Civic Education

Popular participation

Meaning of Popular Participation

Popular participation can be defined as the process whereby the majority of the citizens in a state or country show interest in partaking in the affairs and decision making of the state.

Popular participation involves the input of citizen and enabling them to be involve in the decision making of the state..It also ensures that decision are made in consideration of the majority

Popular participation gives unrestricted equal opportunities to all citizens in expressing their views towards the activities of the state.

Types of Popular Participation

1) Voting in an Election: It is the civic responsibility of every qualified citizen to register and vote in an election to elect those who will govern them.

2) Holding of Public Office: This will give further opportunity to an individual to contribute in decision making.

3) Contesting Elections: Another way one can participate in political activity is to stand as a candidate in an election.

4) Supporting Political Party: An individual can equally support political party financially even as a non-card carrying member.

5) Registering as a Political Party Member: Registering as a card-carrying member of a political party.

6) Protest and Demonstration against Government Policy: A citizen is participating in political activity if he/she participates in protest or demonstration against the obnoxious policy of the government.

7) Observatory Political Participation: This is the act of watching and discussing about political activities as an observer. They are not card carrying member of any political party nor participate in voting.

Merits of Popular Participation in Civil Society

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders

Environmental Protection

Environmental issues can be addressed when valued by the public. It is important that a party represents the interest of the environment in the public debate. Without such a party the environment will not be put on the agenda

Conflict Management

Although conflicts cannot be avoided, they are made explicit in the public participation debate. This makes conflict handling more efficient.

Project Understanding and Reduction of Public Opposition

The public, being the user of a system, is the only party that can assess and valuate the impacts of (possible) measures on the functions of a coastal environment.

Economical Benefits

If the public is involved in the full decision making process, their concerns may be met early on in the planning process when changes may be easier to make, rather than late in the process when even small changes may cost both time and money.

Effective use of the available data in ICZM process

According to Budd (1999), public participation and consultation is an opportunity to solicit the “hidden” knowledge of the wider community and their key concerns.

Other Benefits

Acceptance of the public as a valued partner in the CZM process can inspire the co-operation between citizens, their government, and industries that is crucial to the success of a regulatory system.

Discuss Traditional and Modern Modes of Popular Participation

Traditional mode of popular participation: This is the mode of using local traditional leaders to promote politics; it is a mode which allows room for physical participation like the face to face mode of participation.

Modern mode of popular participation: This is the mode of popular participation carried out through expressing of oneself through the mass media.


  1. Define popular participation
  2. List 6 types of popular participation.
  3. What are the merits of popular participation in the civil society.
  4. What are the traditional and modern modes of popular participation?

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