Over the course of ten years, Westwood International worked on different initiatives for Singapore’s government, including a large-scale citizen involvement program designed to increase civic engagement and decrease crime.
The Singapore Police Force and People’s Association had noticed significant downward trends in citizen involvement and participation. At the same time, crime was on the rise. To solve the problem and reverse the trend, they decided to implement a nationwide citizen involvement campaign.
Westwood International collaborated with the police force and People’s Association to create a national campaign that would boost citizen involvement and give grass roots neighborhood leaders the tools for success. We planned and designed the program over the course of 18 months.
To accelerate collaboration, we facilitated cross-functional meetings with disparate government groups, helping them reach agreement, create a mutual vision, share resources, and design the national program. Our facilitative work during the design process was pivotal: several agencies had to come together and work as a cohesive intra-governmental team in order for the initiative to succeed. It was the first time they were cooperating on a national partisan issue.
We had laid some of the groundwork for this collaboration in our past engagements with the Singapore Government, including leadership sessions we designed for police force leaders and an off-site retreat we led for People’s Association directors. Once we created and solidified the program design, it was time to roll out the Citizen Engagement Campaign.
Over the course of 45 days, we trained over 2,500 neighborhood facilitators. These training sessions were 2.5 days long and taught neighborhood leaders how to work with various citizen groups to help them recognize and reduce neighborhood crime.
We also taught them how to convene constituents, facilitate meetings, and motivate citizens and local leaders to work hand-in-hand with the police force and People’s Association. To maximize learning, we developed culturally-relevant leadership tools, including a Mandarin version of all our materials which helped local leaders and stakeholders implement the learning faster.
Our pilot Citizen Engagement Campaign helped over 2,500 grass roots leaders take concrete action to improve their neighborhoods. The officers and citizens we trained went out into their communities and developed citizen action teams to implement regional and local interventions because it was designed to be implemented on a nationwide level. This initiative increased citizen involvement across the board.
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