The Right Questions Strengthen Democracy

03 March 2009 By New Israel Fund

Dan Rothstein, co-director of the Massachusetts-based The Right Question Project (RQP), recently conducted workshops on his innovative methodology for increasing citizens involvement in democracy for SHATIL staff in Jerusalem, Haifa and Be'er Sheva.

RQP's premise is that good questions lead to better decisions, which lead to a stronger democracy and that people can be taught to ask the right questions. SHATIL sees this model as an important strategy to enable citizens to make their voices heard and increase their participation in democracy. Rothstein, a self described long time fan of SHATIL, volunteered his time.

Dan Rothstein leading a workshop at SHATIL Jerusalem

Asking the right questions, Rothstein told SHATIL staff, can transform power relations between government and ordinary citizens.

SHATIL staff came away with better understanding of how to increase individual democratic participation and with another concrete tool to use in their work for social change. 
"The most meaningful thing I learned today is that I have in hand another tool to strengthen disempowered populations struggling for change," said Sultan Abu Abed, co-director of SHATIL's Be'er Sheva office.

Shatil staff participating in a workshop

RQP is a non-profit organization that develops new methods and ideas for enabling low and moderate income people to increase their ability to be involved in the decision making processes that affect their lives.