic participation:
- the environment that allows citizens to get involved and participate in political and civil society processes in a country;
- the current state of citizen participation and civic participation in each of those countries;
- the public perception about the country’s institutions, citizens’ involvement and the degree of civic participation.
As the methodology for the index was refined, the team explored various issues in order to understand factors that propel civic participation and citizens’ engagement, as well as how we can measure them. Among those factors are:
- What do we mean exactly by “civic participation” and “citizen engagement”?
- What are the factors that boost citizen engagement in the political sphere and in the process of building solutions to social problems?
- What are existing measures that are related to citizen engagement and citizen participation?
After this first presentation of the project in Brazil, H360 and The Economist Intelligence Unit will organize events in other countries to continue the dialogue about civic engagement and participation. The first event will take place in Washington, D.C., in April 2018.